As of March 1, the State Government had reduced its prestige vehicle fleet from 161 to 106. Although Premier Lara Giddings said in last year's Budget that top-end vehicles would no longer be leased, many are still on the road. Government spokesman Michael Stedman said many of the prestige vehicles in the fleet were still under contract but the Government was on target to reach its budget goal to bring down the $33.3 million annual cost for the cars.
"It was always planned that prestige vehicles would be eliminated from the fleet within 24 months of the original announcement and we are on track to meet that target," Mr Stedman said. "It is expected a further 24 vehicle leases will expire over the next five months. It is extremely expensive to break leases, which is why prestige cars are being phased out as leases expire."
Last June, Unions Tasmania secretary Kevin Harkins accused public servants of "swanning around in BMWs". He said it was highly inappropriate and a bad look and yesterday said his opinion had not changed with the reduction in prestige vehicles.
"All that should be required is a basic, standard vehicle to get them where they need to go anything beyond that is just unnecessary extravagance," he said. The Subaru Outback, which sells for more than $55,000, is still the car of choice for public servants, with 95 government Outbacks now on the road compared with 79 in June. The Volvo XC60 is the most popular prestige vehicle, with 42 in the fleet.