Green accused of hypocrisy over fares

Labor leader Bryan Green

Labor leader Bryan Green

THE political stoush over luxury taxi fares continues, with the government hitting back at the opposition for its past use of private cars.

Receipts released in State Parliament yesterday showed Labor leader Bryan Green caught a $200 limousine in Melbourne during last year’s Spring Racing Carnival, and a $215 private car from Melbourne Airport to the CBD earlier this year.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein seized on the figures to accuse Mr Green of hypocrisy.

Right to Information documents obtained by the opposition and produced in Parliament last week showed State Growth Minister Matthew Groom spent $152 on a four-kilometre luxury taxi ride in April.

News of the taxpayer-funded fare came after Health Minister Michael Ferguson repaid $776 for a private car he used in May to travel return to Hobart for a press conference.

Mr Green had earlier said the Liberal government’s outlay on ministerial transport was a damning indictment on its financial management.

But Mr Gutwein yesterday said his political opponents ‘‘must have very short memories’’.

‘‘The man who is lecturing everyone on the evils of ministerial travel costs was more than happy to jump in the back of a limo to go to the Melbourne Cup and have the taxpayers pick up the bill,’’ Mr Gutwein said.

‘‘The next time (Mr Green) goes on a holier-than-thou rant he needs to remember that he is far from innocent himself.’’

However, deputy Labor leader Michelle O’Byrne said it was not uncommon for parliamentarians to use private taxis for airport transfers.

Ms O’Byrne added that no regular ministerial drivers were available in Victoria, where Mr Green had attended the Melbourne Cup in an official capacity.

‘‘Mr Green was racing minister and was invited to the races, just as I am assuming that Mr Hodgman as Sports Minister will be invited to the grand final,’’ Ms O’Byrne said.

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