‘It was an error’: Northern Territory chief minister resigns after shares scandal

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Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles has resigned, saying her failure to disclose shares in a manganese mine was an unintentional, but unacceptable, lapse in judgment.

Fyles, 45, held a snap press conference in Darwin on Tuesday where she confirmed her intention to step down as chief minister and health minister eight months out from an election.

Natasha Fyles said she had made an oversight.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

She said she had made an oversight and did not declare a share parcel which came about after a BHP demerger.

“It was an error on my behalf and I don’t have any excuse for that. It was not deliberate, it was not intentional but it’s unacceptable” she told reporters.

“For this reason I feel the honourable action is to resign as chief minister.”

The former schoolteacher took over from outgoing Labor leader and Chief Minister Michael Gunner who resigned in 2022 after shepherding the NT through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her resignation comes less than 24 hours after it was revealed she holds undisclosed shares in South 32, which owns the GEMCO manganese mine in the remote community of Groote Eylandt.

Earlier this year, she said the government would not investigate air pollution levels or health impacts after residents raised concerns over manganese dust in the community.

Fyles has faced growing pressure in the last few months of her tenure, with the GEMCO revelations just the latest in a string of shares scandals.

It was an error on my behalf and I don’t have any excuse for that. It was not deliberate, it was not intentional but it’s unacceptable.

Fyles was forced to divest shares in Woodside, after media and federal politicians called into question potential conflicts of interest, in particular the government’s large-scale expansion of the NT gas industry.

Ms Fyles was referred to the NT’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption by an independent backbencher over potential conflicts of interest.

The party is deliberating over her replacement, tipped to be Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison.

Fyles will contest her seat of Nightcliff at the 2024 election.


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