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Lotteries new travel restrictions meaningless

Lotteries Commission new travel restrictions meaningless

Internal Affairs Minister Jack Elder has gone soft on Lotteries Commission travel arrangements, the Green Party says.

Mr Elder today said he was satisfied with the Lotteries Commission telling him it would exercise restraint in its travel practices. The Commission told Mr Elder it would cut-back on paying for spouses to travel overseas on official business.

However Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald said Commission Presiding Member Geoff Thompson had listed so many out-clauses on spouses' travel restrictions the restrictions were meaningless.

"I'm horrified that Jack is satisfied with the Commission's travel review because there are so many exceptions they provide an excuse for as much travel as the Commission is currently doing," Mr Donald said.

Mr Thompson has said exceptions to spouses paying for their own travel could occur in employment contracts or if there was an important representation role to be filled.

Mr Donald said the travel review also appeared to ignore the issue of airpoints collected on business travel but used privately.

"If this isn't addressed then spouses will still be travelling on the airpoints collected on official business.

"All Crown Entities, including the Lotteries Commission, should have a policy on airpoints that requires them to be used on public business rather than for private benefit," Mr Donald said.

Mr Elder has said today that the commission told him the practice of attending overseas conferences was started at the launch of the Commission in 1987 and was part of its research and development investment.

"Who does Mr Elder think he is kidding when he tries to claim spouses going on international junkets are part of research and development," Mr Donald said. "The public won't be conned by such statements."

The Commission has spent about $1.2 million in the past 12 years on travel for commission staff and members and their spouses. This year it spent $95,000 on a trip to Norway and, last year, $106,000 on a trip to Argentina.

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