In Question Time today, the Minister for Transport Jo Haylen repeatedly failed to confirm that she had complied with the NSW Ministerial Code of Conduct in respect to properties owned by her near the proposed Sydney Metro Southwest station in Marrickville.
Minister Haylen confirmed that property owners close to the Metro Southwest line will have an uplift in property values, and that she owns two properties that are 300 metres and 550 metres from the future Marrickville Metro Station on the Metro Southwest line.
When asked whether she had sought legal advice from the Department of Premier and Cabinet (as it then was) about whether she required an authorisation from the Premier to act on Metro Southwest despite her property interests, the Transport Minister appeared to imply that she had not.
Clause 10 of the Schedule to the NSW Ministerial Code of Conduct (Duty to disclose) states:
A Minister must promptly give notice to the Premier of any conflict of interest that arises in relation to any matter.
Such a notice must be given in respect of a matter even if:
the Minister has previously disclosed the relevant interest under Part 2 (Standing disclosures of interests) or under Part 3 (Conflicts of interest) in respect of a different matter, or
the Minister intends to divest themselves of the relevant interest prior to making a decision or taking action.
Clause 11 sets out formal requirements of giving notice under clause 10.
Whatever disclosure may have been made under subclause 10(2), the Minister appeared to indicate that she gave no notice under subclause 10(1).
The Premier took decisive action in relation to Tim Crakanthorp’s failure to disclose relevant interests, but so far not in relation to the Transport Minister’s failure.
The Transport Minister claims she has “rescued” the Metro Southwest. The Premier must explain to the people of NSW how the Transport Minister’s apparent conflict of interest through her property ownership is any different to Tim Crakanthorp’s.
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