The Northern Territory has less than a quarter million residents. Meaning that $10 million of taxpayer money is a big deal. Especially when the government invests it into a doomed company.
The NT’s now-defunct Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) signed a $10 million grant to NT Beverages, a Darwin bottled water company. This is despite the producer being grossly in debt and on the edge of collapse.
In parliament, Robyn Lambley, the Independent MP and former NT Treasurer, has accused the NT Labor government of ‘corruption and collusion’ concerning the grant, AAP reports.
The doomed company
According to AAP, the company went into voluntary administration in December.
NT Beverages also owes money to government creditors. How much? Close to $500,000 more.
Two years after the company was set up with the money from the $200,000 million public insurer TIO, this was the only investment IDF made before being disbanded towards the end of 2018.
Ms Lambley claims that Territorians deserve an explanation as to why the IDF have decided to make such a poor investment.
The IDF was overseen by Treasurer Nicole Manison and on its board was head public servant Jodie Ryan, before its disbandment.
Ms Lambley said:
‘The Gunner government ruled out referring the matter for investigation…
‘To me that sounds like collusion, perhaps corruption, it sounds like it could be misconduct, it sounds like it could be unsatisfactory conduct.’
The MP also stated that the Office of the Independent Commission against Corruption could investigate the matter.
This is because the office’s criterion includes corrupt conduct, misconduct and unsatisfactory conduct.
This week will hold the first sitting of parliament in the NT since it booted three of its Labor MPs and announced its awful budget situation. It is expected that it will be a hostile parliament for the NT government.
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