The Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority released its fourth quarterly expenditure report.
The Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority released its fourth quarterly expenditure report. zetter

EXPENSES: Here's what Ipswich politicians charged taxpayers

A CHILDREN'S book, nine-day delegation to India and thousands of dollars in domestic flights have been charged to taxpayers by Ipswich's federal politicians.

Today the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority released its fourth quarterly expenditure report for 2017, revealing what members and senators spent.

The QT compared the Parliamentary Work Expenses of Member for Blair Shayne Neumann, Member for Oxley Milton Dick and Member for Wright Scott Buchholz.

Largely due to his position as Labor's immigration spokesman, Mr Neumann claimed $155,197.65 in expenses.

Mr Dick's taxpayer bill was $124,350.47 while Mr Buccholz's expenses totalled $99,500.36.

None of the three federal politicians in the Ipswich and Lockyer region claimed family travel costs.

Milton Dick

 

Milton Dick's domestic flights between Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne cost $5441.34.
Milton Dick's domestic flights between Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne cost $5441.34. Rob Williams

TAXPAYERS were billed $10,186 for a nine-day visit to India taken by the Member for Oxley as part of a parliamentary delegation.

Milton Dick claimed $6200 in fares, $1494 in accommodation and meals and $869.05 in medical costs for the trip, taken between October 28 and November 5, 2017.

A spokesman for Mr Dick said he was part of a bipartisan Australian Parliamentary Delegation, taken "to gain insights into the current social, economic, governance and political issues faced by India and to discover opportunities to further deepen economic, trade and tourism ties between the two countries".

"As part of the conditions to attend the delegation, all attendees were advised to receive specific immunisation vaccinations which were approved by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority," the spokesman said.

Through the Parliamentary Travelling Allowance, paid to Parliamentarians for overnight stays in locations other than their home base, Mr Dick claimed $4661.

This included sitting days and a Labor Party meeting in Canberra.

Domestic flights between Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne cost $5441.34.

On November 16, a flight between Brisbane and Melbourne cost $1025.26 - the high cost due to parliamentarians using flexi-fares with airlines.

Mr Dick used the ComCar service 16 times, costing taxpayers $1664.60.

The distribution of items in November saw taxpayers invoiced with a $19,770 bill as part of Mr Dick's total printing and communications cost of $48,779.

The Member for Oxley's $5702.51 employee cost bill was the third lowest of Queensland members of parliament.

Shayne Neumann

 

Shayne Neumann's trips to Melbourne were made in his capacity as Labor's immigration spokesman.
Shayne Neumann's trips to Melbourne were made in his capacity as Labor's immigration spokesman. Bev Lacey

SHAYNE Neumann made three trips from Brisbane to Melbourne within two weeks in November, costing taxpayers $7256.76.

The six flights made up almost half of Mr Neumann's $16,116.35 in domestic fares he took between September 14 and December 8.

For sittings in Parliament and official business as Labor's immigration spokesman, Mr Neumann racked up a $5939 bill.

"I'm the shadow minister - as shadow minister I've got to get around the country," he said.

Mr Neumann said the trips to Melbourne were made in his capacity as Labor's immigration spokesman.

"The largest multicultural communities in the country are in Sydney and Melbourne," he said.

Mr Neumann said he made the trips to speak at an immigration roundtable dinner, to the Immigration Institute of Australia Conference and the Islamic Council of Victoria annual dinner.

He returned to attend Ipswich events and meet with constituents between the three trips.

"It's more cost-effective," he said.

ComCar trips in Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart and Canberra across the four months cost $6807.91.

The Member for Blair repaid $24.33 for a meal wrongly charged to the taxpayer by the Department of Finance.

The distribution of items each month, between August and December, cost $32,071.

The printing of 11,000 items on November 27 was priced at $24,384.

"It would be calendars and other things," he said.

"I'm following the guidelines assiduously and doing everything correctly," he said.

Office facilities, which includes the cost of a lease, power, cleaning, security, new equipment and maintenance, totalled $31,595.

Scott Buchholz

 

Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz flew to Canberra at a cost of $743 on October 5 for electorate business.
Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz flew to Canberra at a cost of $743 on October 5 for electorate business. Lachlan McIvor

THREE copies of the book Finding Winnie: The Story of the Real Bear Who by Lindsay Mattick, made up $43.61 of Scott Buchholz's $1532 publications bill.

Classed under Office Administrative Costs, a Member of Parliament can claim newspapers and reading material used in their duties.

Mr Buchholz, a Liberal Party member, claimed 11 military-related books, including the $145.42 for four copies of Australian Light Horse: The Campaign in the Middle East 1916-1918.

He donates the books to groups and schools across the electorate of Wright. 

"I will group up into groups of four or five or six books and when I attend a school I'll make that donation to the state school library," he said.

The military books are often used during Anzac Day or Remembrance Day celebrations in addition or as an alternative to a wreath.

"I gift that then to the RSL, they use that book then to gift to a senior member of the high schools as an award," he said. 

"I do that out of good conscious."

The Member for Wright's Parliamentary Travelling Allowance totalled $6400 between September and December.

Mr Buchholz flew to Canberra at a cost of $743 on October 5 for electorate business.

He claimed $285 for an overnight stay before returning to Brisbane on October 6 at a cost of $533.

Mr Buchholz took a $533.59 flight back to Canberra four days later for an economics meeting.

He said a business background meant his office was operated "through the prism of commercialism".

"Measure it (the expenses report) up against every other member in the place and I think you'll find I'm quite frugal," he said.  



Third man arrested after massive drug bust near Coffs

Premium Content Third man arrested after massive drug bust near Coffs

He's the third member of an alleged drug syndicate.

VOTE: The Coffs Coast’s cutest dog for 2020

Premium Content VOTE: The Coffs Coast’s cutest dog for 2020

The Advocate received over 80 adorable nominations – vote now!

ONE WAY TICKET: Tigers playing for spot in AFLNC decider

Premium Content ONE WAY TICKET: Tigers playing for spot in AFLNC decider

Grafton travel to Sawtell Toormina for a chance at a spot in the big dance