Findings of corruption, misconduct, unsatisfactory conduct, breaches of public trust, failure to manage conflicts of interest, mismanagement of public resources and detriment to the public interest have been made following an OICAC investigation into the Northern Territory Government’s award of a $12 million grandstand grant to the Darwin Turf Club (DTC) in June 2019.
Commissioner Ken Fleming QC found that Darwin Turf Club’s submission for funding—when it was finally made after three years of lobbying—was not based on a costing and was supported by so-called economic benefits and employment creation that had no justification in fact.
Commissioner Fleming found that both the Chairman, Brett Dixon, and the Board of the Darwin Turf Club failed to declare and manage conflicts of interest in the process leading to the award of the contract to construct the grandstand to one of Mr Dixon’s companies, Jaytex Pty Ltd, in August 2019.
He also found that the Darwin Turf Club Board breached its obligations under its funding agreement with the NT Government, which was executed by Mr Dixon on behalf of the DTC, by failing to disclose a conflict of interest which meant that an NT Government investigation into potential breaches of the grant agreement was thwarted.
Commissioner Fleming said his investigation was exhaustive, took over a year, and involved 54 directions not to disclose information, 34 notices to produce items or information, 28 examinations, one notice to inspect financial records, over 50GB of data, the analysis of over 15,000 documents and other items of evidence.
The report makes 18 recommendations, relating to the governance of the DTC and associations, lobbying, ministerial and departmental policy, and grants policies and evaluation.
Download the report here