Sussan Ley, Australia's Minister for Sport, speaks during a media conference in Sydney, Australia, July 25, 2016. Reuters/David Gray

Health Minister Sussan Ley spent $12,000 on a private jet to fly for a conference from Canberra to Gold Coast in March 2016 as commercial flight was deemed not suitable.

Documents released under Freedom of Information laws have recently revealed that the Malcolm Turnbull government minister along with her adviser took a private RAAF plane from Canberra to Queensland (costing $12,000) in order to attend a Pharmacy Guild conference. It is reported that the same would have cost $400 in economy class or $1,200 in business class of a commercial flight.

Five aircrafts, including two 737 BBJ Boeing business jets and three CL-604 Challengers, have been made available for the Prime Minister, senior politicians as well as other dignitaries. These aircrafts can be used by them only when commercial options are not deemed viable, considering the time of arrival.

Ley’s spokesperson stated that the travel was undertaken keeping in mind the rules. She said that commercial fights were unsuitable for Ley because of her tight schedule.

“Before Minister Ley departed Canberra, she was required to attend another ministerial portfolio commitment that morning which had been called at short notice. This meant any commercial flights out of Canberra on that day would have had Minister Ley arrive into Coolangatta after her scheduled commitment with the Pharmacy Guild was due to commence,” she said.

She added that it was necessary for Ley to fly through a private jet and spend the amount on the same. Furthermore, she said that it was important for her to return to Canberra for Parliament sitting. Ley had already missed the question and answer part

and the final afternoon of the autumn session. Hence, it was imperative for her to attend this one.

During the conference, Sussan Ley had announced $50 million trial program, which was targeted for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ medication management, diabetes screening as well as improved medications plans for patients.