Seeney defends travel bill to and from Brisbane
QUEENSLAND'S deputy premier has defended his $160,000 travel bill to and from his regional Queensland home as the Opposition suggested it equated to 57 trips to Las Vegas.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk asked Callide MP Jeff Seeney whether he was treating the aircraft he used as his "personal taxi service" to reach the figure in just nine months.
He said regional MPs should be allowed to travel back and forward to Brisbane to complete the tasks required of them.
"I am a regional member of parliament," he said.
"Our government believes regional members of parliament have every right to hold senior positions in the government.
"Last year I travelled once a week from where I live (in Monto) to Brisbane in a small Cessna aircraft four seater.
"I would dearly like the opportunity that I suspect the Member for Mackay (Tim Mulherin) has, a Qantas business class option, but that's not available to me."
Mr Seeney said the Ministerial Services Branch had identified the Cessna plane as the best option and set a budget for his travel.
He said he had spent only 60% of the budget allocated to him for the financial year while fighting the tyranny of distance, ensuring regional Queensland has a strong voice in a government that is dominated by south-east Queensland and Brisbane.
"While it may be in (the opposition leader's) interests to make it more difficult for me to do my job, that's certainly not going to be the case," he said.
"I will continue to represent the people of regional Queensland."
The combined Opposition leader and deputy leader travel bill totals $10,874 for the period.
The Opposition said that bill related solely to Mr Mulherin's Mackay travel and did not relate to Ms Palaszczuk's travel to and from her Inala electorate.