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(Australian Associated Press)
Almost $158 million of taxpayer money was spent on international flights across Australian government departments and agencies last financial year.
Defence was the biggest spender in 2016-17, accounting for nearly a third of the total bill with $58.6 million going on overseas air travel.
It was followed by Foreign Affairs and Trade and its agencies ($30.3 million) and Immigration and Border Protection ($18 million).
Immigration spent nearly $1.8 million alone on flights with Air Niugini – the national airline of Papua New Guinea, home to Manus Island detention centre.
Qantas bagged the lion’s share of the travel spend, getting paid about $57.6 million, ahead of ahead of Virgin Australia ($16.5 million).
Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines both received almost $12 million each.
The figures were released by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann in response to a question from Labor senator Jenny Macallister earlier this month.
TOP 5 PORTFOLIO AGENCIES
Defence – $58,583,831
Foreign Affairs and Trade – $30,373,758
Immigration and Border Protection – $17,993,889
Industry, Innovation and Science – $11,699,107
Attorney-General’s Department – $10,529,212
TOP 10 AIRLINES
Qantas Airways – $57,616,265
Virgin Australia – $16,510,433
Etihad Airways – $11,981,092
Singapore Airlines – $11,935,776
Emirates Airlines – $9,915,816
British Airways – $4,531,307
Qatar Airways – $4,114,310
Air Niugini – $2,993,159
Cathay Pacific Airways – $2,632,748
Air New Zealand – $2,184,522