In an effort to enhance transparency and accountability in government spending, One Nation MLC Sarah Game has put forward a bill that would significantly reduce the time it takes for ministers to report their travel expenses.
Under this proposed legislation, ministerial travel expenses, including the cost of luxury accommodation and business class travel, would need to be disclosed within 45 days of the trip, compared to the current requirement of 90 days.
This move towards more prompt reporting of expenses aligns with the principle that the public deserves to have quick and easy access to information about how their taxpayer dollars are being spent. In a time marked by rising inflation, interest rates, and housing challenges, South Australians have a legitimate expectation that their elected representatives are accountable for their expenditure.
The proposed bill doesn't just accelerate the reporting process; it also introduces comprehensive disclosure requirements. Ministers would be obligated to provide details about the purpose of their travel, offer a summary of their trip, and itemise the costs associated with travel, transport, accommodation, food, beverages, and activities. This level of detail ensures that the public gains a clear understanding of the nature and extent of each trip.
Notably, this bill is not expected to face significant opposition. It enjoys support from both the opposition and the crossbench, indicating a broad consensus on the need for increased transparency in government expenditure. Premier Peter Malinauskas has also expressed his support for the bill in the Upper House but has been coy about the chances of Labor supporting the bill in the Lower House.
UPDATE: Late on Thursday night (14/9/2023), Ms. Game's bill did indeed pass the Upper House. It now awaits reading in, and voting on, in the Lower House.
Taxpayers justly demand that public funds be used judiciously. One Nation's proposed bill is a step in the right direction, promoting transparency and accountability while allowing the government to continue its work without undue administrative burdens. With broad support and a commitment to public trust, this legislation could pave the way for a more accountable and responsible government.