April 28, 2009
The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says he will donate any increase this year in the Parliamentary Electorate Allowance to a local charity.
Mr Chester has responded to media reports of a proposed $4700 increase in the allowance by indicating that he would donate the money to Rotary Centenary House, a not-for-profit accommodation venue for families receiving treatment at the Gippsland Cancer Care centre.
“I believe it is appropriate that MP salaries and allowances are set by the Independent Remuneration Tribunal,” Mr Chester said.
“But if the allowance is increased for the next financial year, I will donate the entire increase to Centenary House, which provides outstanding support to cancer patients and their families from across the Gippsland region.
“I recently attended a charity ball in Bairnsdale where more than $12,000 was raised for Centenary House. It is an extraordinary facility that is currently fund-raising to construct nine more units which will allow it to cater for patients and their families from every part of our region.”
Mr Chester said he already used the MP electorate allowance to sponsor a range of academic prizes at local schools and support community events and charities.
“The issue of MP salaries and allowances is always contentious but the electorate allowance is provided to assist MPs with out of pocket expenses in their duties throughout the electorate,” he explained.
“Like many other MPs that I have met, I already support a wide range of school, community and sporting organisations with donations to events and activities. That will continue in the future but if the electorate allowance is increased this year, I will donate the increased amount to Centenary House in recognition of their efforts to expand the facility.”