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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 153


Senator Minchin asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, upon notice, on 25 August 2008:

Did the Minister or Parliamentary Secretary within the Minister’s portfolio travel overseas during July or August 2008; if so:

(1)   Where did the Minister/Parliamentary Secretary travel.

(2)   What was the duration of the travel.

(3)   What was the purpose of the travel.

(4)   For each country visited, what was the total cost to the taxpayer of: (a) travel; (b) accommodation; (c) Any other expenses.

(5)   How many personal staff accompanied the Minister/Parliamentary Secretary.

(6)   How many family members accompanied the Minister/Parliamentary Secretary.

(7)   In regard to staff and family accompanying the Minister/Parliamentary Secretary, what was the total cost of: (a) travel; (b) accommodation; (c) any other expenses.

(8) (a)   How many departmental officers accompanied the Minister/Parliamentary Secretary; and (b) What was the total cost of their: (i) travel; (ii) accommodation; (iii) any other expenses.


Senator Ludwig (Minister for Human Services) —The Minister for Health and Ageing has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question for the portfolio:

Yes, the Hon Kate Ellis MP, Minister for Sport, from 5-18 August 2008.

(1)   Minister Ellis travelled to Beijing, Tianjin and Qingdao, People’s Republic of China.

(2)   The duration of the travel was 14 days.

(3)   To attend the Olympics Games and chair and co-host the 4th Commonwealth Sports Ministers’ Meeting (CSMM).

(4)   The cost to the taxpayer for travel undertaken by Minister Ellis is as follows:

Traveller

(a) Travel

(b) Accommodation

(c) Any other expense

TOTAL

Minister Ellis

$8 325.15

$6 952.22*

$2 768.15

$18 045.52

(5)   One Adviser accompanied Minister Ellis to the Olympic Games.

(6)   Nil.

(7)   The cost to the taxpayer for travel undertaken by Minister Ellis’ Adviser is as follows:

Traveller

(a) Travel

(b) Accommodation

(c) Any other expense

TOTAL

Adviser

$8 003.80

$6 622.85 *

$892.23

$15 518.88

(8)   One Department of Health and Ageing (DHA) official attended the Beijing Olympic Games with Minister Ellis and one attended the CSMM with Minister Ellis.

Traveller

(a) Travel

(b) Accommodation

(c) Any other expense

TOTAL

Dept Official

$ 7 741.98

$11 087.00 #

$3 260.13

$22 089.11

Dept Official

$ 7 722.30

$11 087.00 #

$ 825.33

$19 634.63

TOTAL

$15 464.28

$22 174.00

$4 085.46

$41 723.74

The financial information provided above for Ministerial and accompanying MOP(S) Act staff (Adviser) travel expenses was provided by the Department of Finance and Deregulation (DFD) [with the exception of $7.910.44 and $7,649.52 paid by DHA for airfares for Minister Ellis and her Adviser respectively, to attend the Olympics, and to be reimbursed by DFD under MOPS arrangements]. This advice is accurate as at 29 October 2008. DFD has advised that some trips remain unreconciled given that the travel was undertaken recently. This means that DFD may not have received all accounts and information from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Overseas Posts, and may not have acquitted the travel allowances paid.

DFD has advised that as further expenditure is paid they do not intend to revisit or update the information provided given the diversion of resources required for this task.

* DFD is unable to disaggregate accommodation costs between the Minister and her Adviser. Therefore the figure provided represents approximately half of the total accommodation costs charged to the Minister and her Adviser allowing for the difference in room standards.

# Accommodation for departmental officials was arranged by DFAT.