Airline rips off Gladstone pollie with $31k flights bill
ANYONE in Gladstone who has booked a ticket to catch a plane from the airport to Brisbane knows how expensive it can be.
And even though it is only 442km by air from Gladstone to Brisbane, it consistently costs more to fly from here to Brisbane than it does from places like Emerald (656km), Mackay (803km) and Townsville (1112km).
This unfair fact of life for people living in the Gladstone Region has even hit our local state member Glenn Butcher, who incurred the second highest travel expenditure costs for members of the legislative assembly.
Mr Butcher took 41 trips from Gladstone to Brisbane and back again last year at a cost of $30,989.13 to the state.
According to figures released in the State Government's annual report on travel expenditure, the lowest priced one-way ticket Mr Butcher was able to book between Gladstone and Brisbane was a pricey $713.64.
A return ticket to Gladstone cost up to $1454.54 and to put that in context, a return ticket to London leaving in Brisbane in two weeks would cost $1276 with China Southern Airlines.
Although Townsville is about 670km further away from Brisbane than Gladstone, the only MP who managed to top Mr Butcher was Hinchinbrook MP Andrew Cripps.
With the same amount of trips as Mr Butcher, Mr Cripps notched up $33,524.21 in travel costs.
Mr Butcher said he flew with the same airline each time.
"We try and get the best deal we can...but you have to pay what the prices are," he said. "Most of the flights have to do with parliamentary sitting but it's been a busy year and I've been involved in major committee work and have travelled extensively around Queensland.
"A lot of those flights were taken when we had the LNG boom and ... it was expensive no matter what day or time you flew."
Although Mr Butcher didn't expect his schedule to ease up, he thought ticket prices would come down "over the next 12 months" because demand from FIFO workers would not be there.
"The biggest thing is that this travel is not for fun and is all for work," he said.