Minns sacks minister from cabinet for ‘conflict of interest over family holdings’

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Minns sacks minister from cabinet for ‘conflict of interest over family holdings’

By Max Maddison, Michael McGowan and Carrie Fellner

NSW Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Minister Tim Crakanthorp has been sacked and referred to the corruption watchdog for a significant breach of the ministerial code after he failed to disclose “substantial” private family holdings.

In a hastily convened media conference on Wednesday afternoon, Premier Chris Minns said he asked Crakanthorp for his resignation after he became aware earlier in the day that the Newcastle MP and Minister for the Hunter had breached the ministerial code.

“As a result of that conversation, I’ve asked him to resign his commission as a minister, and he has agreed to do that,” Minns said.

“I’ve lost confidence in his ability to be a minister in my government.”

Significant commercial property assets in the Hunter region are held by members of Crakanthorp’s family, including his wife Laura and his father-in-law Joe Manitta, and Minns said he had personally been made aware of the holdings this week.


“I can’t give you a number, but obviously more than a couple [of properties],” he said in response to a question about the extent of the property portfolio.

Documents filed with the corporate regulator and obtained by the Herald show Crakanthorp’s wife, Lara Yvette Crakanthorp, 52, changed her first name to Laura in 2021.

An ABN was also transferred from the name Lara Crakanthorp to Laura Crakanthorp in the same year.


Laura Crakanthorp subsequently purchased a Newcastle property under her new name in February this year from her father, Joe Manitta, for $1.25 million, land title documents show.

The commercial property at 30 Broadmeadow Road, Broadmeadow, is leased by a smash repairs business and a tow truck company.

Chris Minns announced that Tim Crakanthorp would resign over private family holdings.

Chris Minns announced that Tim Crakanthorp would resign over private family holdings.Credit: Kate Geraghty

The property is on the same road as other significant commercial landholdings belonging to a company owned and controlled by Joe Manitta and his wife Santina.

Joe Manitta, who has significant land holdings throughout Newcastle, did not return the Herald’s calls on Wednesday night.

In 2014 Crakanthorp came under fire over plans for a road bypass near the city’s rail corridor which would require purchasing land owned by Manitta. At the time Crakanthorp said he had disclosed that link while a city councillor.

But Manitta also owns land in Broadmeadow through business holdings close to the property he sold to his daughter in 2021.

The mostly industrial land in Broadmeadow – a suburb in Newcastle’s west – is part of a significant planned residential housing redevelopment.

Sources told the Herald on Wednesday that major landholders in the area have been in discussions with the Department of Planning about a potential sale to make way for new housing.

Minns said that he was unaware of any personal benefits Crakanthorp or his family might have attained.

“But I do have concerns about potentially acting as Minister for the Hunter given the scale and size of the private holdings held by his family in the Hunter region,” Minns said.

In a statement, Crakanthorp said he “self-reported” the breach of the ministerial code of conduct, saying he would continue as the member for Newcastle.

“I am disappointed. This is not what we want.“: NSW Premier Chris Minns announces the sacking of Crakanthorp.

“I am disappointed. This is not what we want.“: NSW Premier Chris Minns announces the sacking of Crakanthorp.Credit: Dion Georgopoulos

Crakanthorp would be forced step aside from the government party room if the Independent Commission Against Corruption decided to investigate the allegations of misconduct, Minns said.

Labor MPs who spoke on the condition of anonymity said incoming ministers had been given extensive briefings on their disclosure obligations after they were sworn in, with the expectations of disclosing family holdings made clear.

Opposition Leader Mark Speakman called for Minns to release the details around Crakanthorp’s sacking, particularly if there were any conflicts of interest related to his familial property holdings and his ministerial decisions.

“We know from experience that those referrals and ICAC investigations can take a considerable time. It’s in the public interest to know immediately what are the effective decisions and what the premier proposes to do about them,” Speakman said.

Minns said he was “disappointed” by having to sack a minister so early into his government’s four-year term, saying the breach of the ministerial code conflicted with the undertaking he gave to the NSW public.


“Obviously, we were elected not long ago with a promise to restore trust and integrity to public matters and public life breaches of the ministerial code in this manner, are a clear breach of that undertaking,” he said.

Crakanthorp becomes the first minister in the Minns government to lose their job, just four months after Labor came to power.

Minns said Crakanthorp’s failure to disclose the property holdings “has also given rise to concerns that he may have acted in matters in which he had a conflict between his public duties and private interests of members of his family”.

“I am disappointed. This is not what we want. We want to have a cabinet that the people of NSW can trust in and have faith in.”

But the premier said this case was a “clear breach” of the ministerial standards and consequently, he had to take immediate action.

Deputy Premier and Education Minister Prue Car will assume Crakanthorp’s education-related responsibilities, while Police Minister Yasmin Catley will take on the Hunter portfolio, both on an interim basis.

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