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Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Page: 1176

Senator Minchin asked the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, 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 travel.

(3)   What was the purpose of travel.

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

Senator Conroy (Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

The information presented below is current as at 5 November 2008. The Department of Finance and Deregulation (DOFD), advised that as the dates of travel are quite recent, a proportion of this visit remains unreconciled (as at 5 November 2008). This means that DOFD may not have yet received all accounts and information from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Overseas Posts, and may not have acquitted allowances paid.  Some amounts reported may therefore include expenditure for items related to a different part of the question- these amounts are indicated in italics. It is also possible that DOFD will make further payments for items unknown at the reporting date.

(1)   The Minister visited the USA and UK.

(2)   27 July - 8 August 2008.

(3)   To consult with individuals and organisations in both countries regarding their strategies for digital television transition, particularly on assistance schemes for vulnerable people and on spectrum management post-switchover.


(a)   The total cost of the Minister’s travel was $20,841.05 - the cost of airfares are unable to be disaggregated and are for the entire trip.

(b)   $20,809.67. DOFD advised that individual accounts have not yet been received.  This amount represents the cost of accommodation for the Minister and Adviser. DOFD is unable to disaggregate accommodation for the Minister and/or staff.

(5)   One Adviser - departed Australia one day after Minister.

(6)   None.


(a)   $20,455.70 the cost of airfares are unable to be disaggregated and are for the entire trip.

(b)   see response to Part (4) (b).

(c)   $591.23


(a)   Two departmental officers accompanied the Minister - one to the USA and one to the UK.

(b) (i)   $14,191.82 (USA) $9,839.18 (UK)

(ii)   $985 (USA) $2,207.79 (UK)

(iii)   $957.50 (USA) $1,335.00 (UK)