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Taxpayers cough up $7MILLION in one year on cocktail parties - including $165,000 on canapes and Sauvignon Blanc for Australia's sports stars

  • Turnbull Government spent $6.96million on hospitality, entertainment in 2017
  • Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies biggest drain
  • Spent $656,566 for a conference in Townsville including $271,000 on catering
  • Sports Minister Greg Hunt hosted $165,000 sports award dinners with athletes 

The Turnbull Government last year spent close to $7million on cocktail parties and hospitality with one minister hosting two gala dinners worth $165,000 for elite athletes.

Taxpayers in 2017 stumped up $45,000 and $120,000 for two separate Australian Sports Commission dinners in Melbourne and Sydney.

Sports Minister Greg Hunt in December hosted an extravagant dinner which saw Olympic hurdler Sally Pearson awarded athlete of the year.

The grand Australian Sports Performance Awards, at Sydney's The Star casino, saw the public purse fund a $120,045 gala event, which included $39,490 for a three-course meal, $20,880 in beverages and $47,052 for venue hire.

 

The Turnbull Government last year spent close to $7million on cocktail parties and hospitality with one minister hosting two gala dinners worth $165,000 for elite athletes (Olympian Sally Pearson pictured at the Australian Sports Performance Awards in Sydney)

The Turnbull Government last year spent close to $7million on cocktail parties and hospitality with one minister hosting two gala dinners worth $165,000 for elite athletes (Olympian Sally Pearson pictured at the Australian Sports Performance Awards in Sydney)

Another $45,000 was spent in February 2017 for the Media Awards at Melbourne's Mural Hall, which included $25,370 for canapes and dinner and $8,685 on beverages, including Republic sauvignon blanc and shiraz cabernot (Seven commentator Bruce McAvaney, Johanna Griggs and tennis double champion Todd Woodbridge pictured)

Another $45,000 was spent in February 2017 for the Media Awards at Melbourne's Mural Hall, which included $25,370 for canapes and dinner and $8,685 on beverages, including Republic sauvignon blanc and shiraz cabernot (Seven commentator Bruce McAvaney, Johanna Griggs and tennis double champion Todd Woodbridge pictured)

The expensive gala events on the public purse didn't stop there with another $45,000 in February 2017 spent at the Media Awards at Melbourne's Mural Hall, which included $25,370 for canapes and dinner and $8,685 on beverages, including Republic Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz Cabernot.

Mr Hunt delivered a homily on the importance of exercise as he mixed with Seven Network commentators, Bruce McAvaney and Johanna Griggs, and Todd Woodbridge, a former tennis doubles champion.

'For all of us, sport means different things. For me it was absolutely part of my upbringing,' he told guests as they enjoyed a three-course meal. 

Sports Minister Greg Hunt in December hosted an extravagant dinner which saw Olympic hurdler Sally Pearson awarded athlete of the year.

Sports Minister Greg Hunt in December hosted an extravagant dinner which saw Olympic hurdler Sally Pearson awarded athlete of the year.

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies also spent $656,566 on just one conference at the Townsville Convention and Exhibition Centre, in north Queensland, in March 2018.

A Question on Notice from Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching revealed $271,253 was spent on catering alone for the National Native Title Conference with another $134,624 shelled out on travel and accommodation.

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander was by far the biggest spender last year, costing taxpayers $1.067 million on catering.

Tennis doubles champion Todd Woodbridge featured at the $45,000 Australian Sports Commission's media awards in February 2017

Tennis doubles champion Todd Woodbridge featured at the $45,000 Australian Sports Commission's media awards in February 2017

Across all government departments, $6.2 million was spent on hospitality and entertainment, with ministers spending another $808,127, taking the total spending on taxpayer-funded catering to $6.96 million in 2017.

The government-owned company behind the rollout of the National Broadband Network, NBN Co, also spent $334,874 last year on 'events, milestone celebrations and product launches'.

In answer to a question from Labor senator Anne Urquhart, NBN Co said it did not have a cost breakdown of 'functions or official receptions'. 

In another example of largesse, Australian Public Service Commission spent $23,997 on a diversity breakfast in November 2017.

Across all government departments, $6.2 million was spent on hospitality and entertainment, with ministers spending another $808,127, taking the total spending on taxpayer-funded catering to $6.96 million in 2017 (Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and wife Lucy pictured)

Across all government departments, $6.2 million was spent on hospitality and entertainment, with ministers spending another $808,127, taking the total spending on taxpayer-funded catering to $6.96 million in 2017 (Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and wife Lucy pictured)

Despite charging the 92 guests for tickets at $60 each, the Australian Public Service Diversity and Inclusion Awards still saw the public pay $1,100 for doughnuts and another $3,850 on flowers.

Ironically, the Public Service Commission was headed by John Lloyd, who earlier this month announced he would quit his $678,000 position in August, after an anonymous complaint was made about his ties to the Institute of Public Affairs, a right-wing think tank that rails against government waste. 

The spending by Australia's government departments also included the bizarre, with the Department of Human Services spending $2,625 on the 'cyber security war games' which included a Lego model to demonstrate a cyber attack on a model train.

Even more bizarre was the Fair Work Commission spending $1,773 producing a video re-enactment of the 1907 Harvester judgement.

It featured actors in period costume playing out scenes from the Commonwealth Court of Arbitration and Conciliation, which ruled in favour of centralised wage fixing.

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