If it looks like a junket, sounds like a junket

It is a Junket

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle is off to London to give a 45 minute “Keynote Speech” at the inaugural  Policing Global Cities Conference on July 9. Robert Doyle is one of a number of City Mayors invited to mingle with Mayor of London, Boris Johnson who opens the conference on the day before

International conferences are big business and there are a number of organisations popping-up offering a variety of events at exotic international locations for every sector.

Robert Doyle, who had previously campaigned on a “No junket” platform, has abandoned his promise yet again and has sought rate payer funding to attend the two day event costing over $15,000.  The costs are partly funded by the City of London event organisers who are making a contribution to Robert Doyle’s airfare travel ($4,700) and providing free accommodation. The City of Melbourne picking up the remaining costs.

Last night the City Council approved the allocation of an additional $6,000 towards the cost of Robert Doyle’s airfare plus $1,720 for an additional two days accommodation  and a further $1,800 expenses and incidentals.

The proposed overseas travel was approved by all Councillors including the Lord Mayor and the Deputy Lord Mayor except Councillor Jackie Watts who rightly questioned the value of the trip to the City.

No doubt those Councillors who approved the junket are expecting they too will be given an all expenses overseas paid holiday to “represent the City” Greens Councillor Cathy Oak regularly travels to an ICLEI Conferences twice a year and managed to talk the City Council to fund the costs associated with ICLEI 3rd party executive costs. (Will Greens Cr Rohan Leppert apply to attend a Global Occupy protest event in New York or London in the not too distant future)

In accordance with the City of Melbourne “Staff and Councillors travel policy” the Lord Mayor CEO and Directors may travel Business Class

A quick look at the going price for an airfare from Melbourne to London  on July 5 shows the list price of travel to cost up to  $12,000 with China Southern Airways and Singapore Airways being the cheapest at $7462 and $8879 respectively.  The cost of economy travel is less than $2000.  Looks like the Melbourne City Council approved Travel agent is making a hefty profit on the deal.

The costs even cheaper had the City of Melbourne booked the flight earlier.  Robert Doyle has known about the planed trip as far back as February this year and had only just decided to seek Council approval at the least minute

The City of Melbourne “you scratch my back”  travel opportunities, with an international travel bill exceeding 1 milllion dollars a year, is the envy of all Victorian Local Governments

The City ratepayers also pick up the tab for inbound travel of those invitees invited to visit Melbourne. Reverse hospitality. Strangely, but not unexpected, the City of Melbourne keeps the names of inbound travel recipients a secret in its published travel register for fear of someone joing the dots.

The Greater City of London covers a much larger population and area of administration. It also has its own police force (affectionately referred to as Bobbies). Melbourne on the pother hand is much smaller a few square Kms,the size of a British borough, concentrated on the City Centre. Melbourne City Council has no policing powers other then small fleet of by-laws officers and fleet of security guards. Policing in Melbourne is the responsibility of the State Government not the City of Melbourne