08/12/2014 - 09:48

Nalder stripped of finance portfolio

08/12/2014 - 09:48

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Dean Nalder has been stripped of his finance portfolio as part of a cabinet reshuffle after conflict of interest controversies.

Nalder stripped of finance portfolio

Dean Nalder has been stripped of his finance portfolio as part of a cabinet reshuffle after conflict of interest controversies.

Mr Nalder retains the transport portfolio.

Premier Colin Barnett said Mr Nalder's departure from the Department of Finance would ensure there were no more potential or perceived conflicts of interest.

"I have asked Mr Nalder to address his obligations and responsibilities with respect to his investment interests in order to fully comply with the Ministerial Code of Conduct," Mr Barnett said.

"I am informed this process has already begun and Mr Nalder has divested himself of his interests in the Fleet Network." 

The reshuffle was prompted by the departure of Terry Waldron, whose racing and gaming portfolio has been handed to fellow National Colin Holt.

Mr Holt has also been made the minister for housing, a position previously held by Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion.

Mr Barnett said Mr Holt brought a good mix of talent to cabinet.

"He has a bachelor of science degree and during 14 years at the Department of Agriculture, developed a deep understanding of issues important to both city and regional Western Australia," he said.

Mr Marmion has taken the finance portfolio from Mr Nalder.

Other changes include Police and Women's Interests Minister Liza Harvey taking on the training and workforce development portfolio, Moore MLA Shane Love becoming parliamentary secretary to the minister for regional development and lands, while Deputy Premier Kim Hames will return to the tourism portfolio.

Dr Hames recently said he would retire from politics at the 2017 election, given Mr Barnett had told frontbenchers they would have to take a back seat up to a year before the next poll if they didn't plan to run again.

Mr Barnett said on Monday he didn't take the view Mr Nalder should lose his job, as demanded by the opposition.

But the 48 year old would suffer a loss of prestige from being stripped of the finance portfolio.

Mr Nalder initally came under fire amid reports he held a stake in Fleet Network, a company that leases cars to public servants through salary packaging arrangements.

Under the ministerial code of conduct, he was required to divest the interest within 60 days.

Further controversy occurred due to revelations his office nominated Darryll Ashworth, the chief executive of a property company in which Mr Nalder had invested $400,000, to attend a meeting with the Chinese consul-general in August.

Last week it emerged Mr Nalder had invested in a Cottesloe property with Paul Dion Thompson, a financial trader charged in April by a US federal grand jury with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

On the weekend, it was reported Mr Nalder's in-laws operate a trucking business set to benefit from the closure of large tracts of the state-owned grain rail network.

Mr Barnett ordered a review of Mr Nalder's disclosure of his financial interests, but came to the conclusion he had not sought to personally gain from his position as a minister.

Mr Nalder entered parliament after the March 2013 state election and succeeded Troy Buswell as transport minister a year later.

He gained finance after Mike Nahan took on Mr Buswell's role as treasurer.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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