Jeff Seeney defends regional travel
DEPUTY Premier Jeff Seeney has leapt to defend travel to regional Queensland after a report showed he spent more hours in government-owned aircraft than his colleagues in his first three months in the job.
The annual report for the Premier and Cabinet Department showed Mr Seeney spent 12.7 hours in the air, 16.6% of the aircraft use, followed by Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps at 15.6% and Agriculture Minister John McVeigh at 15.3%.
Premier Campbell Newman had spent 9.4 hours in the air, 12.3% of the use of the two aircraft.
In the nine months before the LNP came into power, then Premier Anna Bligh spent 101.5 hours in the air, totalling 40% of their use.
Now Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, then transport minister, spent just 13.8 in the air which was 5.4% of its use.
"Anybody who understands Queensland knows the importance of regional Queensland and the importance of regional development to the entire Queensland economy," Mr Seeney said.
"Part of the parliament fulfilling its role of ensuring that regional Queensland develops is to encourage not just ministers but all members of this parliament to travel to regional Queensland, to understand the issues in regional Queensland, to go and talk to people about things like the wild rivers legislation, the vegetation management legislation and the road issues that beset regional Queensland."
Mr Seeney said the Opposition Leader had been at the "forefront in criticising people for travelling to regional Queensland and incurring travel costs".
He told parliament he had looked at her travel records and found she flew to Townville in the government jet in March this year when there were eight flights a day available.
"She criticised me for using charter flights when there were eight flights a (day) available," he said.
"That illustrates their hypocrisy and the way their position changes from government to opposition."