Tasmanian’s newly appointed mining minister, Adam Brooks, has rejected conflict of interest claims made against him by the state opposition.
Yesterday Tasmania’s Labor leader Bryan Green stated Brooks role as the state’s mining minister may be untenable due to the fact Brooks retained his position as the sole shareholder of a large mining services business, creating a direct conflict of interest.
Brooks was the founder of resources services company Maintenance Systems Solutions (MSS), and resigned from the business initially in 2012; however he stepped back into the role in 2015 during his time as parliamentary secretary for small business and trade.
“Minister Brooks remains the sole shareholder of the company, despite assurances from the Premier that Mr Brooks would divest himself all business interests,” Labor said in an official statement.
“Was the premier aware that Adam Brooks again became a director of Maintenance Systems Solutions while he was the parliamentary secretary for trade?” Green asked.
“Adam Brooks resigned as a director when he was in opposition, citing a conflict of interest, but quietly reappointed himself in Government and remains the sole shareholder as Tasmania’s mining minister.
Green went on to question Brooks actions during recent trade missions, asking: “Who did Mr Brooks meet with during his trade mission to China? The trip’s itinerary states that on March 31, 2015 the premier and Brooks met with unidentified senior mining industry representatives in Shanghai.
“Brooks refused to answer whether he had interactions with any companies with commercial relationships or dealings with MSS or its international subsidiaries.”
Brooks outright rejected these claims as “smear and innuendo”, explaining an in official statement, “On becoming Minister, I resigned my directorship as is required under the Ministerial Code of Conduct.”
According to Tasmania’s Mercury, Brooks began to divest his interesting in MSS upon his appointment as mining minister.
“I’ve appointed an independent agent and asked them to conduct that process … in the interim protocols are in place,” he told the Mercury.
“As the Premier announced on February 18 this year, I have resigned all my relevant directorships, I have commenced the process of divestment and, in the meantime, a six-point protocol developed in consultation with the Solicitor-General has been implemented to ensure the highest levels of propriety,” Brooks said in an official statement.
“In addition, prior to handing over management of the company to an independent agent, I can confirm Maintenance System Solutions (MSS) was not doing any business with mining companies in Tasmania.
“Prior to resigning my role as director, I renewed the direction already given to MSS that it not undertake any activities associated with mining companies in Tasmania.
Brooks also slammed Tasmania’s Labor leader, and former resources minister himself, Bryan Green, stating “Green has a pathological dislike for anyone who succeeds in business”.
“Green has produced not a single shred of evidence to support his claims. It’s just smear and innuendo.”
He went on to state: “It might surprise Mr Green, but you can’t simply divest a company that supports more than 100 families overnight.”
Brooks proceeded to take another swipe at Green, referring to his own legal issues, adding “it’s very easy to make allegations without any evidence; you would have thought someone who was twice found not innocent by a court would think twice before making such baseless claims”.