$2m in education travel

THE state’s Education Department racked up a travel bill of more than $2 million within five months, including $440,000 on international trips.

According to figures released as part of the budget estimates process, the Education Department spent $592,451 on travel within Tasmania, and $971,714 for flights and accommodation to other parts of Australia between April 1 and August 31.

The department also spent $443,460 on international flights, accommodation and other expenses, bringing the total travel costs to $2,007,625.

A state government spokesman said 70 per cent of the total figure was taken up by school travel costs, including class trips, school vehicles and taxi assistance for disabled students.

The nature of the remaining 30 per cent – about $600,000 – was not outlined.

The spokesman said the department’s travel bill was in line with previous years, with its overall travel bill dropping from $8.2 million in 2012-13 to $7.8 million in 2013-14.

The Education Department’s annual report, released last week, says the agency intends to cut down on travel and transport to reduce carbon emissions.

As part of state government budget cuts, the Education Department will lose the equivalent of 266 full-time positions by the end of June.

The Education Department is the largest public sector employer, with a wages bill of about  $695 million a year.

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