Minister forced to repay birthday flight bill
State Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall has been forced to repay almost $1500 to the taxpayer after claiming a charter flight to his grandfather's 80th birthday party on parliamentary expenses.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal the Northern Tablelands Nationals MP incorrectly claimed the entire cost of a charter flight which took him from his home town of Armidale to Moree for parliamentary work, then to Gunnedah to attend his grandfather's celebrations.
Mr Marshall billed taxpayers for the cost of both legs - a total of $2918.19.
However, he was forced to repay the money relating to his personal travel - $1459.09 - after the charter flight was discovered by the Auditor General.
A spokesman for Mr Marshall said the entitlements claim was made in error, saying the MP only intended to claim the portion of the flight relating to his parliamentary duties in Moree.
He had intended to pay for the second leg of the June 22 2019 charter flight himself, the spokesman said.
Mr Marshall on Wednesday night apologised for claiming the flight in what he said was a "stupid and honest mistake".
"I took immediate action as soon as I found out I'd stuffed up by repaying the flight in full. I have also put in place extra measures to ensure mistakes like this do not occur ever again," he said.
The claim was discovered by the Auditor-General as part a yearly review into politicians' entitlements.
Neither the Auditor General or the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) named Mr Marshall as the MP responsible, but he owned up after enquiries from The Daily Telegraph.
The Auditor-General reviews entitlement claims each year to ensure compliance by investigating a sample of the state's 136 politicians. This year's report investigated 43 MPs, including Mr Marshall.
Originally published as Minister forced to repay birthday flight bill