LNP members spent $23k of taxpayers’ money on four-day trip
TEN Liberal National MPs, including deputy leader Tim Mander, splashed $23,000 of taxpayer-funded travel entitlements last year on a four-day sojourn to Sydney.
The extraordinary travel bill, which included the flight costs for seven spouses, was for a meeting of the Council of State Parliamentarians, a little-known annual get-together of Nationals MPs.
The same event cost Queensland taxpayers $45,000 in 2017 when six LNP members, including the Gold Coast's John-Paul Langbroek and Ray Stevens, ventured to Western Australia's picturesque wine country to talk about representing regional areas.
The trip last July was revealed in the latest report on general travel expenses tabled recently in State Parliament.
The report also showed Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan claimed a $1775 overnight trip to Sydney as electorate business last August, but yesterday he could not initially remember why he was there.
"Look, I've just climbed Uluru so my brain is a bit frazzled," he said.
"I need to rehydrate."
The dumped former Liberal National MP later said he met with an NRL official about staging games in Mackay.
The 10 LNP MPs who charged taxpayers for the Sydney trip were David Batt (Bundaberg), Colin Boyce (Callide), Marty Hunt (Nicklin), Ann Leahy (Warrego), Jim McDonald (Lockyer), Lachlan Millar (Gregory), Tony Perrett (Gympie), Dan Purdie (Ninderry), Pat Weir (Condamine) and Mr Mander (Everton, pictured).
Was the LNP members' travel expenditure justified?
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington also attended, but charged her costs to the Opposition budget.
The agenda shows the conference began on Wednesday with an "optional sign-on day" and 2pm Parliament House tour.
Thursday's agenda only included a cocktail party.
Friday was the four-day meeting's only full day, which concluded with drinks and dinner at Luna Park.
Saturday's agenda amounted to a breakfast for ministers and shadow ministers, however seven of the 10 LNP members did not fly home until Sunday.
A spokesman for Ms Frecklington defended the trip, saying a number of policy areas impacting regional Queensland were discussed.
"The LNP raised a number of policy issues, including drought and water security (and) our plans for new dams, infrastructure plans including on the Bruce Highway, cheaper electricity for regional Queenslanders, the regional youth unemployment crisis, regional maternity services and competitive taxation," he said.
"Funding for breast cancer services and research was also discussed."