Office expenses for Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker were the fifth highest of any NSW Federal MP in 2014.
Office expenses for Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker were the fifth highest of any NSW Federal MP in 2014. Trevor Veale

Cowper MP’s office costs in the spotlight

NEW figures have revealed Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker spent more than $300,000 in office costs last year, as part of his $523,000 expense packet.

Mr Hartsuyker's office expenses were the fifth highest of any NSW Federal MP in 2014, and $135,396 more than costs from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

The Department of Finance figures show Mr Hartsuyker spent $319,120.94 on office facilities, covering property operating expenses, repairs and maintenance, security telecommunications purchases, and office equipment.

Expenditure reports also reveal the Assistant Minister for Employment spent $56,500 in domestic fares - reflecting the distances needed to be travelled between his electorate and parliamentary sittings.

Other costs include $10,307 in telecommunications usage, office administration costs of $59,724 and $39,679 in travel allowances.

His total expenditure over the 12 month period was $523,257.

By comparison, Page MP Kevin Hogan, based in Lismore, had costs of $373,553, and Lyne MP David Gillespie, based in Wauchope, had $458,920.

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 prompted calls for greater transparency of parliamentary expenditures - calls which Mr Hartsuyker has backed.

"The existing reporting and publication regime for parliamentarians' expenditure is comprehensive and allows for extensive and detailed scrutiny by the media and voters," he said.



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