Statement from the Office of the Governor, Thursday 18 August 2016
The Governor takes the responsibilities of her role and her accountability to the Victorian taxpayers very seriously.
Late yesterday she became aware for the first time of the full cost incurred for a meal attended by the Governor and her spouse during an official visit in London, a lunch at which the Governor’s Official Secretary arranged payment. The other meal, of which the Governor had no knowledge until yesterday, was attended by the Governor’s two senior staff. The Governor does not believe these costs should be met by the Victorian taxpayer and has reimbursed them in full.
The Governor was invited to London to deliver a keynote address at the 7th World Chinese Economic Forum. In addition to delivering that address and having an audience with The Queen, the Governor and her spouse undertook a range of meetings and engagements on behalf of Victoria around the themes of youth social action and engagement, urban regeneration, arts, culture and design, education and civic participation. The Governor and her spouse while on the official visit to London paid privately for a number of meals.
When the Governor first commenced in her role, she and her spouse travelled on official business in the manner consistent with previous Governors. However since earlier this year, the Governor has taken steps to modernise the Office in line with contemporary practices and good fiscal management, including in relation to international travel, for example, by discontinuing the practice of Governors flying first class.
The Governor and her spouse are absolutely committed to their important roles in supporting charities and the wider Victorian community. At her own initiative, since starting in the role on 1 July 2015, the Governor has foregone the majority of her salary so that those funds can be applied to the development of a not-for-profit community program.
The Office of the Governor now has funding which properly reflects its operating requirements and the Governor is committed to ensuring the Office manages its budget in a responsible manner.
While unable to comment on historical matters, the Governor’s strong view is that every step must be taken to ensure a fair, safe and productive workplace, where staff feel free to raise legitimate concerns or issues.
The Governor and her spouse acknowledge and appreciate the hard work and enthusiasm of the dedicated staff who support them.
The Governor remains committed to working hard for the people of Victoria, to the continuing rebuilding of the Office of the Governor in line with modern expectations and to the development and maintenance of Government House as a wonderful community asset.
Inquiries: Christine Panayotou, 0428 908 013
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