The City of Melbourne has granted a councillor permission to spend thousands of dollars on a trip to London.
On Tuesday, a council committee approved a request by Councillor Arron Wood to spend $4048 on one night’s accommodation, some airfares and other expenses to attend a climate workshop in London.
The workshop will be coordinated by C40, an organisation that represents 85 cities addressing climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions globally, and will run for two days in August.
Ratepayers Victoria president Jack Davis complained that the trip isn’t a good use of ratepayer’s money.
“It’s a common problem all over the place, they take these little trips overseas,” Mr Davis told The Newsroom. “These are international issues, they’re not local issues.”
Councillor Wood told council he would attend as the council’s environment portfolio chairman and will represent cities of the Asia Pacific.
He told The Newsroom the workshop would decide C40’s business plan for the next four years. “For (the) City of Melbourne to have a seat at the table with cities like New York, London and Seoul is vital for action on climate change, excellent for global reputation and leads to strong business relationships.”
C40 executive director Mark Watts invited Councillor Wood to the workshop. Mr Watts said C40 will pay for three nights’ accommodation and up to $US1500 of airfares and meals. The council will cover the remaining costs for airfares, one night’s accommodation and incidentals.
Councillor Wood said the $800 for incidentals would cover food, taxis and other costs while he’s in London. “This is less than half the amount of full stipend I’m entitled to and when it is converted to the pound you can see it is very reasonable for these incidental costs,” he said.
Mr Davis said the money for the trip could go towards helping homeless people.
Photo and info-graphic by Matthew Male.
Photo of Big Ben from Pixabay user chrgerhart’s page.