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|
|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|
|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|
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|
|Queensland Treasury Corporation||$457,837|
|Trade and Investment Queensland||$269,484|
|Tourism and Events Queensland||$204,855|
|Public Safety Business Agency||$140,550|
|Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Morden Art||$61,815|
|Cross River Rail Authority||$52,786|
|State Library of Queensland||$31,487|
|Queensland Urban Utilities||$28,997|
|Crime and Corruption Commission||$25,312|
|Queensland Law Society||$16,763|
|Queensland Reconstruction Authority||$13,035|
|Queensland Mental Health Commission||$1,584|
|Queensland Family and Child Commission||$1,232|
|Qld Competition Authority||NIL|