Ministerial travel expenses take off

THE state government will clamp down on ministerial trips after a big increase in travel expenses was revealed.

Right to Information documents obtained by the Liberal Party show the government's seven ministers have already racked up a $335,000 travel bill in the first eight months of this financial year compared with $245,000 for all of the previous year.

Each minister has spent an average of $21,000 on hotels, rental cars, taxis and meals since July last year.

Premier Lara Giddings yesterday announced a review of ministerial travel arrangements.

"Ministerial overseas travel will only be approved if it is vital in order to support local businesses with investment and/ or job outcomes," Ms Giddings said.

Ms Giddings said the expenses were incurred before the release of the mid-year financial report and the need to find $270 million worth of savings.

"Targeted short, sharp trips are most likely to be the ones approved in the current climate."

She expected more meetings to be conducted via teleconferencing as broadband improved.

"Even with this infrastructure there will always be some requirement for face-to-face meetings."

She said it was important ministers attended national meetings to advocate on Tasmania's behalf.

Liberal leader Will Hodgman said the review was too late.

"While ministers are spending up big on interstate and international travel, Tasmanians are being forced to tighten their belts because of this government's mismanagement, with the cost of living spiralling."

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