Documents reveal Groom MP’s increase in expenses

IAN Macfarlane spent $112,000 more in the second half of last year as part of his almost $350,000 expense packet.

Closer scrutiny of the Groom MP's spendings for 2014 show overall expenditure from January 1 to June 30 totalled $236,653.94.

The federal politician spent $112,878.46 more in the second half of the year including $11,081.82 on a chartered flight to open a new arts centre in Toowoomba.

But that trip is not the only lavish flight Mr Macfarlane has taken, with parliamentary expenditure reports showing $39,328.82 of taxpayer funds spent on three chartered flights.

RELATED: Groom MP justifies $11,000 flight in Choppergate wake

Mr Macfarlane flew on chartered wings from Canberra to Coonabarabran then on to Sydney on April 16, 2014, costing $13,170.

On April 28, he flew from Toowoomba to Canberra on a chartered $11,277 flight, and a return flight on May 9 from Toowoomba to Melbourne Essendon Airport costing $14,881.82.

Mr Macfarlane earlier this week said his political portfolio and responsibilities as Minister for Industry and Science required him to travel around the country.

"As a minister based in regional Australia, I oversee a very diverse portfolio covering industry, energy, resources and science," he said.

"This portfolio covers every state and territory and requires meetings and site visits in various parts of the country, as well as regular trips to Canberra for the sittings of Parliament.

"Office costs include expenditure to operate my electorate office including administrative costs such as rent, as well as costs such as postage and communication with local constituents."

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Mr Macfarlane's involvement in global energy and resource meetings from July to December last year bumped up his overseas travel expenses to total more than $57,700. In contrast, taxpayers funded just $7200 in international travel in the previous six months.

Federal politicians have faced increased scrutiny of their expenses recently in light of a furore over an expensive taxpayer funded chartered helicopter flight by Federal Speaker Bronwyn Bishop to a Liberal Party fundraiser.

The choppergate scandal, which has trended on social media, prompted calls for greater transparency of parliamentary expenditures - calls which Mr Macfarlane has backed.



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