14 February 2024

NT Government takes next step in ministerial conflict of interest review after chief's resignation

| James Day
Start the conversation
Natasha walking out of her electoral office in Nightcliff.

Following her resignation as chief minister, Natasha Fyles moved to the backbench and continued her role as Member for Nightcliff. Photo: @natashafylesmla.

In the wake of former Chief Minister Natasha Fyles’ resignation, the Northern Territory Government has released the terms of reference for its review of the Ministerial conflict of interest controls.

Last year the Member for Nightcliff came under widespread scrutiny over her failure to disclose multiple shareholdings in the resources industry.

READ ALSO NT Chief Minister announces plan to curb youth crime, support victims

After revelations came to light in November that Ms Fyles had not reported her $5400 of holdings in Woodside gas company, she divested her financial interests in line with NT’s legislated requirements.

Despite repeatedly declaring that she’d reported all her financial interests, she was later referred to the Territory’s anti-corruption watchdog for it and her political adviser’s gas lobbying ties.

However it wasn’t until her 754 shares in South 32 were found that she made the decision to pass on the mantle of Chief Minister and move to the backbench with her deputy Nicole Manison.

While the shares were only valued at just under $2500, South 32 own a manganese mine on Groote Eylandt. Early last year in her capacity as Health Minister, she said the government would not investigate air pollution levels or health impacts on site, despite community members having called for such tests to be done over many years.

After the Member for Drysdale Eva Lawler was sworn in as the NT’s 13th Chief Minister, she announced the government would complete a review of interest controls. This week Ms Lawler announced the government had released its terms of reference for the review.

“We are reviewing the way Ministerial conflict of interests and declarations are registered and published in the interest of transparency and integrity,” said Ms Lawler. “It is important that we continue to stay transparent and agile.”

READ ALSO Employers say they could be fined $18,000 under ‘botched’ right-to-disconnect legislation

The review will examine current practices and their adequacy, making recommendations to strengthen corporate policy, practice and procedures so the controls affecting all members of Parliament, local government elected officials and public officers are robust.

Retired CEO of the Department of Corporate and Digital Development Kathleen Robinson is leading the review and reporting to CEO of the Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet. The expert in NT Government corporate governance may engage future improvements or actions on the terms of reference, but they will be at a later stage.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.