News National Late government payments cost taxpayers $100k
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Late government payments cost taxpayers $100k

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Delayed payments by government departments cost taxpayers about $100,000 in late fees, questions from an MP have revealed.

Member for Charlton, Pat Conroy, questioned the government on charges racked up for tardy settlement of bills in the 2014-15 financial year.

According to a News Corp exclusive, these charges totalled more than $100,000 and averaged $6000 for each department.

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The Department of Defence reportedly topped the list, amassing about $28,000, while the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) paid more than $21,300. The Department of Health was charged about $20,000.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also admitted his office, which was run by Tony Abbott in the 2014-15 financial year, was an offender, with nearly $7000.

When contacted by The New Daily, DFAT did not confirm the exact value of late fees, but said they worked to avoid late fees.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s policy is to pay all suppliers on time,” a DFAT spokesperson said.

“DFAT continually seeks ways to improve its procedures and has implemented a number of measures to reduce the risk of future late payments.”

Labor MP and Waste Watch committee chair Pat Conroy said these sorts of charges were avoidable.

“The government talks about lifters and leaners, so what do you call this?” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“We are talking about minister’s whose departments can’t even keep on top of the most rudimentary bills.”

Mr Conroy and the departments of Defence and Health were contacted for comment.

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