02/01/2013 02:45 EST | Updated 02/01/2013 02:48 EST

BC MLA Travel Expenses: Robin Austin Tops Spenders


A B.C. NDP MLA spends more on travel than anyone else in the legislature, but some ministers may have got off easy because their expenses are allocated differently.

Skeena MLA Robin Austin spent $75,035 in total on travel between April 1, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2012.

Doug Donaldson was second in spending at $67,960 and former Liberal speaker Bill Barisoff was third at $57,010.

Travel expenses for cabinet members, however, appear lower because the costs are covered by individual ministries.

Energy Minister Rich Coleman, for example, doesn't list any accommodation costs when he stays in Victoria. Neither do Justice Minister Shirley Bond or Jobs Minister Pat Bell.

Much of Austin's travel expenses can be chalked up to a $19,000 trip he took to a conference in Sri Lanka in September, an expense approved by the speaker.

Austin also represents a semi-rural riding in northwestern B.C., which can lead to heavy travel spending.

The expenses were released Thursday in the wake of a report from the auditor general that said the legislature's books are a mess.

See the top 10 travel spenders in the slideshow:

Photo gallery B.C. MLA's Who Spent Most On Travel In 2013 See Gallery

Robin Austin - $75,035

Doug Donaldson - $67,960

Bill Barisoff - $57,010

Pat Pimm - $56,484

John Rustad - $56,391

Norm MacDonald - $55,802

Eric Foster - $54,894

Gary Coons - $54,875

Nicholas Simons - $51,522

Adrian Dix - $50,934