NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has directed the secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet to conduct a review into the appointment of John Barilaro as a New York-based trade commissioner.
On Thursday, Perrottet said he had tasked Michael Coutts-Trotter with completing the review into the circumstances that led to the former deputy premier’s appointment to the $500,000-a-year job.
“He will provide that report to me. I will review it and I will make it public,” the premier said.
Liberal ministers and backbenchers remain angry that the job had been handed to the former deputy premier six months after he quit state politics, and question why the decision did not go to cabinet for approval.
The government maintains the position should not have gone to cabinet because it needed to remain independent of the process.
A 2021 selection panel shortlisted four candidates, with claims one NSW bureaucrat was even offered the position before it was rescinded later that year.
On Wednesday, Perrottet moved to distance himself from the decision and shifted focus towards the senior public servant he said was ultimately responsible for the appointment, Amy Brown.
The Herald revealed on Tuesday the government drew up the candidate shortlist for the job last May, but the role was ultimately readvertised and handed to Barilaro months after his resignation from parliament.
A former senior member of Investment NSW, who is not authorised to speak publicly, said staff across the agency at the time were advised that Investment NSW deputy secretary Jenny West was the preferred candidate.