The government is paying gardeners $200,000 a year to groom Kirribilli House, the luxury residence of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
New tender documents from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet show that a three-year deal with a contract value of $601,732 was approved for “grounds maintenance services”.
Tony Abbott is the second prime minister in Australia’s political history following John Howard to reside in the official Kirribilli House after he was pressured by security advisers to leave his family home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Just last year, Mr Abbott spent more than $120,000 on renovating the home — including a $13,000 rug for the family room, according to News Corp.
The overhaul also clocked up a $64,988 bill for “landscaping advice relating to dilapidated paths and how to prevent tree roots invading garden walls.”
“The Prime Minister talks about lifters and leaners and he has presided over some of the cruellest budget cuts in memory. Yet when it comes to his own expenses he has no problem spending big. What a hypocrite,” Labor’s waste watch spokesman Pat Conroy told Fairfax.
This is not the first time that the Prime Minister has come under fire over taxpayers’ money. In March, Abbott was reported to have used a taxpayer-funded RAAF plane to fly to Melbourne where mining millionaire and major Liberal Party donor Paul Marks was celebrating his birthday.
In 2011, two of Mr Abbott’s high-profile ministers claimed thousands of dollars in taxpayer entitlements to attend radio presenter Michael Smith’s wedding.
Although state MPs are allowed to claim travel and accommodation expenses for official business including “meetings of a government advisory committee or taskforce”, both Attorney-General George Brandis and deputy Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce were reported to have billed taxpayers up to $3000 for flights, hire cars and incidental expenses.
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