Governor trims the sails
Malcolm & Tonya McCusker. Picture: Matt Jelonek/The West Australian

Not only does he donate his $422,678 annual salary to charity but Governor Malcolm McCusker has proved a dab hand at slimming down the vice-regal bureaucracy.

Displaying fiscal rectitude that would make a toecutting treasurer proud, Mr McCusker halved spending to support his post in his first year in the job.

Despite the pressure and expense of hosting the Queen for her October visit to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the cost to taxpayers of running the Governor's Establishment dropped $351,000 to $4.47 million in 2011-12.

The biggest saving came in "support to Governor", with last year's expenditure of $1.84 million nearly halved to $952,000.

"In November 2011, I initiated an independent review of the operation and effectiveness of the Governor's Establishment for the purpose of ensuring the public's expectations of the office and the accountability requirements to Parliament were being met," Mr McCusker said in his preface to the Governor's Establishment annual report.

"Even with the additional expenses occasioned by a royal visit and significant maintenance to Government House (which commenced before I commenced my term) I am delighted that operating costs were reduced . . . and hopefully this downward trend will be maintained in the coming year.

"Although recorded as an expense in the budget, my entire salary was paid, on my direction, to four charities - the Lions Eye Institute, Fairbridge Indigenous Training Program, the Salvation Army and the McCusker Foundation for Alzheimer's Disease Research. I also waived my entitlement to a vehicle allowance and mobile phone. Both (wife) Tonya and I prefer to work with minimal personal support."

Prominent and persuasive advocates of philanthropy, the McCuskers are patrons of more than 160 organisations.

They attended more than 400 official functions away from Government House, delivered more than 150 speeches, hosted 3000 guests at receptions and more than 53,000 people visited Government House on open days, school tours and other events.

The West Australian

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