Report on the review of claims for the accommodation allowance - Deputy Premier

10 September 2013

The Report on the review of claims for the accommodation allowance - Deputy Premier was provided to the Speaker by the Deputy Premier on 10 September 2013.

Background

During July 2013 there were a number of media reports regarding claims made by the Deputy Premier, Dr Kim Hames MLA, for an accommodation allowance as a regional Member of Parliament when he stayed at his metropolitan residence.

Focus of the review

On 29 July 2013, Dr Hames wrote to the Public Sector Commissioner seeking his assistance in determining if his claims for the accommodation allowance complied with the relevant rules.

Dr Hames provided the Public Sector Commissioner with details of dates for which he had made an error in his claims and would repay the allowance; claims for which he had entered the wrong date on the form; and dates for which he could have made a claim but hadn’t. As well as examining these, a sample of other claims made by Dr Hames was considered.

Conclusions and recommendations

After examining the available documentation and the relevant determinations of the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal, the Public Sector Commissioner concludes that:

  • For the nine instances where Dr Hames has repaid the amount, it appears he was making the claims on the understanding he was entitled to the allowance. The errors arose from his electronic calendar not reflecting his daily appointment sheet.
  • For the twelve instances when the incorrect date was claimed, it appears that Dr Hames was making legitimate claims, but had entered the wrong date on the form. The total amount of the claims is correct.
  • Examination of a sample of other claims submitted shows that in making the applications Dr Hames was complying with the applicable rules.

To assist in such errors being avoided, the Public Sector Commissioner recommends that:

  1. Consideration be given by the Director General, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, to putting in place processes so that:
    • a Minister’s electronic calendar reflects his or her daily appointment sheets and/or
    • a Minister’s claim for the allowance is checked by his or her office before submission to Parliament.
  2. Consideration be given by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal to simplify the process for application for the allowance by Members of Parliament representing regional electorates and who are also Ministers, possibly by a one-off payment.

Page last updated 11 September 2013