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Robert charged taxpayers for Qld mine trip

Australian Minister for Human Services Stuart Robert during Question Time at Parliament House on Monday. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Australian Minister for Human Services Stuart Robert during Question Time at Parliament House. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

SYDNEY –  [AAP] Dumped Liberal minister Stuart Robert reportedly spent more than $1600 of taxpayers money to fly to the opening of a north Queensland goldmine in which he and his family had bought shares.

Department of Finance documents show Mr Robert made claims on the public purse for return flights from Brisbane to Townsville on April 10, 2013, the day he visited the $200 million Mt Carlton mine of gold producer Evolution Mining, The Australian newspaper reports.

Mr Robert charged $1091 for the flights from Brisbane to Townsville and return to Brisbane and chalked up Comcar limousine charges of $205 and a further $376 travel allowance for a night in Brisbane before inspecting his private investment, the report said.

At the time he was opposition spokesman for defence, science technology and personnel, with no official role related to the mine, which he had bought shares in the previous year.

Mr Robert had close ties with one of Evolution Mining’s directors at the time, Paul Marks, who had more than six million shares in the company and funnelled large donations to the Liberal and Nationals parties, The Australian said.

Mr Robert last week quit the Turnbull government front bench after it was found he breached ministerial standards on a 2014 trip to China.

The opposition has asked the Australian Federal Police to investigate his interest in a company which signed a mining deal at a ceremony in Beijing which he attended.


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