Liberals demand council travel transparency

If elected in March a Marshall Liberal Government will make it mandatory for all South Australian councils to publish travel expenses in their annual report to increase transparency and accountability.

The announcement follows the latest reported waste of ratepayer money by a member of local government after it was revealed the Mayor of Port Pirie visited his girlfriend while on ratepayer funded trips to the Philippines.

“South Australians are fed up with councils wasting their rates on outrageous expenses, including ridiculous travel costs,” said Shadow Minister for Local Government David Pisoni.

“There is no shortage of examples of local government wasting ratepayer’s’ money, whether they are sending elected members off to the Australian Open for a week or funding golf memberships or luxury cars all at the expense of ratepayers.

“That’s why the State Liberals will cap council rates, to prevent outrageous waste of ratepayer dollars - a policy which is opposed by the Weatherill Labor Government and Nick Xenophon.

“This latest apparent misuse of South Australian ratepayer money on overseas travel is another kick in the guts to hard working South Australians struggling to pay their sky rocketing council rates.

“At the moment there is a complete lack of transparency and accountability in the way councils are reporting how they spend ratepayer money.

“In fact, of the 19 metropolitan councils in South Australian only one has disclosed their travel expenses in their 2016-17 annual report.

“This is simply unacceptable and ratepayers have a right to know how much of their dollars are being spent on travel for elected members as well as other expenses.

“Ministers and their staff are required to disclose travel expenses and elected local government representatives should be subject to the same level of scrutiny and transparency.

“Many South Australians are struggling to keep their heads above water paying massive council rates and skyrocketing electricity and water bills and would be rightly furious at the level of waste which occurs in the local government sector.

“It’s no wonder council rates continue to spiral out of control when there’s a lack of transparency in the reporting of council expenses especially when it comes to travel.”

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