More Turf Club questions

1 October 2019

Chief Minister Michael Gunner must come clean on how big a role the Northern Territory Government played in the decision to hire a company connected to the Darwin Turf Club’s chairman.

Opposition Leader Gary Higgins said there had been no word from the Chief Minister on a Northern Territory Government representative sitting on the tender selection panel to spend $12m of taxpayers’ money.

"What did Michael Gunner know, and when did he know it? What does he have to hide?" Mr Higgins said.

"The Chief’s own department was represented through the tendering process so it’s hard to believe him when he said government played no part in it.

"Either we can’t trust him and he’s being misleading, or he has no idea what’s going on in his own Government."

A message from the Darwin Turf Club board to members stated the tender decision was made by a five-member majority independent panel which included a NTG representative.

"This is the first we’ve heard of a Government representative being part of this decision-making process," Mr Higgins said.

"Mr Gunner has said all along the Government has stayed at arm’s length from this tender process but how can that be if there was a representative from his Department of Trade, Business and Innovation sitting on the selection panel?

"Who was the NTG representative? How did they vote? When was the Chief Minister made aware of the NTG representative’s position?"

Mr Higgins said the whole situation did not pass the pub test.

"We heard MLA Kate Warden say last Friday that the whole tender process needed to be done again," he said.

"What is the Chief Minister’s view on her statement? Does he even speak to his own backbenchers?

"This Gunner Labor Government can’t be trusted and they can’t get anything right.

"They just don’t know how to govern."