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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NSW aims to dispel perceptions about overseas travel

NSW Premier Nathan Rees yesterday issued an instruction to ministers concerning disclosure on the web of details including the purpose and cost of overseas travel. This follows recent on-the front-foot disclosures of costs of trips recently undertaken by him and separately by Finance Minister Joe Tripodi

The Premier said

"Overseas travel is undertaken by Ministers to attract investment, trade and business opportunities to the State, to learn from the policies and processes of other Governments, and to forge relationships with export markets. Full disclosure of the costs, purpose and benefits of overseas trips would help to dispel the public perception that overseas travel is undertaken for the private benefit of Ministers and their attendants at taxpayers’ expense. This information is routinely sought, and released, under the Freedom of Information Act."

Within 28 days and with immediate effect information is to be posted on an agency website including:

  • The portfolios to which the trip relates.
  • A detailed description of the purpose and benefits of the travel to the State of New South Wales.
  • The destinations visited.
  • The date of travel.
  • The number of persons who accompanied the Minister, including Ministerial advisers, agency staff and, in accordance with relevant guidelines, family members.
  • The total cost of airfares.
  • The total cost of accommodation.
  • The total cost of other expenses (including travel allowances).
Good and welcome news-add an across government link that provides access to the full picture and a search capability and that may be as good as it gets- for overseas travel. As to other automatic disclosure of payments of domestic travel, allowances and expenses to ministers and members of parliament, perhaps another day-soon?

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