Increased scrutiny over cost of Queensland’s jetsetting ministry
Increased scrutiny over cost of Queensland’s jetsetting ministry Caitlan Charles

Premier under fire for big travel spend

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk's three-day trip to Japan has placed increased scrutiny on her jetsetting ­ministry, as new figures reveal she has spent almost 2½ times what her predecessor spent on overseas travel.

Even before she touched down in Tokyo yesterday on a trade mission, Ms Palaszczuk was being attacked for leaving Queensland while her Government dealt with the fallout from Labor's disastrous showing at the federal election.

Analysis of new travel figures to the end of 2018 released last week show that Ms Palaszczuk has spent an average of $13,142 every month on overseas travel during nearly four years as Premier.

Former premier Campbell Newman spent $5613 a month on average during almost three years in the top job.

And Palaszczuk Government ministers have racked up an average monthly travel bill almost double what their LNP counterparts managed during their time in power, spending almost $2 million from February 2015 to December 2018.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said Ms Palaszczuk and her ministers were racking up frequent flyer miles while the Government lurched from crisis to crisis in health, youth justice and transport.

"With her government in crisis, her MPs in revolt and lacking any backbone to make decisions, Annastacia Palaszczuk has decided the best way to handle a crisis is another taxpayer-funded junket overseas," she said.

"The globetrotting Labor Premier's ears must be painted on because she certainly isn't listening to the concerns of Queenslanders."

A Palaszczuk Government spokesman said trade missions had helped net thousands of jobs for Queenslanders in manufacturing, resources, film and education industries.

"Talking to key international trade partners is important because trade equals exports and jobs, especially for regional Queensland," he said.

"The more trade we do, the more jobs we can provide."

He said Japan was Queensland's second-biggest export customer, spending $12.2 billion in the year to March, up 6.1 per cent over the period.

"That has helped contribute to jobs growth across Queensland of 199,000 new jobs since January 2015 including 1000 new jobs in the past year in the Townsville area.

"The resources and agriculture industries will take centre stage during the trade mission which also involve education, manufacturing and collaboration on growth industries like hydrogen," he said.

"The Premier is expected to meet with Japanese companies who use Queensland coal in steel manufacturing during the current three-day trade mission," he said.