Council reveals travel claims

Colac Otway Shire councillors claimed

Colac Otway Shire councillors claimed almost $60,000 in travel expenses last financial year.

COLAC’S civic leaders claimed almost $60,000 in travel expenses last financial year.

Colac Otway Shire councillors claimed $59,553 on travel in 2012-13, with outgoing councillors Stuart Hart, $24,515, and Geoff Higgins, $0, claiming the highest and lowest amounts.

Mayor Lyn Russell, $2491, and former mayor Stephen Hart, $8685, both had a mayoral car for part of the year, which was not included in the figures.

Councillor Brian Crook claimed $1413, Cr Michael Delahunty $1735, Cr Chris Smith $8987 and Cr Frank Buchanan claimed $11,726.

Cr Terry Woodcroft and retired councillor Mick McCrickard did not make claims in 2012-13.

The figures are available in the council’s annual report.

Council chief Rob Small said the claims were “pretty reasonable” and “largely” for vehicle costs.

“It’s mostly for vehicle costs and it’s to do with the mileage, so those that live further away and are more active tend to have more travel costs,” Mr Small said.

“Generally I don’t see anything that’s out of the ball park in terms of the claims, I act as the kind of auditor for that,” he said.

“I think that the costs are largely in line with what you would expect in a large rural shire if you’ve got broad geographic representation.”

Mr Small said councillors who lived out of Colac had higher travel costs.

“For people like Stephen there’s also a remote area allowance, which is a certain allowance if you travel more than a certain distance,” he said.

Travel expenses claimed in the five years from 2008-09 to 2012-13 were Stuart Hart, $69,316, Frank Buchanan, $44,559, Chris Smith, $42,591, Stephen Hart, $40,509, Lyn Russell , $8333, Geoff Higgins, $5144, Michael Delahunty, $1735, Brian Crook, $1413, Terry Woodcroft, $0, and Mick McCrickard, $0.

These figures do not include use of a mayoral car for years a councillor served as mayor.

Figures do not include councillors who left office at the 2008 election.

3 Responses to “Council reveals travel claims”

  1. Phil Alexander

    Ian, let’s get our facts right. One side of politics has done it a much more than the other in recent years.
    Abbott claimed thousands of dollars in travel expenses to attend a wedding and charity events.
    Barnaby Joyce claimed $8000 to attend rugby games in Brisbane as well as attending weddings held overseas.
    Another WA Liberal MP, Don Randall, claimed thousands of dollars to fly to Cairns to buy an investment property.
    The list goes on.
    The only Labor MP caught out in these recent rorts is Mark Dreyfus.
    His claim was $245.
    There is no doubt about it. Coalition MP’s have had their snouts in the trough much more than their Labor counterparts when it comes to claiming dodgy travel expenses.

  2. Ian

    @ Phil both sides of Politics do this if I had my way they would pay it back and cop a hefty fine and what a disgrace and a waste of rate payers money.

  3. Phil Alexander

    Wonder if they claimed travel expenses to go to weddings, charity and sporting events like Tony Abbott and a number of his government colleagues did?
    I would like to think that the Colac councillors were more honest than that.