Taxpayers shelled out almost $90,000 on travel, accommodation and other expenses when Australia hosted the Dutch prince and princess last year. Prime Minister John Howard revealed his department had spent $21,041 on travel, $18,678 on accommodation and $49,858 on "all other expenses" during Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima's six-day jaunt to Australia last October.
The bill - totalling $89,577 - did not include security costs for the trip, during which the royal couple visited Sydney, Canberra and Hobart. They then headed to New Zealand. The figures were contained in a written response to a parliamentary question on notice in from Labor MP Daryl Melham.
The prince, who is heir to the Dutch throne, and his wife were on an official visit to Australia to mark the 400 years since Dutch explorers landed on the coast of Western Australia. Mr Melham on Tuesday said he did not believe the cost of hosting the Dutch royal couple was excessive, especially when compared with the bill for British royalty.
"What we've managed to do is accommodate them on the cheap," he told AAP.
But he questioned the need for taxpayers to fund a visit for the royals of a country with few direct links to Australia. "I can see the connection we have with the British royals - old Lizzie is still our head of state," Mr Melham said. "But the connection (with the Dutch) is not such that it justifies taxpayers footing the bill. "How many other royals are on the public tit?" (AAP)