NSW minister sacked following workplace bullying allegations

By Anna Macdonald

August 1, 2022

Eleni Petinos
Minister for small business and fair trading Eleni Petinos. (AAP Image/Pool, Wolter Peeters)

NSW minister for small business and fair trading Eleni Petinos has been let go of her ministerial portfolio following allegations of workplace bullying.

In a short statement, Petinos said she was proud of the work she had achieved in her role as minister, calling small businesses the “lifeblood” of the state.

“The intense pressures and stresses of such important portfolios are significant for both staff and their Minister. I thank my staff for their efforts in supporting me to deliver for the people of NSW.

 “I would never intentionally offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable, and if I did I am truly sorry,” Petinos said.

She will continue as the member for Miranda. 

On Friday, an anonymous complaint from a staffer made allegations of workplace bullying by Petinos. Daily Mail via AAP reported Petinos used offensive language towards her staff. 

NSW premier Dominic Perrottet also put out a statement, saying he ended Petinos’ ministership following “futher matters” brought to his attention.

“In light of these matters, Ms Petinos’ service as a Minister will cease with immediate effect, and I will write to the Governor in this regard tomorrow,” the premier said on Sunday.

Minister for customer service and digital government Victor Dominello is assuming Petinos’ portfolio responsibilities. 

It is the latest scandal to hit the NSW government, as it grapples with the continuing fallout of former deputy premier John Barilaro’s appointment to senior trade and investment commissioner (STIC) to the Americas. 

Minister for enterprise, investment and trade Stuart Ayres made a lengthy post on Facebook, which can be read in full below, saying it is fundamental for the public service to be ‘apolitical and non-partisan’.

More hearings for the upper house inquiry into Barilaro’s appointment are happening this week, starting on Wednesday, August 3. 

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