European music festivals, London sightseeing: How Queensland public servants racked up $5m on travel



October 03, 2019 08:00:29

Three senior Queensland officials have spent $107,000 on a two-week trip across America, with new figures showing public servants racked up a $5 million international travel bill in the past 12 months.

Included in the figures was Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) which spent half a million dollars — the second highest figure for government corporations — with Treasurer Jackie Trad defending the cost.

The QTC which acts as the state’s central financing authority, spent about $458,000 for 16 officials to travel around the world for various roadshows and conferences.

On one of the trips, QTC chair Gerard Bradley and his two senior colleagues Jose Fajardo and Michael Anthonisz spent $107,600 travelling across the US, Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile over two weeks for «high-level meetings based on contacts established over many years».

A spokesman for Ms Trad said the trips were to attract investment into the state.

He said the «global engagement program» included events and meetings with fixed-income investors, bank dealers, direct investors and corporations to inform them about the state’s budget, economic outlook and credit quality.

«In a competitive global market, maintaining relationships and uncovering new investor interest in key regions and financial centres is critical for attracting ongoing investment to Queensland and into the offerings of Queensland Treasury Corporation,» he said.

Government departments Amounts claimed
Department of Education $1,130,471
Queensland Police Service $381,430
Qld Fire and Emergency Services $223,090
Queensland Health $211,662
Department of Transport and Main Roads $146,092
Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy $141,706
Department Innovation Tourism Industry Development $127,014
Department of Justice and Attorney-General $100,517
Department of Environment and Science $99,644
Department of Premier and Cabinet $82,615
State Development, Infrastructure and Planning $78,653
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries $74,865
Treasury $28,998
Corrective Services $19,207
Department of Employment, Small Business and Training $17,433
Department of Housing and Public Works $12,715
Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships $10,367
Department of Child Safety Youth and Women $2,561
Public Service Commission $1,918
Department Communities, Disability Services and Seniors $1,440
Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs NIL
TOTAL $2,892,398

Government departments spend $3 million

The figures were obtained from the Government’s recently published online data.

While government-owned corporations and entities spent almost $2 million on international travel, State Government departments tallied almost $3 million.

The Education Department spent more than $1.1 million alone sending 390 teachers, principals and executives around the world.

Queensland Health executives charged taxpayers $211,000 on international trips, while the state’s individual hospital and health services spent about $258,000.

The head of the Cross River Rail Authority, Graeme Newton, had one of the other most expensive trips, after he and two colleagues spent almost $53,000 for 12 days in London and Zurich «to conduct industry briefings with major international insurance providers».

A spokeswoman said the tour also included inspections of railway stations, precincts and other facilities relevant to the Cross River Rail project.

Meanwhile, Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) spent almost $205,000 for about a dozen of its executives to showcase Queensland to the world.

Chief executive Leanne Coddington went on five separate trips across China, India, Switzerland, the UK and the US for various trade talks at a total cost of almost $50,000.

TEQ’s John Drummond Montgomery — who made headlines last year for using tax payers’ money to travel to the Burning Man Festival in the United States— went on two separate overseas visits this year.

They included one tour to Austria’s Bregenzer Festspiele music festival on the edge of Lake Constance and the other to the US to promote Queensland’s Ring Cycle event in 2020, costing a total of $20,000.

Senior Justice and wife claim for touring British court houses

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General spent $100,500, including a $35,700 trip for head of Queensland’s Court of Appeal Justice Walter Sofronoff who travelled with his wife to the United Kingdom to tour the Royal Courts of Justice, the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales and the Supreme Court of the UK.

Both the Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal are entitled to one first-class trip overseas with their spouse every year.

TAFE Queensland spent more than $550,000 on sending about 130 staff overseas.

TAFE sales and recruitment officer Cristina Bravo Alvarez claimed the most on flights and accommodation, including two trips to South America worth more than $47,000.

Other agencies and corporations Amounts claimed
TAFE Qld $552,169
Queensland Treasury Corporation $457,837
Trade and Investment Queensland $269,484
Tourism and Events Queensland $204,855
Public Safety Business Agency $140,550
Unitywater $80,660
Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Morden Art $61,815
Cross River Rail Authority $52,786
State Library of Queensland $31,487
Screen Queensland $46,116
Queensland Urban Utilities $28,997
Crime and Corruption Commission $25,312
Queensland Law Society $16,763
Queensland Reconstruction Authority $13,035
Racing Queensland $2,377
Queensland Mental Health Commission $1,584
Queensland Family and Child Commission $1,232
Public Trustee $313
Qld Competition Authority NIL
TOTAL $1,987,372













First posted

October 03, 2019 07:28:07

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