It’s been revealed that former Labor Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis ignored Treasury advice before the election to ensure MPs had offices located within their electorates following the redistribution of electoral boundaries.
Treasury documents show that on 27 March 2017, Mr Koutsantonis rejected Treasury advice to allocate funding in the 2017-18 Budget to establish new electorate offices.
“The new Member for Wright Blair Boyer and the Member for Hurtle Vale Nat Cook will now both be severely embarrassed by this revelation and they should be turning their anger on the former Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, who failed to address this issue well before the election,” said Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“Mr Koutsantonis knew full well that a number of electorates were without an electorate office following the electoral boundary redistribution, and yet he did nothing to sort out the situation which has left a number of his colleagues without an electorate office.
“Electorate Services, the body within Treasury that has responsibility for electorate offices, advised Mr Koutsantonis that a number of electorates were left without an electorate office and that some would end up with two electorate offices.
“Instead of starting the work on finding suitable electorate office accommodation to address this situation, Mr Koutsantonis did nothing.
“So while Mr Boyer and Ms Cook have been trying to blame the incoming Liberal Government, the reality is they would not be in this situation were it not for the inaction of the former Treasurer.
“As Treasurer, I make no apologies for following the perfectly reasonable principle that where there is an existing electorate office, the Member representing that particular electorate should have first rights on using that office.
“Ultimately, a significant redistribution meant that a number of MPs, not just Mr Boyer and Ms Cook, were impacted in terms of electorate office locations.
“Electorate Services are now undertaking the work that should have begun under Mr Koutsantonis, so that all Members of Parliament will ultimately be able to work out of offices which are physically located in their respective electorates.”