Rann Govt Overseas Junket Spending Out Of Control

Rann Govt Overseas Junket Spending Out Of Control

South Australia Shadow Minister for Industry & Trade Martin Hamilton-Smith

Special Audit Of Rann Overseas Spending Spree Needed

Victor P Taffa

The Opposition is calling for a Special Audit by the Auditor-General of Rann Government spending on salaries and trade activities around the world following the disclosure to Parliament today of mystery Payments and Salaries in Puglia, Italy and in India.

“This is the first time we have heard that the Puglia Trade Fair Fiera del Levante has attracted well over $1.4 Million of spending since 2007, with $380,000 spent in 2007-08 alone.” Shadow Minister for Industry and Trade, Martin Hamilton-Smith said today.

“That’s far more than the $185,000 figure p.a. provided by the Minister in Budget Estimates.” Mr. Hamilton-Smith said.

“Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee has also heard that extra money has been streaming into Puglia through Ministerial and Departmental travel budgets and through an additional $1.2 million for education based initiatives.”

“There also needs to be more transparency and more disclosure and less secrecy about salaries for Special Envoys and Trade Representatives.” Mr. Hamilton-Smith said.

“Parliament head today that Special Envoy to Europe Mr. Nicola Sasanelli had his $196,000 Salary split between two Departments with further on costs provided by DTED of $40,000 with more from the Premier’s Department. There is no overall snapshot for taxpayers to view unless the Premier finally comes clean with all the information.”

“Parliament was also shocked to hear confirmation that a ‘Senior Trade Commissioner – South Australia’ in India Mr. AK Tareen is being paid $334,000 p.a., plus additional travel and on costs from his office budget but that he does not appear in the Budget as an employee!” Mr. Hamilton-Smith said.

“Mr. Tareen’s costs are buried in the detail of the Budget under supplies and services as a contractor.”

“Why the lack of transparency, openness and accountability?” Mr. Hamilton-Smith asked.

“How many more Senior employees are there overseas?”

“How many other Pet Projects or appointments has the Rann Labor Government initiated overseas without fully disclosing the costs?”

“It is the Taxpayers Money they have a right to know. The Government should agree to a special audit into all of these activities by the Auditor-General forthwith.” Mr. Hamilton-Smith said.