John Barilaro’s recent appointment as senior trade and investment commissioner to the Americas reportedly came after the position was offered to senior public servant Jenny West.
According to The Guardian, West was offered the role in August only to have the offer rescinded in September by then-premier Gladys Berejiklian.
As per her LinkedIn profile, West has held positions such as deputy secretary, trade & international Global NSW as well as head of trade & investment and general manager digital innovation & client services at Austrade. She has also held roles in the private sector at Telstra as the NSW-ACT director of Telstra Country Wide and at Westpac as head of migrant & expatriate banking.
Leader of the opposition in the upper house Penny Sharpe has said Labor will ask for Barilaro’s appointment to not be in effect until the Public Accountability Committee has held an inquiry and reported to parliament.
On a similar note, NSW Labor leader Chris Minns has publicly criticised the news.
“[Barilaro] set up and created this position,” Minns said on ABC News Breakfast, “It’s never existed before. He’ll be the first person appointed and he’s responsible for creating it. We want the position put on hold.”
“It was supposed to be a global search for talent,” he continued, “And yet we’re expected to believe that out of everyone in the entire world to represent the interests in this state the person they picked just happened to be their very good friend and former deputy premier.”
Minns said the inquiry would look into who appointed Barilaro to the position.
NSW premier Dominic Perrottet has defended the appointment during Question Time on Tuesday.
“This appointment was not a statutory appointment. This appointment was a public service appointment. A recruitment process was undertaken by Investment NSW with a global recruiting company that made a recommendation — as it has for all the other trade commissioners.
“It is not a statutory appointment; it is a public service appointment. That decision was made by the public service,” the premier said.