The Hon. Alex Hawke MP
Special Minister of State
Date: Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Last week I instructed the Department of Finance to provide prompt advice to me regarding matters relating to the Hon Stuart Robert MP and his home internet connection.
The Department of Finance provided me with that advice this week noting that charges relating to home phone and internet services at a Member’s place of residence are provided under the remuneration arrangements for Senators and Members as set out in the Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/23: Members of Parliament.
The advice from the Department of Finance also noted that due to the location of his residence, Mr Robert was only able to access mobile broadband services with limited monthly download capabilities. The advice states that services through the National Broadband Network (NBN) have recently become available in Mr Robert’s area and that he is currently in the process of moving to a new service plan.
Whilst the Department of Finance approved the current internet solution, very high excess data charges have understandably caused concern. As Mr Robert acknowledged last week, the costs were much higher than anticipated and higher than what the community expects.
Mr Robert has volunteered to immediately repay a full amount that reflects excess usage charges beyond those covered under the plan. Accordingly, the Department of Finance advises me that an invoice for an amount which reflects excess usage charges beyond those covered under the plan has been sent to Mr Robert and that he will repay that amount in full immediately.
This action is appropriate and will ensure that Mr Robert continues to meet community expectations and standards.