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NT chief minister set to resign over shares, Middle Arm hub

David Prestipino -

Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles is expected to resign on Tuesday as pressure mounts on her following revelations she held undisclosed shares in a manganese mine.

The Labor leader has faced increased scrutiny after NT Independent reported she owned shares in South32, the company at the helm of a mine in the remote community of Groote Eylandt.

The shares Ms Fyles owns are worth less than $2500, and were listed in her name in 2015.

Last month, it emerged the chief minister owned shares in gas giant Woodside, which she later confirmed before assuring the public she had declared all her financial interests as per the NT government's disclosure of interest requirements.

Last week a political advisor to Ms Fyles was linked to a lobbyist firm that has at least one gas company as a client.

In May, Ms Fyles gave the green light for the proposed development of the Middle Arm precinct, a major processing hub for gas, petrochemicals, hydrogen and carbon capture.

She concurrently lifted the gas moratorium, despite opposition from environmentalists, some Traditional Owners, and farmers.

Earlier this year, Ms Fyles said the government would not investigate air pollution levels or health impacts at the Middle Arm hub, after concerns were raised over potential manganese dust leaks by the community and Traditional Owners.

Aboriginal leader and Larrakia Elder Eric Fejo last month said First Nations Traditional Owners in the area were insulted by the government's claim Middle Arm would address Indigenous issues in the NT.

"It's just laughable, do they seriously believe that?" he told AAP.

"They talk about building a petrochemical plant, ripping up our country, and then stand by insulting us saying it's going to benefit us.

"That's like saying we'll rip your veins out just to save your blood."

NT opposition leader Lia Finocchiaro said Ms Fyles' actions represented a "profound betrayal of public trust" and called on her to resign.

"If these reports of more secret shares are true, she has knowingly misled Territorians again and must go," she said on Monday.

Ms Fyles has also faced scrutiny from federal politicians lately, who questioned her potential conflicts of interest, in particular the NT government's rapid expansion of its gas industry.

The Senate has signalled it will investigate the proposed Middle Arm development on Darwin Harbour due to its potential environmental damage, with the Anthony Albanese's federal government under pressure to drop its $1.5 billion in financial support for the project.

Ms Fyles, whose office has been contacted for comment, is set to hold a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, with deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison tipped to replace her ahead of next year's territory elections.


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