Social media posts have resurrected long-running claims that taxpayers were billed $22,000 for Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud to travel just 84km between Warwick and Toowoomba in Queensland.
While the posts cite the correct figure for an expenses claim Mr Littleproud made in 2018, it misrepresents the amount of travel undertaken – which in fact covered approximately 4000km across multiple flights.
Its text reads: “With $14,000 you can pay for a round-the-world cruise ticket. With $15,000 you can pay for a round-the-world first-class airfare. With $22,003 you can pay for (David Littleproud’s) expenses claim for travelling from Warwick to Toowoomba on June 4. A distance of 84kms.”
However, parliamentary expenditure documents show that the $22,003 expenses claim covered six flights between June 4 and June 6, 2018. The information is accessible in the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority’s (IPEA) dataset for July 1 to September 31, 2018. The six trips are categorised as unscheduled transport for “official duties” and are listed together as trip sequence 5195.
As well as taking the Warwick to Toowoomba trip referred to in the posts, Mr Littleproud, who was then minister for agriculture and water resources, also travelled from Toowoomba to Dubbo in NSW, then on to Blackall, Charleville and Boulia in rural Queensland. The trip ended at Archerfield Airport in southern Brisbane, according to the expenses database.
All together, the six-leg trip featured a travel distance of approximately 4000km, based on AAP FactCheck calculations using Google Maps.
The $22,003 figure is recorded alongside only the first leg of the trip from Warwick to Toowoomba in the dataset, however the IPEA’s explanatory notes state that when a trip has multiple legs of travel, “the cost of the whole trip may be reported against the first leg of travel”.
In a series of tweets in 2018, Mr Littleproud explained that “Warwick to Toowoomba was just the first leg” but the $22,000 total was for the entire 4000km journey including multiple stops.
He said the purpose of the trip was to visit communities in outback Queensland and NSW that were “struggling because of the drought”, adding that then minister for regional development John McVeigh was also on board.
The claim that David Littleproud spent $22,000 travelling 84 km between Warwick and Toowoomba is false. Parliamentary expenses records show the $22,000 claim was for a 4000km, six-leg trip that included visits to Toowoomba, Dubbo, Blackall, Charleville and Boulia.
False – The claim is inaccurate.