'SHOCKED': Members of Australia's Financial System Inquiry had to pay for their own food while overseas

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Slashed funding for a cornerstone fact-finding mission by Australia’s Financial System Inquiry in mid-2014 left panel members picking up the tab for their meals.

The Australian reports the panel members got more than they bargained for when they noticed changes in the fine print for the US-Europe trip.

The members were said to have been shocked at the curtailed funding, especially since it appeared that someone had gone through the mission inquiry “line by line”.

David Murray, Carolyn Hewson and Kevin Davis proposed to help budgeting limits by “forgoing eating meals on the government’s tab” during their travels to Germany, Basel, London, New York and Washington DC.

The offer by panel members from the business community to personally subsidise this historic government inquiry by donating their travel allowances was accepted by Mr Hockey. It was a remarkable outcome for business leaders on government business meeting international market players and regulators in Europe and the US – ranging from the Bank of England to the US Federal Reserve – to pay for their own meals and other allowances in order to meet a slashed budget and to help cover the costs of bringing the head of their secretariat with them.

A spokesperson for the PM said Cabinet had assessed the costings for the trip.

“Consistent with government policy to consult the Prime Minister regarding proposed overseas travel for delegations of officials that require significant expenditure of taxpayers’ money, the Treasurer consulted the Prime Minister regarding the overseas travel of the Financial System Inquiry committee,” the spokesperson said.

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