PERTH Council voted unanimously to approve a trip to Sydney for Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi to attend the National Infrastructure Summit, despite the total cost of $7475 including $4000 for airfares.
Councillor Jemma Green moved that the proposal be amended to include a requirement the Lord Mayor provide a report back to Council upon her return.
“It should be made clear that there is something in it for the ratepayers – otherwise it looks like just another junket,” she said.
While Cr Green’s amendment was not put to a vote, the Lord Mayor made clear she would report to council after the summit – and intended to do so for future conferences as well.
Deputy Lord Mayor James Limnios said the summit was “an example of a crucial trip that a mayor or councillors should take” but added that councils cannot carry on with “business as usual”.
“There’s a lot of benefit for the City, benefit for the Council and stakeholders, but we can’t carry on with business as usual… We have to make sure that we give value back to the ratepayers,” he said.
Cr Reece Harley voiced his support for the Lord Mayor’s attendance at the summit, but added changes need to be made to ensure elected members who attended conferences can table reports at Council when they return.
The Guardian Express asked the City to explain why the Lord Mayor could not use the Qantas economy service, which provides return flights to Sydney normally ranging between $400 and $600, instead of the $4000 flight planned.
No response was provided.