Singer's $36,000 travel bill
Herald Sun by Jen Kelly 03feb06 (Printed in full below)
GARY Singer's globetrotting costs have been exposed in full with documents revealing $36,563 spent on junkets in only seven months.
The Deputy Lord Mayor enjoyed at least five jaunts from April to October last year.
Documents dumped on the City of Melbourne website last night also show ratepayers spent almost $400,000 for trips by councillors and staff in the year to December 1.
Cr Singer travelled to Milan, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Perth, Canberra and Sydney.
In all, Melbourne's nine councillors spent $85,611 on junkets from February to October last year. But the greatest costs to ratepayers were trips by staff and directors, hidden until last night, including:
A $16,029 11-day trip for a council worker to London, Paris, New York and Birmingham as part of a "global retail study tour".
A $21,827 15-day trip for a staff member for a trade alliance in the US and "study tour" in Ireland.
A $16,163 19-day trip to London and Ireland in June and a $14,709 seven-day trip to the Montreal World Swimming Championships in July for the marketing director.
Separate documents released this week reveal the nine councillors notched up $140,000 in expenses in the 13 months since their election -- with Cr Singer by far the biggest spender.
The part-time deputy cost ratepayers $42,000 in expenses including travel. The hefty bill does not include Cr Singer's $45,000 annual allowance.
Council critic Anthony van der Craats said Lord Mayor John So and Cr Singer were set to break the previous council's record as the most expensive and highly travelled councillors in the state.
"The Lord Mayor and his deputy have already spent in their first year more then half of what was spent during the full term of the previous council," he said.
Cr Singer last night defended the spending. "Councillors incur expenses in discharging their responsibilities and they are entitled to be reimbursed for these expenses," he said in a statement. "My objective is to work in the best interests of Melbourne."