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Former MP travel entitlements to be phased out

FORMER Queensland MPs will no longer receive extensive travel entitlements once they leave State Parliament with the age-old practice to be phased out over the next four years.

Travel entitlements for former MPs, including commercial air and rail benefits for their spouses, currently cost Queensland taxpayers $290,000 annually.

It equates to about $2000 per former MP who is eligible for the benefits.

But all that will change from December 31, 2018, with both benefits set to be given the chop.

The Queensland Independent Remuneration Tribunal, which delivered their latest recommendations on Tuesday, also tightened up the amount future MPs will receive in severance payments once they leave parliament.

All new MPs elected at the next, and future, elections will receive a new "transition allowance" of 12 weeks base salary once they leave State Parliament.

Currently MPs severance packages can range from three to six months base salary depending on the number of terms they had served.

Former Premier Anna Bligh claimed a meagre $151.96 in travel benefits over the past financial year which was a far cry from her colleague, former Leader of the House Judy Spence, who racked up $10,195.76 in taxpayer funded travel.

Former Labor Minister Henry Palaszczuk, father of current Labor Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, ran up $10,728.10 in travel over the past year, the highest of any former MP.

Tribunal chair Professor Tim Brailsford said all former MPs had been consulted about the changes.

"Most former MPs argued a strong case to have the current arrangement stay in place," he said.

"A minority of them understood times had changed.

"A number of former MP submissions commented that the intrinsic value of the travel entitlements was symbolic as it recognised the contribution of former MPs beyond the economic value of the benefits."

A former MP, whose identity was protected, said in their submission to the tribunal the travel benefits were modest and should be retained.

"My view is that as a Member of Parliament certain conditions were granted to members upon their retirement and as such these conditions should not be changed to those members affected," the former MP said. 

FORMER MPS TRAVEL BREAKDOWN FOR 2012-13.

- The average cost for former MP travel (commercial air and rail) was $2116 excluding GST based on 138 eligible former MPs.

- Only 11 former MPs chose not to accept any travel entitlement

- Fifty-eight former MPs received travel entitlements where the cost was less than $300 per individual

- Sixteen former MPs, or 11% of those eligible, claimed travel entitlements more than $5000.

- APN NEWSDESK



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