Coast MP defends $440 motel room 30 minutes from home
SUNSHINE Coast MP Jarrod Bleijie has defended slugging the taxpayer $440 for two nights of accommodation to stay in a hotel about half an hour from his home.
The former Attorney-General claimed the expense so he could stay the night at an LNP policy forum at the beachside suburb of Marcoola in June 2009.
Marcoola is about a 30 minute drive from the Member for Kawana's home at Little Mountain.
Under the rules which govern Queensland State MP's entitlements politicians can claim a travel allowance when they spend more than 12 hours away from home.
And while MPs can't claim expenses to attend political fundraisers they can claim to attend policy forums aimed at developing their party's stance on key issues.
"I believe good policy development promoting economic growth is a fundamental part of my responsibilities as an MP," Mr Bleijie said.
"This is in stark contrast to Labor government's that are influenced so heavily by union bosses and that continue to implement job destroying policies in this State."
Last month Gold Coast LNP MP John-Paul Langbroek agreed to pay back a number of claims he made to stay in hotels about a 20 minute drive from his home.
"For the first 10 years I was in, you couldn't do it, and then they said you can," Mr Langbroek said on his sister's Sydney radio show after going to ground for two days when news broke of the claims.
"But I do understand that people have said 'you can't do that', and so I won't be doing it again."
The two night Marcoola stay was not the only unusual claim made by Mr Bleijie.
On the 2015-16 report which details Queensland MP's travel expenses, there were two charges for hire cars in Maroochydore about 15 minutes from his house.
Mr Bleijie explained the larger of the two charges - a claim for $761.31 to use a hire car for 15 days in April 2016 - by saying the expense had been approved because his electorate car was off the road.
"The Clerk of the Parliament gave approval for me to hire a vehicle utilising my general travel allocation whilst my electorate vehicle was off the road for a period of time," Mr Bleijie said.
And he explained the second of the two charges - a claim for $207.64 for a hire car in Maroochydore over two days in April 2016 - by saying the vehicle was used to travel to the Gold Coast. "As Shadow Minister for Police, Fire, Emergency Services and Corrective Services I attended the Gold Coast on the invitation of the Member for Currumbin," Mr Blejie said.
"I met with the Member, Police, held a press conference at the former Lone Wolf Criminal gang headquarters and attended and met with hard working volunteers at the Currumbin Valley Rural Fire Brigade."
When asked why he did not take his electorate vehicle on the Gold Coast trip Mr Bleijie said: "As previously explained, the expense was not electorate travel, but Shadow Ministerial travel."