Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt.
Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt. ANDREW TAYLOR

We've given Keith Pitt $8463 to stay in his own home

MEMBER for Hinkler Keith Pitt charges taxpayers $273 a night to stay in a house owned by his family trust when he is in Canberra for parliament.

Although perfectly legal, the news will raise the ire of residents in an electorate with one of the highest jobless rates and lowest income levels in the country.

In the Register of Members' Interests, Mr Pitt declares that he and wife Allison are directors of Klare (Qld) Pty Ltd, acting as the trustee for the KJ & AJ Pitt Family Trust.

The nature of the trust is listed as "investment".

Under real estate, Mr Pitt lists a house in the ACT as being owned by the family trust.

The Pitts also own their family home and, through their self-managed superannuation fund, an investment home, both in BUndaberg.

Mr Pitt also declares loans, bank accounts and insurance with Suncorp Bank.

The Assistant Trade and Tourism Minister's six-monthly expenses report, for the period from January 1 to June 30, 2016, details $14,773 paid to him under the parliamentary travelling allowance.

The transactions include claims for 31 nights he stayed in Canberra for parliamentary sittings.

At the rate of $273 a night, taxpayers forked out $8463 during the six-month period for Mr Pitt to stay in a house he owns through his family trust.

Mr Pitt said he had always complied, and would always comply, with the laws around travel allowance and the Register of Members' Interests.

"The travel allowance is for costs incurred while travelling out of the electorate to fulfil parliamentary or portfolio duties and I have received it for these purposes, as per the guidelines," he told the NewsMail.

"The Parliamentary Business Resources (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2017 - which will establish a new framework governing the use of public resources by members of Parliament - was introduced to Parliament on March 30. It was referred to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee, which is due to report back on May 9.

"The Register of Members' Interests is publicly available online for anyone to view and has been since I was elected to Parliament in 2013."

He is also not the only MP who bills taxpayers to stay in family-owned property.

Former treasurer Joe Hockey famously claimed the allowance while living in a house - along with other MPs who were also claiming the allowance - owned by his banker wife Melissa Babbage.

Over the 18 years he stayed there, the ABC estimates Mr Hockey claimed $184,000 under the allowance.

Nearly 40 MPs currently claim the allowance while living in houses owned by them or their spouses.

Opposition treasury spokesman Chris Bowen recently flagged changes to the scheme should Labor win office at the next election.