Government departments spent $6m dining out in 12 months
Figures obtained by 9NEWS reveal government departments have spent $6 million on lunches, dinners and entertainment in 12 months.
The figures detailed in answers to Senate Estimates enquiries, show while departments spent big, ministers spent a little more than $800,000 of taxpayer funds on events.
The Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies spent the most, with more than $1 million spent on events.
Government departments have spent $6 million on lunches, dinners and entertainment in the past 12 months. Picture: 9NEWS
Other spending includes:
• $850,000 by the Trade and Investment Commission
• $800,000 by the Department of Environment and Energy
• $700,000 by the Department of Communications and the Arts
• More than $350,000 by the Department of Education
• The Health Department paid $113,000 for one event where 167 guests were fed Fraser Island crab salad or grilled sovereign lamb to start. There was a main of chicken breast or beef fillet, dessert of roast pineapple or chocolate mousse and $8 bottles of sparkling wine.
• A Sydney Opera House function cost the Department of Infrastructure $34,700. Guests were fed only canapes, such as golden beetroot, chorizo and goats cheese arancini, spiced duck pancakes, wagyu cheeseburgers with dessert of passionfruit coconut meringue kisses.
One function that only saw canapes served cost $34,700. File image: AAP
Labor MP Matt Keogh has urged the government to keep a closer eye on departmental spending.
"Government departments have been able to run away and spend money on things that no one would expect taxpayer money to be wasted on," he told 9NEWS.
"It's a lot of money being spent here."
Among the other items paid for by the taxpayer were costumes for a mock trial event.
That cost more than $1000, while $1000 was spent on donuts for an event about 90 guests attended.
Labor says if one donut was purchased for each guest, that works out to $12 a donut.
"I've never even seen a $12 donut before, I'd love to know where they are getting this stuff," Mr Keogh said.
"When we look at government spending Australians want to know the government is spending their money wisely."
But Finance Minister Mathias Cormann hit back, saying the government had cut back on bureaucratic spending on events since the Rudd-era.
"Every Departmental Secretary is personally responsible to ensure taxpayers money is treated with respect in their portfolio," Senator Cormann told 9NEWS.
"We expect them to spend taxpayers money wisely and to eliminate all waste.
"The overall cost of the federal government's administration as a proportion of overall expenditure, including spending by departments on events, has fallen from 8.5 percent in 2007-08 to 6.8 percent in 2017-18 and is projected to continue to fall to 5.6 percent by 2021-22.
"That is a major Coalition Government achievement and really the only relevant indicator when assessing the overall efficiency of government administration."