The NSW premier has initiated his own review of the process that led to former deputy premier John Barilaro being appointed to a coveted taxpayer-funded posting in New York City.
Dominic Perrottet says the results of his own review, which will be conducted alongside an upper house inquiry, will be made public.
“I’ve directed the secretary the Department of Premier and Cabinet (Michael Coutts-Trotter) to conduct a review,” the premier told reporters on Thursday.
“He will provide that report to me.
“I will review it and I will make it public.”
The government announced on Friday that Mr Barilaro had been appointed the state’s senior trade and investment commissioner to the Americas, a role the ex-Nationals leader created while trade minister.
The premier and Investment Minister Stuart Ayres on Wednesday insisted the appointment had occurred through an “independent process”.
Both singled out Amy Brown, the former secretary of the premier’s department and now the CEO of Investment NSW, as the ultimate decision maker.
Ms Brown reported to Mr Barilaro when he was the minister responsible for the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade.
The premier said the initial recruitment phase was derailed when Ms Brown said no candidate had been found.
A second appointment process then began, which led to Ms Brown choosing Mr Barilaro for the role, Mr Perrottet said.
Mr Ayres said during Question Time on Wednesday that the role was publicly advertised and Mr Barilaro applied as a private citizen.
“His application was not solicited by me as the minister or by Investment NSW,” Mr Ayres said.
He told the premier and Deputy Premier Paul Toole of the secretary’s recommendation to hire Mr Barilaro on April 30.
Mr Ayres said he did not intervene in Mr Barilaro’s appointment because it occurred after an “independent, open, merit-based recruitment process” that recommended a “qualified, suitable candidate”.
“I reject in the strongest possible terms that the appointment of Mr Barilaro, as quoted in some media outlets, was a ‘captain’s pick’ or a unilateral decision by me or any other minister.”
He said the decision was not required to go to cabinet.
Labor upper house leader Penny Sharpe said Mr Perrottet and Mr Ayres recommended the approval and bypassed the cabinet to avoid feedback from their cabinet colleagues.
A motion passed the upper house on Wednesday temporarily blocking Mr Barilaro from taking the role until a parliamentary inquiry scrutinises the process.
Documents reveal four people were considered for the New York-based role during the recruitment process, and two were shortlisted.
One applicant, Jenny West, was told in August by then-premier Gladys Berejiklian she had the job, The Guardian reported.
She was later told the offer had been rescinded and was paid a substantial settlement, it said.
Mr Barilaro resigned from parliament the following month.
Mr Perrottet disputed claims Ms West was offered the role, but said he would “get that clarified”.
He denied Mr Barilaro’s appointment was “a captain’s pick”.
“These were public service decisions through an independent process.”
The premier told ABC radio on Wednesday he would take action if there “were not good reasons” behind the decision to appoint Mr Barilaro.
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