State ministerial expenses skyrocket

THE cost of State Government ministers and their growing legions of minders have skyrocketed by $11.7 million in just three years.

Extra ministers and staff, greater office costs and additional domestic and international travel all contributed to the staggering 36 per cent hike, which was almost seven times the rate of inflation over the same period.

The Public Report of Ministerial Expenses for 2018/19, which was released yesterday, revealed the total cost of Queensland's 18 ministers and their offices was $43,857,816.

The same report in 2015/16, which was the Palaszczuk Government's first full financial year in office, stated that the total cost was $32,144,617.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said international travel costs had doubled in just 12 months. Picture: AAP Image/Jono Searle
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said international travel costs had doubled in just 12 months. Picture: AAP Image/Jono Searle

The rise would have been just $1.7 million had Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her administration capped spending on their offices to inflation, which was 5.4 per cent over the period.

However, the addition of four extra ministers since 2015 and the rising cost of renting office space in the Government's lavish 1 William Street tower were key cost drivers.

Ministerial expenses were $36.2 million in the final full year of the Newman government.

Ms Palaszczuk's office costs have increased from $6.2 million to $7.4 million over the last three years while Deputy Premier Jackie Trad's expenses rose from $2.2 million to $2.9 million.

A spokesman for Ms Palaszczuk said ministerial expenses had only increased by 2.8 per cent in the last 12 months while some figures, like motor vehicles, communication and administration costs had fallen over recent years.

"Almost 40 per cent of the overall increase since 2015-16 - $4.4 million - is in building services, due to the 1 William Street lease which was an agreement entered into by the former LNP Government," he said.

"Ministerial office rent has nearly doubled in that time because of the lease obligation."

However, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said international travel costs had doubled in just 12 months.

"While the Palaszczuk Labor Government are racking up frequent flyer miles, our health services are getting worse, crime is rising, congestion is increasing and unemployment is second worst in the nation," she said.

"Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to stop planning her latest trip to chase celebrities and start tackling the problems that matter to ordinary people here in Queensland."



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