OVERSEAS and interstate travel expenses for Hume councillors and council staff increased by nearly $5000 during the past financial year, though fewer claims were made than in the previous 12 months.
Figures from July 2011 until last month show that 45 claims for interstate or overseas travel were submitted by councillors and council officers. The total travel cost was $72,074 - up from $67,052 in the previous 12 months.
Five councillors, including mayor Ros Spence, made claims.
Cr Spence claimed $575.90 for a Melbourne north delegation to Canberra.
Other councillors who claimed were Adem Atmaca (for two trips totalling $4913), Jack Ogilvie ($3629), Burhan Yigit (3,167.20) and Helen Patsikatheodorou ($528.16).
The most expensive trip, costing $8374, was for three staff members of the city infrastructure department to attend a Parks and Leisure Australia national conference in Fremantle.
Council spokesman Michael Sinclair said that as the expenses register was produced quarterly, there could be discrepancies between each of the registers produced throughout the year.
Sunbury residents association president Bernie O'Farrell said he had mixed views on who should be taking these trips.
"As long as council staff members can demonstrate a definitive benefit from the trips, I don't have a problem with them.
"But I have serious doubts over what benefit residents get from councillors going on trips."