Stirling Mayor’s airfare $7005 more than councillor for same overseas conference

Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano.
Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano.

CITY of Stirling spent $8811 getting Mayor Giovanni Italiano to an overseas conference while a councillor attending the same conference had a $1806 flight.

Councillors voted to send Cr Italiano and Cr Andrew Guilfoyle to a coastal cities and sustainable futures conference in Cadiz, Spain in April, but there was a $7005 difference in airfare costs.

Carine resident Teresa Olow, who ran against Cr Italiano in the 2015 local government election, asked at Tuesday’s council meeting why the Mayor and the councillor had a discrepancy between their airfare costs.

“When I brought it up, people in the public gallery were really upset, you could hear the comments,” she said.

“I understand they have a budget but whether it is business class or first class it doesn’t matter, it should come out of his own pocket not the ratepayers’ pocket; with the economy the way it is ratepayers should be considered.”

Ms Olow said people in the audience said the cost difference “wasn’t fair”.

The overall cost to send the pair to the conference was $15,487; both Cr Guilfoyle and Cr Italiano had sufficient funds from the Elected Members’ Conference and Training Development Allocation to meet the conference costs, according to the council report.

Chief executive Stuart Jardine said councillors could choose their own travel arrangements if the costs were in accordance with policy and guidelines.

City of Stirling has been contacted for comment.