Australia

Stuart Robert pays back $38,000 to cover internet bills

Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert has paid back nearly $38,000 to cover his unusually high internet bills.

It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison ordered an investigation last week into why Mr Robert had been slugging taxpayers up to $2,800 a month for internet at his home on Queensland's Gold Coast.

Parliamentarians' expense records showed Mr Robert charged taxpayers more than $11,000 for home data over a six-month period, which is an average of $1,846 a month for internet usage.

On Friday afternoon, Mr Robert announced he had repaid the money.

"Regarding internet expenditure – I've immediately repayed [sic] a full amount of $37,975 that reflects excess usage charges under the Finance Department's approved plan," he said.

External Link: Stuart Robert tweet: Regarding internet expenditure – Ive immediately repayed a full amount of $37,975 that reflects excess usage charges under the Finance Departments approved plan.

He had previously blamed "connectivity issues" at his home for the high cost.

"My family home is located a significant distance from the telephone exchange resulting in poor broadband internet connectivity," Mr Robert said in a statement last week.

"At the time a 4G home Wi-Fi internet connection was the only way to receive reliable and stable internet access.

"My internet, like many in semi-rural areas, was previously unreliable which interfered with my ability to perform my parliamentary and Ministerial duties."

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