I won't take $57,000 pay rise, says LNP MP
IPSWICH West MP Sean Choat has vowed not to take the MPs' $57,000 pay rise - and is angry that it was even authorised.
Mr Choat said he would use the money to top up and increase his parliamentary allowance that is used solely on behalf of his electorate.
MPs have seen that allowance slashed by 50%, a decision that has angered Mr Choat, who said the funds were used to service the needs of residents in Ipswich West.
"I was really angry and upset about the whole thing," Mr Choat said.
"I know they acted on Crown Law advice, but no one consulted me and I actually found out about it on the radio.
"It probably sounds crazy that someone would be angry about a pay rise... but they are cutting the electorate allowance in half and I use mine to the full potential for the electorate.
"My electoral allowance ran out in May, so I will be using the pay rise to top it up and increase it so I am supporting my electorate, which is what I always wanted to do. My electorate is not going to miss out. I did not go into politics for the money. I didn't know how much we earned until I got elected."
Parliamentarians' electoral allowances are provided every six months on January 1 and July 1.
Mr Choat also took a shot at federal parliamentarians who he said had been giving themselves massive pay rises in recent years.
"The legislation says that our pays are meant to be $500 a year less than a federal members' pay so somewhere along the line those federal members have been happily giving themselves hefty $57,000 pay rises, so there needs to be a lot more questions asked," he said.
"This is not the time for pay rises. We should have waited until the books were in the black."
Mr Choat said that while nurses were getting miniscule pay rises, politicians should not be getting big raises.
The MPs' pay will go up from about $137,000 to $194,000.
Meanwhile, Ipswich MP Ian Berry said the pay rises were "cost neutral" to the taxpayer.
"Queensland MPs' salaries are tied to federal MPs' allowances that are set by an Independent Statutory Authority under the Parliament of Queensland Act," Mr Berry said
"The government has ensured the increase is cost-neutral by cutting MPs' allowance payments last week by 50% and slashing by 50% public funding to political parties."
The State Government has launched a Supreme Court appeal in an attempt to stop public servants getting an interim pay rise of 2.2% after the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission found in favour of the Together union last month.
Together union lead organiser Scott Parrington said the move by the State Government was a very bitter pill to swallow given MPs' extraordinary pay rise.
Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller is overseas and was unavailable for comment but she supports the Labor caucus which opposes the pay rise and has said "this decision has justifiably provoked criticism from Queenslanders who have no opportunity to secure a pay rise anywhere near that amount".