Australia Post has reportedly spent more than $34,000 for its chief executive, Christine Holgate, to stay in a Melbourne hotel suite.
The Sydney resident, who recently agreed to stand aside during an investigation into AusPost spending, has regularly stayed at the Grand Hyatt hotel when visiting her organisation’s Melbourne office.
AusPost paid more than $34,000 for the accommodation between October 2017 and July 2018, according to The Australian, with the paper reporting Holgate had a “best room” rate at the hotel and had often been upgraded to its executive suite.
While the agency had initially only agreed to cover the costs for six months, the Remuneration Tribunal approved an additional three months of “accommodation support” at the request of Holgate. The approval was granted on the proviso that the initial six-month cap of $34,500 was not exceeded during the extended time.
Last week Holgate told Senate Estimates that AusPost spent $12,000 on Cartier watches for four of its senior employees in 2018, but that figure has since been corrected.
In a statement on Friday, AusPost chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo revealed, “as a matter of urgency”, that the four watches actually cost $7000, $4750, $4400 and $3800, totalling $19,950.
The revelations prompted a probe into the agency, during which Holgate was asked to stand aside.
The government released the terms of references for the investigation on Monday. It will be conducted by the Department of Finance and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, with the support of an unnamed external law firm.
A report is expected to be provided within four weeks of the investigation’s commencement.