Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Parks Victoria multi-million dollar credit card bill under investigation

Parks Victoria multi-million dollar credit card bill under investigation
January 9, 2017

$2.2 million in credit card use by Parks Victoria staff, including purchases from KFC, the Apple iTunes store and wineries, is under investigation by an external auditor.

Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced that the external auditor would undertake the independent review of Parks Victoria’s credit card transactions over the past four years as a result of a large number of credit card transactions and credit cards available to Parks Victoria staff.

Minister D’Ambrosio said she had ordered Parks Victoria to put in place a process to reduce the number of credit cards currently in use, stating “I’ve also asked Parks Victoria to investigate ways to better procure essential goods and services which are purchased regularly or in significant quantities.

“It’s vital that Victorians have full confidence that statutory authorities are complying with best practice standards, are working in an efficient and responsible manner and are always using taxpayer money appropriately.”

Parks Victoria credit card statements requested by the Victorian opposition under Freedom of Information laws show that within the $2.2 million credit card bill in the last financial year $347 was spent at a jewellery store, $898 at a bike shop, $824.50 was spent on a meal at Dunkeld’s award-winning Royal Mail Hotel, $755.90 was spent at Bright Brewery, $1000 at the Portsea Hotel and $946.50 at CBD pub Saint & Rogue.

Almost 700 pages of transactionsalso reveal shopping trips of more than $1000 at Ikea and JB Hi-Fi, and stays at fancy resorts including QT Falls Creek and RACV Torquay. Staff spent $920.04 at Yarra Valley vineyard Balgownie Estate and another $150 at nearby Rochford Wines.

They also racked up big bills in the city, including $902.50 at Soho Restaurant and Bar, $290 at The Boatbuilders Yard, $1069 at Blue Train Cafe, $467.70 at Hophaus, and $866.50 at Southbank’s La Camera restaurant.

Parks Victoria claimed the increased credit card payments came as a result of having sought to phase out the use of petty cash over the past few years due to the increased transparency that credit cards allow.

It also defended the spending of $260 across seven visits to the same KFC store over a four-month period being due to KFC being an effective bait for luring feral cats.

An unnamed Parks Victoria executive told Guardian Australia that “KFC is widely known to be the most effective bait for luring feral cats”.

He said the KFC transactions had been traced to use in baiting programs on French Island, the largest coastal island of Victoria, located 61 kilometres south-east of Melbourne.

Dr Christopher Dickman, a biologist and feral cat expert from the University of Sydney, confirmed that KFC was sometimes used to lure the pests.

Dr Dickman told Guardian Australia “there hasn’t been any data published on it so the information we have is anecdotal, but it does work for luring feral cats, though mainly in urban areas.

“Cats in remote areas are more suspicious of new foods, but cats in urban areas are more used to living close to KFC outlets and are familiar with the smell. It is a popular bait with a strong aroma that is very attractive to carnivores.”

Parks Victoria has also been asked to fix its procurement procedures, given that staff regularly spent thousands of dollars buying equipment at stores including Bunnings, Masters and Target.

Parks Victoria acting Chief Executive Margaret Gillespie welcomed the review.

She said credit cards were needed for 1200 staff across 120 offices who managed four million hectares of land.

Gillespie stated “managing public lands requires significant and regular travel between locations, often over large distances and several days, and thus staff incur work-related travel costs for food, equipment and accommodation.”

It is understood that concerns about spending are not linked to the sacking of former Chief Executive Bradley Fauteux last September, 10 months into his term, after he allegedly engaged in serious unacceptable conduct.

The case was referred to the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission.

Parks Victoria's new Chief Executive Matthew Jackson is due to commence in the role in the middle of next month.

Lower image shows a trapped feral cat. KFC is apparently used to lure feral cats.

26th December 2016 - PARKS VICTORIA PLAN PROPOSES LUXURY ACCOMMODATION ON FALLS CREEK TO HOTHAM ALPINE CROSSING TRAIL

20th December 2016 - PHILLIP ISLAND NATURE PARKS HEAD NAMED NEW PARKS VICTORIA CHIEF EXECUTIVE

16th September 2016 - PARKS VICTORIA CHIEF EXECUTIVE SACKED OVER ‘INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR’ 

27th January 2016 - PARKS VICTORIA INTRODUCES BEACH WHEELCHAIR AT WILSONS PROMONTORY

5th January 2016 - VICTORIA’S NATIONAL PARKS SUFFER FROM FUNDING REDUCTIONS

 


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Altitude Training Systems

Also at 3 Squill Place, Arndell Park NSW 2148 ATS are global leaders in altitude training and research. From mask systems and inflatable tents to simulated altitude facilities, we help…

read more

Fitness / Sport / Technology

 
 

AIS Water

AIS Water, the trading name of Australian Innovative Systems, is a multi-award winning, Australian owned leader in the design, production and supply of commercial and residential chlorine generators…

read more

Aquatics / Safety / Technology

 
 

GEOFF NINNES FONG AND PARTNERS

Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues

 
 

SOLARWISE NSW DOLPHIN TECH

Solarwise NSW / Dolphin Tech were the first and are the largest Dolphin dealer in NSW with a full service facility and full range of spare parts "on the shelf". We also provide on site…

read more

Aquatics / Venues

 
 

TECHNOGYM AUSTRALIA

Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia  and Australia, Technogym exports its…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 
 
 

PULSETEC SOLUTIONS

PulseTec Solutions is a leading provider of software systems and solutions to the health and fitness industry for more than a decade. Our key products and services include ClientConnect studio and…

read more

Access / Fitness / Marketing / Technology / Venues

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business