Embattled former NSW minister John Sidoti has moved to the cross bench after the state's corruption watchdog announced it would hold a public inquiry into his property dealings.
Mr Sidoti stood aside as sports minister in 2019 after the Independent Commission Against Corruption began investigating his property interests in Five Dock, near a future metro site.
He resigned from the Berejiklian government cabinet on Wednesday after being told he faces a grilling before ICAC later this month.
He then also withdrew from the Liberal party room, citing the allegations as a distraction for his colleagues.
"I have decided to voluntarily remove myself from the Liberal party room, and sit on the cross bench, for the duration of the ICAC investigation," he said in a statement.
"I look forward to returning to it after my name has been cleared."
Mr Sidoti said he "absolutely rejects the allegations", and had always acted with integrity and honour.
ICAC says it will conduct a four-week public hearing to probe allegations Mr Sidoti improperly advanced developments around Five Dock, in his inner western Sydney electorate of Drummoyne, between 2011 and 2018.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she had spoken to Mr Sidoti on Wednesday morning.
"He has offered me his resignation from the ministry. It means that Dr (Geoff) Lee will continue to act in those portfolios," she told reporters on Wednesday."
ICAC says it is investigating allegations "Mr Sidoti improperly influenced another person, or persons, to dishonestly or partially exercise any of their official functions" to advance developments by rezoning land.
The corruption watchdog will also examine whether, between June 2011 and June 2019, "Mr Sidoti engaged in a breach of public trust by failing to make a number of pecuniary interest disclosures" that he's obliged to under parliament's code of conduct for MPs and ministers.
Chief Commissioner Peter Hall will preside at the public inquiry and counsel assisting the commission will be Rob Ranken. The inquiry will begin on March 29.
News of the hearing comes a day after ICAC announced it was extending its investigation into Daryl Maguire, the former Wagga Wagga Liberal MP and ex-boyfriend of Ms Berejiklian.
In hearings last year, Mr Maguire confessed to running a "cash for visa" scam and seeking payment for brokering property deals while he was an MP.
In evidence which rocked the government, Ms Berejiklian told ICAC she had been in a secret relationship with Mr Maguire for five years since 2015.
The premier is not accused of any impropriety.
Australian Associated Press