The Northern Territory’s Deputy Chief Minister, Chansey Paech, is standing firm and is resisting calls for his resignation after it was revealed that he invested in Metcash shares just months before advocating that alcohol restrictions in Aboriginal town camps should not be extended.

Paech, who is also the NT’s Attorney-General and Indigenous Affairs Minister, declared his shares in May 2022, Leader of the Opposition, Lia Finocchiaro MLA, questioned the timing of Paech’s investment.

“What we’re seeing here is a glaring confirmation of the ongoing issues surrounding Labor, integrity and accountability,” Finocchiaro said.  

“The timing of Mr. Paech’s investment happened while he was a Minister and coincides with the decision by Cabinet in which he sat, to allow the expiration of Stronger Futures.”

Chief Minister Eva Lawler defended her Deputy Chief Minister, saying: “He had Metcash shares and he declared his Metcash shares and he managed that conflict.

“Ministers manage their conflicts of interest around the shares that they hold and when he became Deputy Chief Minister he sold his shares.”

However, when questioned about whether Paech had declared any possible conflict of interest when the NT Cabinet discussed lifting the Stronger Futures alcohol ban in remote communities, Lawler said: “No, I did not ever hear him say that.” 

Paech has defended his position, saying that he fully supports and has always complied with the Ministerial Code of Conduct and the Legislative Assembly (Disclosure of Interests) Act.

“In 2022 I purchased 125 units of Metcash shares worth a total of $436,” he said in a statement.

“Ownership of these shares was publicly recorded on the Statement of Registrable Interests as required. I divested myself of these Metcash shares in late 2023.

“At no time have I been in a decision-making position on alcohol policy in the Northern Territory.

“My position on the Intervention and Stronger Futures laws in the Northern Territory has been on the record for many years. I do not support race-based policies and laws.

“It must be remembered the Intervention and Stronger Futures were not NT laws or policy. They were imposed by the Federal Government.

“My record speaks for itself.

“Metcash is a major national supplier to the grocery, hardware and liquor industry. The NT makes up about one per cent of the population of Australia. To suggest that any change in the laws of the NT could meaningfully impact the share price of Metcash, which could then have a personal benefit for me, is ridiculous.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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