Evidence given to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee had revealed the supposed 15 per cent cut in Ministerial Office costs was a fraud.
“Treasury officers confirmed this week that the 15 per cent cut will not be applied to the total actual cost of staff and resources in Ministers’ offices,” Shadow Minister for Finance Rob Lucas said today.
“Treasury confirmed the 15 per cent cut will not be applied to the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid by departments to ‘top-up’ staffing and resources in Ministers’ offices.
“Treasury also confirmed that the 15 per cent cut will apply only to salary costs and will not be applied to non-salary costs.
Mr Lucas said the most recent figures available for the Minister for Families and Communities’ Ministerial Office in 2008-09 shows the following:
Ministerial Office cost (as claimed in Budget Papers) $1,299,000 10 FTEs
Departmental ‘top-up’ payments for Minister’s Office $582,800 7 FTEs
TOTAL actual cost $1,881,800 17 FTEs
“In this example, the 15 per cent cut will not be applied to the department’s ‘top-up’ of $582,800 and will not be applied to the non-salary component of the $1,299,000 (estimated to be about 30 per cent of total).
“The following answers from Treasury officer David Reynolds summarises the position in relation to a Minister’s office:
Hon R LUCAS: … In that case there's another seven staff in his office paid for by the department and the 15 per cent isn't applied to that particular number?
Mr D REYNOLDS: That's correct.
Hon R LUCAS: And there is nothing that prevents the Minister acquiring additional staff from the department if he or she so wishes?
Mr D REYNOLDS: Those are always discussions between the Chief Executive and the Minister on those issues.
“So, it is clear that Ministers will be able, over the coming years, quietly to order their departments to provide extra ‘top-up’ funding to replace any staff lost through this supposed 15 per cent cut,” Mr Lucas said.
“This is yet another example of the duplicity of Mr Rann and Mr Foley where they happily cut critical programmes for families, but only pretend to implement a 15 per cent cut on Ministerial Office costs.”