Australia Post spent $12,000 on Cartier watches for employees

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Australia Post purchased Cartier watches worth $3000 each for four of its senior employees as a reward for brokering an agreement with Australian banks.

Australia Post boss Christine Holgate was forced to reveal the gifts had been purchased in October 2018, as she was interrogated by a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday.

Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate defended the decision to buy four Cartier watches for employees as a reward for brokering a deal with Australian banks at a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

"There were a small number of senior people who put in an inordinate amount of work and they did receive a reward from the chair, myself, and on behalf of the board," Ms Holgate told the committee.

Asked by Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching what the reward was, Ms Holgate said: "They were a Cartier watch of a value of $3000 each".

Ms Holgate said the gifts were organised through her office for four employees who worked on the [email protected] deal with Commonwealth Bank, Westpac Bank, and the National Australia Bank to provide access to banking services at Australia post offices.

Australia Post's executive general manager for business, government and international Gary Starr, was one of the senior employees to rewarded with the gift.

Mr Starr, who was also called to give evidence to the hearing, told the committee he was not presently wearing the watch.

Ms Holgate defended the purchases, saying she had not used taxpayers money to buy the watches.

"We are a commercial organisation. It was a recommendation from our chair that these people get rewarded," Ms Holgate said.

Chief financial officer Rodney Boys told the hearing he did not know which corporate credit card was used to purchase the watches.

"I cannot [tell you], because I haven't had that question today. Australia Post has $7.4 billion worth of expenses. We look after those expenses and take great care of those expenses," Mr Boys said.

More to come

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