Barilaro’s appointment faces two probes



The appointment of former Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro of NSW to an overseas post he created which would earn him more money than the Prime Minister will be considered at a parliamentary inquiry next week.

The upper house’s public accountability committee will examine the circumstances that led to Mr. Barilaro’s appointment as chief trade and investment commissioner for the Americas.

He will review the process, the probity and integrity measures taken and any other issues relating to his appointment.

The first hearing is due to take place next week.

Mr Barilaro has been barred from starting the role until the investigation is complete.

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The inquiry will take place separately from a review led by Secretary to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Michael Coutts-Trotter, with a report delivered to Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet.

“I will look into it and I will make it public,” Mr. Perrottet said on Thursday.

The prime minister and senior government ministers have defended Mr Barilaro’s appointment following an independent process, with Mr Perrottet telling parliament on Wednesday that it would have been illegal for him to intervene.

Mr. Perrottet said he was informed that a first recruitment process did not identify a suitable candidate and that a second was undertaken, led by a third-party recruiter.

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The Opposition told parliament the role was offered to former NSW assistant secretary for trade and international affairs, Jenny West, but the offer was rescinded and she received a settlement.

Mr Perrottet said the decision was made by Investment NSW managing director Amy Brown, who previously reported to Mr Barilaro.

Labor leader Chris Minns described the boondoggle as “farce after farce”, lambasting the prime minister for suggesting a review process for the appointment was an adequate measure.

“A review is something you give to a movie. We need an investigation,” he said.

“We need to understand exactly how Mr. Barilaro was appointed to this position. It’s not the NSW government’s gift, it’s taxpayers’ funds.

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Mr Minns pointed out that the sizeable package of $500,000 plus $100,000 in moving costs warranted a transparent explanation to taxpayers from the government.

“He doesn’t pass the sniff test. It is public money. We have to get to the bottom of how it was named,” he said.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann will chair the inquiry with Shooters, Fishermen and Farmers MP Robert Borsak as deputy.

Three members of the government and two of the Labor opposition will also be part of the committee.



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