$20k for totally vital overseas conferences

STIRLING city council will spend nearly $20,000 to send two councillors to separate overseas conferences.

Cr Keith Sergant will don castanets and montera for an undoubtedly vital three-day urban transport conference in Valencia, Span.

Cr David Boothman will put on his union jack briefs to attend a similarly important three-day conference in England on coastal cities and their sustainability.

Cr Boothman, a former Stirling mayor born in England, defended the cough-inducing $9045 to be spent flying him business class to Blighty.

“There was no similar conference being held in Australia,” he says.

“Anyway, I recently went on a council trip to Brisbane and it cost around $7000, so the difference between going overseas isn’t that much sometimes.”

Stirling is no stranger to jet-setting councillors.

Last year, the council spent $25,000 to send Joe Ferrante and David Lagan to California for a three-day conference on sustainable infrastructure. In 2013 the same pair attended an audit conference in Orlando, Florida costing $32,750, despite Cr Lagan not being on the council’s audit committee.

In May the council voted to spend $6545 flying mayor Giovanni Italiano and CEO Stuart Jardine business-class to Canberra—so they could lobby the government for money (someone’s got to pay for all the flights).

Councillors must produce a report upon their return.


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