MP's $60,000 travel claim

OXLEY MP Bernie Ripoll spent more than $60,000 on overseas travel in the last six months of 2012, Department of Finance and Deregulation figures have revealed.

Mr Ripoll's overseas expenses were all above board and were spent on ministerial visits.

Blair MP Shayne Neumann and Wright MP Scott Buchholz did not have any expenditure on overseas travel.

Mr Ripoll's expenditure of $60,823.17 was the fourth-highest for overseas travel among Queensland parliamentarians, behind former Treasurer Wayne Swan ($190, 028.58), Senator John Hogg ($173, 031.22) and Craig Emerson ($162, 884.22).

Mr Ripoll is the parliamentary secretary to the treasurer and his job in the last six months of 2012 involved supporting Mr Swan. Now he is parliamentary secretary to Treasurer Chris Bowen.

Mr Ripoll spoke to the QT on Friday from Tonga.

"I am here representing Australia as part of the Pacific Island Countries Finance and Economic Ministers Meeting because I am parliamentary secretary to the Treasurer," he said.

"The meeting is with regard to Australia's role in the Pacific where we play a significant part in the development of our region.

"Every year we send a representative, which this year is me, to the host country. It includes all our regional neighbours."

Mr Ripoll was dealing with issues such as poverty reduction, inclusion in the area and climate change.

Mr Ripoll said his parliamentary expenditure on entitlements was all on the public record and directly tied to fulfilling his role.

The Department of Finance and Deregulation releases parliamentarians' expenditure on entitlements figures each six months.

The expenditure of Mr Buchholz, Mr Ripoll and Mr Neumann was all in the modest range in comparison to their colleagues.

Mr Neumann, whose biggest expense was office administrative costs of $94,125.43, said he aimed to be frugal while also fulfilling his duties.

"I do what I need to do to service one of the fastest- growing regions and we are prudent and economical in what we do," he said.

"We follow the guidelines set down by ministerial and parliamentary services and I comply with those.

"But it is important we communicate and do what is required to service the people of Blair and I have very good staff who work very hard.

"To do that we need computer, paper, work stations and office space.

"We live in the 21st century where these things are really important."

Mr Neumann's total parliamentary expenditure on entitlements for the six-month period was $161,027.74.

Mr Buchholz's was $119,955.78 and Mr Ripoll's was $229,811.34.

Payment of parliamentary entitlements

Blair MP Shayne Neumann: travelling allowance $10,730, overseas travel $0, domestic scheduled fares $13,407.52, charter travel $0, car costs $10,485.77, office facilities $48,276.59, office fit outs $0, office admin costs $94,125.43, telecommunications $6073.99, family travel costs $0. TOTAL $161,027.74

Oxley MP Bernie Ripoll: travelling allowance $17,003, overseas travel $60,823.17, domestic scheduled fares $27,667.05, charter travel $0, car costs $35,895.15, office facilities $68,248.68, office fit outs $7754.06, office administrative costs $59,912.46, telecommunications $4525.64, family travel costs $5272.84. TOTAL $229, 811.34

Wright MP Scott Buchholz: travelling allowance $9754, overseas travel $0, domestic scheduled fares $12,165.91, charter travel $0, car costs $13,999.81, office facilities $44,471.45, office fit outs $0, office administrative costs $63,815.65, telecommunications $6546.84, family travel costs $0. TOTAL $119, 955.78



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