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.