THE bulk of expenses Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters claimed during the final quarter of 2018 were for office administrative costs and facilities.
Ms Chesters claimed $83,915.28 in expenses between October 1 and December 31. Of this $33,442.05 was for office administrative costs, $31,811.19 of which was for printing and communications.
Ms Chesters said a significant amount of the printing budget was spent on advertising. She said the sum also included printing for community groups, mail outs, written correspondence with constituents and subscriptions to newspapers.
Ms Chesters also claimed $29,617.04 for office facilities, $7,567 in travel allowance, $3,447.67 for domestic scheduled fares, $4,596.99 for COMCAR use, $2,611.84 for privately plated vehicle use, $1,798.93 for telecommunications and $723.42 for family travel costs.
Ms Chesters' travel allowance covered 21 nights in Canberra, three nights in Adelaide and one night in Sydney.
Ms Chesters said there was a high level of scrutiny of expenses, but she understood public concerns with large bills coming in from some MPs and senators.
It was important that MPs and senators could justify and explain their expenses, Ms Chesters said. She said expenses would be understandably higher for some parliamentarians, for instance senior members of government or those who represented geographically large seats.
Her own rule of thumb was to fly economy for short flights, saving significantly, Ms Chesters said.
"You're always conscious that every flight you book, every night of accommodation, it needs to be on the taxpayer budget," Ms Chesters said.
"You would expect senior members of the front bench both government and opposition to have higher travel claims."
Ms Chesters expenses were less than MPs in other regional centres such as Ballarat and Geelong during the last quarter of 2018.
Member for Ballarat Catherine King claimed $179,074.33, while member for Geelong electorate Corio Richard Marles claimed $145,849.95.
Ms Chesters claimed $385,697.98 across the whole of 2018, less than her counterparts in Ballarat and Geelong. Ms King claimed $679,531.23 over the course of the year, while Mr Marles claimed $505,809.15.
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