Taxpayer bill for ‘people’s Parliament’ exercise revealed
LAST year's special regional sitting of Queensland parliament in Townsville cost nearly $941,000 to stage.
The total cost for the September sitting has finally been released after the total for MP and support staff travel and hotels, venue hire and fit out, equipment, security, IT, the holding of a state reception and advertising were collated this month.
It means it cost nearly $314,000 a day to bring democracy to the people in what was the first regional parliament since 2011.
It compares with the $548,663 price tag for Mackay in 2011 and $607,588 for the Cairns parliament in 2008.
Adjusted for inflation, Mackay cost $633,970 and Cairns cost $759,411.
It's understood the 2019 price spike related to the need for tighter security and an increase in IT needs.
While travel and accommodation costs across all three regional parliaments were comparable, Townsville cost almost twice as much in staging costs.
A Government spokesman said the sitting - in which a special late night Question Time was held for the public to attend outside work hours - was a "resounding success".
"It was important and well worth the investment to show that Queensland is not one city but one state, and that everyone in it has the right to hear and be heard," he said.
"The community warmly welcomed the parliament, engaging with MPs at public receptions and stakeholder meetings, as well as attending the sittings themselves."
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk committed to bring back the regional parliament - introduced by former premier Peter Beattie - after she won office in 2017.
She announced Townsville would play host following last year's federal election drubbing in which angry Queenslanders turned on Labor as her government began a concerted push to reconnect with regional voters.
Modelling on the results suggested a state election would see Townsville, Thuringowa, Mundingburra, Keppel, Rockhampton, Maryborough and Mackay fall like dominoes, taking out Ms Palaszczuk's hopes for a third term.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has committed to run two regional parliaments each four-year term if she wins this year's October election.
Former premier Campbell Newman ended the triennial event when he was elected, saying people weren't that interested in watching politicians.
"I question whether again in this environment where we are trying to save money whether the parliament going out is worth the expense," he said in 2012.