270 in childcare on overseas trip THE state's local government minister has hit out at the "wasteful" use of public money after reports Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes charged ratepayers $270 for childcare while on an overseas junket.
But Cr Nelmes has defended the decision, saying the trip was taken "at very short notice" during school holidays and that she "wouldn't have been able to attend" without taking her nine year old daughter. News Corporation reported on Thursday that Cr Nelmes billed ratepayers for one day of childcare for her daughter while on a council trip to Singapore last year, despite the council's chief executive warning her to consider how the expense would fare against the "pub test". In an email to Cr Nelmes' office the council's interim will burberry have sale boss Frank Cordingley warned the lord mayor to "consider how this request would pass the "pub test". "In terms of how the ratepayers of Newcastle would regard her actions of taking her daughter with her on an overseas trip to attend a conference, and was then "minded" at the ratepayers expense while the Lord Mayor attended the conference," Mr Cordingley wrote. The decision has drawn criticism from her opponents on council, with Brad Luke, a Liberal Party councillor, said he didn't think it was an appropriate use of ratepayers money. "I don't think the average person would say that it's appropriate, it's as simple as that," he said. But Cr Nelmes defended the decision, saying she had no choice but to take her daughter with her on the trip and that she was "pretty confident" the $270 bill was the only time she had used a carers expense in the current term. Under local government expenses rules, Cr Nelmes is allowed to claim up to $6000 a year in childcare costs. Cr Nelmes has three children, and told the Newcastle Herald she had used her carer allowance while attending meetings in previous terms "when the kids were very young". She said she would not have taken her daughter on the trip if it was not school holidays at the time. "I can't just ask my husband to take a week off work because I have to go away on council business," she said. Asked about the claim the NSW local government minister Gabrielle Upton said; "ratepayer funds should never be wasted on unnecessary expenses". "The community has a right to set high expectations for their councils to spend ratepayers' money appropriately," she said. The minister stopped short of saying she would order an investigation by the office of local government, saying concerned ratepayers could lodge complains with the department. The four day trip to Singapore was to attend a World Cities Summit, a conference described as a gathering of key players in the 'smart cities' space, and cost ratepayers $3561. Liberal councillors voted against the trip when it was approved by the Labor dominated council in July, arguing it was a promotional exercise for commercial companies and poorly timed given the possibility the council was still facing the possibility of being dissolved before a forced merger with Port Stephens at the time. But the trip was recommended by Mr Cordingley, who said it was an "ideal opportunity" for council to tap into developments in burberry overnight bag the smart cities realm. Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor, Labor's Jason Dunn, defended Cr Nelmes, saying he knows "how hard the Lord Mayor works and the challenges she faces on a daily basis". "The only people who should be ashamed of their behavior are the oxygen thieves leaking emails and fueling this ridiculous matter, taking attention away from important issues such as the need for capital works in the western suburbs," he said. "This is some of the grubbiest behavior I've seen during my term on Council, and the people involved really doesn't surprise me." In a statement provided to News Corporation but not published, a spokeswoman for Cr Nelmes said; "council introduced a number of policies over a decade ago to increase participation by women and underrepresented groups in local government". "The lord mayor is not unique as a working mother in a leadership role; often this involves blending caring responsibilities with work and work burberry price related travel. "After a resolution of the elected council, the lord mayor attended the world mayors forum and a summit on smart city innovations in 2016 in Singapore for three nights. "She had very short notice and it was in school holidays." Cr Nelmes has been criticised for taking overseas trips on behalf of council in the past.
In 2015 Cr Nelmes went on a study tour of the United States as part of an exchange program on future cities, and last year she took a trip to burberry usa Geneva for the signing of an agreement which confirmed a UN international training centre would be established in Newcastle. The Herald also understands Cr Nelmes has come under fire from opponents on council for a personal trip she took with family to the Solomon Islands in 2016. On the private trip, which she did not charge to ratepayers, Cr Nelmes also met with the mayor of Honiara.
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