The Northern Territory's corruption court has called for enhanced scrutiny of politicians' travel expenses during election campaigns. 

A report has been released after former chief minister Michael Gunner's flights to remote communities before the 2020 NT election cost taxpayers $14,000.

The ICAC's report, released this week (PDF), suggests that political staffers should maintain records of campaign activities to ensure they are not paid by the NT government for political work. 

The report highlights several charter flights taken by Mr Gunner in mid-August 2020, coinciding with visits from NT Electoral Commission mobile polling stations. 

Mr Gunner attended polling booths, recorded promotional videos, and engaged with community members about COVID-19 during these trips, which totalled $14,100. 

ICAC noted that the travel had a “dual purpose”, primarily for political campaigning but with a “hint or suggestion” of public purpose  .

No adverse findings were made, but the ICAC recommended that all politicians keep detailed records of travel during caretaker periods. 

Additionally, all staff within a politician's office should complete timesheets before general elections to distinguish between public duties and political activities. This recommendation aims to prevent misuse of public funds and ensure transparency  .

Chief Minister Eva Lawler welcomed the report and its recommendations, stating they align with the updated compulsory ministerial staff guidelines implemented in March. 

However, independent MLA Robyn Lambley expressed disappointment over the lack of misconduct findings, criticising the ICAC for missing an opportunity to address what she considered misuse of public funds during the caretaker period. 

She called for an inquiry after the upcoming NT election in August to evaluate the ICAC's effectiveness.