Barilaro withdraws from STIC role with inquiries to continue

By Anna Macdonald

July 1, 2022

Amy Brown
Amy Brown. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

Amid two ongoing inquiries into how he was appointed to the role, former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro has withdrawn from the role of senior trade and investment commissioner (STIC) to the Americas.

In a statement, Barilaro said the amount of media scrutiny on his appointment had made his position untenable.

“I believe my appointment will continue to be a distraction and not allow this important role to achieve what it was designed to do, and thus my decision.

“I stress that I have always maintained that I followed the process and look forward to the results of the review,” Barilaro said. 

Investment NSW CEO Amy Brown, who appeared before an upper house inquiry this week answering questions about the appointment, issued a short statement saying she has been notified of Barilaro’s withdrawal.

“I request that his privacy be respected at this time,” Brown said, adding that with the reviews ongoing, it would be inappropriate to make further comment. 

NSW transport minister David Elliott previously called for Barilaro to resign, on Sky News. 

“I’d expect him to withdraw and do the honourable thing because quite clearly when you become the story over an appointment then the appointment might not be in the best interests of the people of NSW,” the Liberal minister said.

On Twitter, The Greens’ Cate Faehrmann — also chair of the NSW Legislative Council Inquiry — said Barilaro’s withdrawal will not halt the investigation.

“John Barilaro may have just announced he won’t be taking up the NY post after intense public pressure but that won’t stop the Public Accountability Committee getting to the bottom of what exactly went down within government with this role,” Fahrmann tweeted. 

The second investigation was set up by premier Dominic Perrottet, with former NSW public commissioner Graeme Head appointed by secretary of the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet Michael Coutts-Trotter to conduct the inquiry.

The saga began when Barilaro was announced to the role a couple of weeks ago, with a press release sent out on Friday afternoon. 

Since then, it has been revealed senior public servant Jenny West was verbally offered the position only to have it withdrawn

Brown also said during the hearing on Wednesday that Barilaro’s own office made inquiries into whether STIC appointments could be changed into ministerial appointments. As a result of a government decision, Brown rescinded the offer to West. 

The appointment process for the STIC roles never ended up changing to ministerial appointments, remaining as public service appointments. With the position readvertised in December, Barilaro applied in January.


READ MORE:

Barilaro’s office inquired if STIC apppointment could be ministerial

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