Australia

Federal MP Stuart Robert sent $38,000 bill for high data charges

Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert conceded his home internet bills are "much higher than what our community expects" from a politician. Source: AAP

Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert has been invoiced almost $38,000 by the government for excess data charges.

The federal government has sent Stuart Robert a bill for almost $38,000 after it was revealed the Assistant Treasurer racked up more than $1000 a month for data at his Gold Coast home since 2016.

Special Minister of State Alex Hawke said he had been advised the Finance Department signed off on Mr Robert's internet connection in accordance with remuneration arrangements for Senators and Members set out in the Remuneration Tribunal Determination. 

"Due to the location of his residence, Mr Robert was only able to access mobile broadband services with limited monthly download capabilities," Mr Hawke said in a statement on Friday.

Member for Mitchell Alex Hawke.
Member for Mitchell Alex Hawke was appointed by the PM to scrutinise Mr Robert's $90-a-day data bills.
AAP

Despite the plan being approved, the high excess data charges had "understandably caused concern", Mr Hawke added.

Mr Robert conceded that the costs were much higher than anticipated and higher than what the community expects.

On Friday, he wrote on Twitter, after his colleague issued a media release, that he had paid $37,975, which reflected excess usage charges beyond those covered under the plan.

The minister is currently in the process of moving to a new service plan now that the NBN has become available in Mr Robert's area of residence.

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