New SA speaker vows to donate pay bump

South Australia’s new parliamentary speaker will forgo the perks of his job, including a big pay bump, with a pledge to donate the money to his local community.

Dan Cregan took over as speaker earlier this month when Labor backed a controversial move by crossbench MPs to ensure the office was held by an independent.

In the days leading up to that vote in the House of Assembly, Mr Cregan had announced a decision to quit the Liberal Party.

Soon after Premier Steven Marshall criticised his decision and said the spoils of the speaker’s office, including a pay increase and a chauffer-driven car, would do nothing to help the people in Mr Cregan’s Adelaide Hills electorate.

On Monday, Mr Cregan announced he would both continue to drive his own Ford Falcon and would give the pay increase, worth about $150,000 a year, to local groups.

“I’ll be looking to donate my salary boost to good local causes like Lions Hearing Dogs in Verdun, Rotary and the CFS Foundation, in the hope they might be able to channel the donation to things like defibrillators at local sporting clubs, equipment for CFS crews or swags for those sleeping rough.”

Mr Cregan said his move to leave the Liberal Party and become speaker was to ensure “there is a real spotlight on my community”.

“There is massive population growth in the hills and no plan from the government,” he said.

“We need a new hospital, a new ambulance station, new investment in education and a serious plan for public transport, ideally rail.”

On Monday, Mr Marshall said given the widespread criticism of his actions, donating the money was probably the only course of action Mr Cregan could take.

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