Penrith Council is outraged by plans to send staff on a fully-funded European “study trip” that would cost taxpayers $40,000 each
- Penrith Council funds overseas trip
- The move sparked criticism
A local council has sparked outrage over plans to send staff on a fully-funded European “study trip” that would cost taxpayers up to $40,000 each.
Penrith Council in western Sydney will announce on Monday evening approval of plans to send several staff members on the 13-day trip across Europe at the end of August.
Mayor Tricia Hitchen and Deputy Mayor Todd Carney are among the group who could be flown overseas.
The trip, titled “Unlocking the Aerotropolis International Study Tour”, was condemned by anonymous Penrith Council sources. The Daily Telegraph reported.
The sources claim the move is unrelated to tariffpayers “struggling to survive” amid a cost-of-living crisis crippling Australia.
Penrith City Council Mayor Tricia Hitchen (right) and Deputy Mayor Todd Carney (left) are among the council members being urged to launch a taxpayer-funded ‘study tour’ of Europe
Council representatives are expected to visit Paris as part of the trip
In documents sent to councillors, council officials said a 10- to 13-day tour would be proposed, “with an itinerary focused on experiencing and observing first-hand cities that have a second international airport, the associated rail sidings infrastructure, the surrounding cities and the mix of industries and residential densities.”
“The tour will provide another opportunity to build relationships, both with foreign networks and with the Council,” Council officials said.
“An itinerary has yet to be finalized based on the ability to secure suitable connections but would broadly include visits to Amsterdam, the UK and Paris.”
The planned study trip is expected to cost between $25,000 and $40,000 per person.
Local Jarrod Bacich said it was “unfair” that councilors and staff were planning taxpayer-funded trips to Europe while locals were going through tough times.
“We’re in a cost of living crisis, it’s totally unfair,” he said.
“I’m trying to save up to go to Europe. They don’t see me asking Penrith to pay for it.”
Locals in western Sydney have criticized the tour plans, saying the funds could be spent helping people during the cost-of-living crisis
Another resident, Sarah Phillips, said the council could instead spend the money on improving local infrastructure and services.
“I see no point in using our money for a study trip,” she said.
“Why does it have to be our money that is being used?”
The itinerary includes plans for visits to agrotechnology, agrologistics and agroscience companies in Schiphol, Amsterdam.
Council officials are expected to visit “the 13th Arrondissement Paris district” to see a “living example of updating dense urban planning that supports the range of housing options”.
In the UK, councilors and staff will visit Gatwick to see “examples of regional development around an airport”.
Daily Mail Australia has reached out to Penrith Council for comment.