Brown admits Ayres influenced her decision but says it was not undue

By Anna Macdonald

August 3, 2022

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

Investment NSW CEO Amy Brown has appeared for the second time in front of the upper house inquiry into the appointment of John Barilaro to senior trade and investment commissioner (STIC) to the Americas.

In her opening statement, Brown said she had spoken to now former NSW minister for enterprise, investment and trade Stuart Ayres about the role, saying it is customary for “high profile external facing Band 3 senior executive roles”.

“Any conversations I had with minister Ayres were, therefore — to a degree — influential on my decision but, in my view, it did not amount to undue influence because at all times, I felt the decision was mine, ultimately mine to make,” Brown stated. 

Brown repeated she remained the sole decision-maker on Barilaro’s appointment, and that she did not find her former deputy secretary, Jenny West, to be a suitable candidate following concerns over her performance. 

“I share the committee’s disappointment that the in camera evidence I gave was disclosed to the media. That evidence was sensitive and my intention was to protect the professional reputation of the individuals discussed,” Brown added. 

Brown appeared this morning as it was announced by NSW premier Dominic Perrottet the resignation of Ayres.

Perrottet said he based his decision on a draft of the review he asked for — conducted by former NSW public service commissioner Graeme Head — which is a separate inquiry to the one being conducted by the upper house committee. 

In West’s previous evidence to the committee, she had stated she received no negative feedback on her performance during her time as a public servant. 

The start of the hearing was delayed due to this morning’s news. 

Chair of the committee and Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, prior to the hearing, said the news raises serious questions.

The upper house inquiry has also sent a transcript of former public servant Jenny West’s evidence to NSW ICAC.


READ MORE:

Ayres resigns over Barilaro scandal, second NSW minister in days

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