Tasmanian ministers rack up $100,000 on food, travel and entertainment

Government ministers spent almost $100,000 on food, travel, accommodation and entertainment over six months this year.

From the start of March to the end of August, $90,620 was spent on intrastate, interstate and international travel, and meals, and $9989.67 was spent on entertainment costs.

The government’s five Northern ministers racked up $55,716 on meals and accommodation over the six months.

The ministers have to stay in Hobart while Parliament sits and for other official business.

Resources Minister Guy Barnett was most expensive in the pool, claiming $16,348.17 in costs.

As for the other ministers:

  • Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding claimed $14,631;
  • Health Minister Michael Ferguson claimed $13,385;
  • Treasurer Peter Gutwein claimed $13,833;
  • and Deputy Premier, and Primary Industries Minister, Jeremy Rockliff claimed $12,149.

The ministerial car fleet cost $154,418 to run over six months and $1568.43 was claimed in taxi costs by the Premier and ministers.

Ministerial chiefs of staff racked up $35,363 on credit cards.

The chiefs of staff are the big earners in minister offices with wages between $216,375 and $275,000.

Premier Will Hodgman’s chief of staff, Brad Stansfield, is on a wage band of between $238,014 and $275,000.

Mr Hodgman himself receives a remuneration of $287,154 while Mr Rockliff receives $243,079 a year.

The Premier is entitled to entertainment expenses equal to 12 per cent of his wage but spent just $2,525 over six months.

A member of the Tasmanian Parliament receives a base wage of $133,560 for doing their job while a minister receives $227,052 – the same salary received by Opposition Leader Rebecca White.

The government’s media unit of nine staff members costs the public at least $918,722 in wages annually.

This does not include the Premier’s senior adviser in Launceston who also performs media duties while earning between $179,690 and $216,374 a year.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Sarah Courtney, said the six-monthly report showed that spending was down in some key areas including full-time staff in ministerial and electorate offices.

“Spending was also down on intrastate, interstate and overseas travel expenses, entertainment expenses and the use of taxis is also down compared with the same six-month period in the previous year,” she said.

“It shows conclusively that we are keeping spending down, as we promised, so that we can invest in essential services.”