Taxpayers billed for golf fees
Culturally appropriate: The DSD conducts its business meetings at clubs in Dubai. Picture: Supplied

WA taxpayers spent almost $10,000 on membership fees for exclusive golf and business clubs in Dubai last year as part of the State Government's "culturally appropriate" overseas trade strategy.

Documents tabled in Parliament shine a light on the little-known activities of WA's nine overseas offices operating under the Department of State Development's international trade and investment program.

The offices, with combined budgets of $7.5 million in 2013-14, are in Seoul, Jakarta, Singapore, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Mumbai, London, Tokyo and Dubai.

The biggest budgets are the London and Tokyo offices at $1.5 million each, followed by Dubai ($810,000), Mumbai ($773,000) and Singapore ($700,000). The two Chinese offices share a budget of $960,000.

Answers to Opposition questions reveal the offices retain membership to a range of clubs, including the Britain-Australia Society at $900 a year and its affiliate the Cook Society ($600) and the Tokyo American Club ($2500).

The Dubai office does things differently, spending $7800 in the year to April retaining membership to the city's Emirates Golf Club and $2000 on joining the Capital Club.

The Capital Club describes itself as "a contemporary setting for members to network professionally and socially".

Members are invited to "attend a wealth of social and business events, covering the arts, culture, media, cuisine, business and travel".

A Department of Premier and Cabinet spokesman said that rather than maintaining a large office in Dubai, the department retained a modest office so it could conduct business meetings at the clubs.

"This is the culturally appropriate thing to do in this foreign business environment," he said.

Emirates Golf Club has a course designed by British golfer Nick Faldo and an international championship course known as the Majlis, the "desert miracle".

The spokesman said WA's regional trade and investment director for the Middle East and Africa, Pankaj Savara, used both clubs' facilities for business meetings on average three to four times a month.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

More from The West