Pitt's parliamentary expenses double, increase by $100K
KEITH Pitt has doubled his parliamentary expenses between April and June, spending $100,000 more than he did during the quarter before.
From April 1 to June 30, the Member for Hinkler spent $216,997.61 on travel, transport, office fees, telecommunications and employee costs.
The sum is more than double what Mr Pitt spent between January 1 and March 31 ($107,264.56).
It comes after the Federal Government this week released the latest Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority report, detailing how much politicians spend over a three-month period.
Mr Pitt's expenditure figures were above over some of his peers', with fellow Capricornia MP Michelle Landry spending $165,899.99 and Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd spending $141,717.15.
However, the local member's spending was mild compared to former Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, who racked up more than half-a-million dollars ($508,245.15).
Mr Pitt attributed the significant jump in expenses on his appointment as Assistant Minister to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in March and the Cashless Debit Card saga.
"I took leave in January and minimal travel as a backbencher in the first quarter of the year, but the second quarter I had been appointed to the ministry, and as such, was required to travel extensively to undertake portfolio duties," he told the NewsMail.
"There were also communications - in the form of advertisements and an online petition - about the Regional Deal and the Cashless Debit Card during this time."
The MP spent the biggest chunk of the $216.997.61 on office administrative costs, with $64,706.86 going toward printing and communications and more than $8000 on office consumables and services such as stationary.
"The second quarter will always be the busiest with the budget announced in May, which I communicate to constituents in a variety of ways, including a whole of electorate newsletter to 103,000 constituents, direct mail-outs to constituents and advertising," Mr Pitt told the NewsMail.
He added the large increase in office admin costs was far from unusual during the second quarter, with "the entire stationary order for the year" being made directly before the financial year.
Employee costs more than doubled between the first and second quarters, with Mr Pitt attributing the jump from $22,182.84 to $47,415.58 to him employing other staff.
"My office employed relief staff during this period to cover staff leave and to engage with constituents to find out the most important issues to them, as well as seek their views on the Regional Deal and the Cashless Debit Card."
In terms of his and his employees' overseas travel, Mr Pitt spent $14,566.76 and $14,580.27 respectively.
A further $64,719.09 was spent on domestic travel for himself and his staff.
The report revealed no money was spent on family travel costs during the latest quarter - down $4,156.70 from January to March.
"My family very rarely travel to Canberra and did not travel at all in the second quarter."