True cost of Games bureaucrat digs
GOVERNMENT bureaucrats racked up a bill of more than $550,000 to stay on the Gold Coast during this year's Commonwealth Games.
Figures obtained by The Courier-Mail reveal a delegation of 83 public servants from the Office of the Commonwealth Games cost the taxpayer $385,000 while representatives from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) added $169,000 to the bill.
It equates to more than $300 a night for the fortnight and comes just weeks after The Courier-Mail revealed State Government ministers and their staff racked up an $81,000 bill during the sporting spectacular, including $720-a-night suites for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Games Minister Kate Jones at one of the Glitter Strip's swankiest resorts.
The public servants stayed in more humble lodgings but still chalked up a hefty bill as Gold Coast hotel prices soared during the Games.
A spokesman for Ms Jones defended the bill, saying staff were required to perform various roles from 5am to midnight during the two weeks of the Games.
"The cost of accommodation and allowances for Queensland Government employees during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games were met within budget," he said.
"These staff were primarily responsible for delivering the trade and investment program, Trade 2018, which hosted 38 international delegations."
Staff were also required to work at Games Headquarters at Ashmore co-ordinating operations and the main communications centre as well as delivering protocol services for visiting dignitaries including Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
In August, a right to information request from the Opposition revealed Ms Jones and Ms Palaszczuk splashed out more than $20,000 to stay at the five-star Sheraton Grand Mirage, the same hotel where Prince Charles and Camilla stayed. Other staffers stayed in top hotels including Sea World Resort and Peppers Broadbeach.