Government reps fly to Paris to learn how to save money

When it comes to saving money the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) might need a lesson or two in what not to do.

The department made headlines for spending an estimated $215,000 (or more) when it sent around two dozen of its representatives from Canberra to Paris to attend a discussion on ways to save money.

Twenty-two of the department’s members attended a two-day summit in September. The Sydney Morning Herald reveals that all of those attending flew business class.

If you’ve never flown business class before, it might interest you to know that on Qantas the cheapest business class fare (it’s ‘saver’ ticket) to Paris costs roughy $3,800 one-way.

That’s more than $167,000 on flights alone.

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When you throw in rooms at the four-star Mercure Paris Centre Eiffel Tower Hotel valued at a minimum $530 a night midweek, and a $150 daily meal allowance, it really adds up.

According to DFAT the discussion was designed to “streamline work and improve efficiencies”.

DFAT has defended its decision to send its staff to Paris for the event, saying it is a regional hub in Europe and the flights were cheaper. All good and well for the two thirds of staffers currently based in European locations, but maybe not so for those based in Australia.

Is there a most cost effective method of conduction such meetings? How do you think that money would have been better spent?

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