NSW Premier defends Barilaro’s appointment as US trade envoy amid claims of ‘jobs for


The appointment of former deputy premier John Barilaro as NSW trade commissioner to the US has been defended by the Premier amid criticism it is another case of “jobs for mates”.

Mr Barilaro’s new role was announced on Friday and came after a “rigorous global talent search” by recruitment firm NGS Global, according to a statement by the state government.

His posting is among six trade posts around the world tasked with spruiking the state’s investment opportunities and local businesses— at a cost of about $55 million according to NSW Labor.

Leader Chris Minns was quick to criticise the decision, branding it a “$400,000-a-year job for a friend”.

Earlier on Saturday, Premier Dominic Perrottet said the former Nationals leader was the best person for the job.

“It doesn’t come as any surprise to me that the independent process that occurred, that he was by far the most outstanding candidate,” he said.

“And recommended by that panel to the government and I’m sure he will do a brilliant job.”

Mr Barilaro, who resigned late last year just days after former premier Gladys Berejiklian, played a role in setting up international trade initiative Global NSW.

a man wearing glasses talking
The Premier says Mr Barilaro will do a “brilliant job” as the state’s trade envoy to the Americas.  (ABC News)

It was this experience and his skill set that Mr Perrottet said would make him a strong advocate for the state — at a time when it needed to be more “aggressive”.

“When I went to London in my former role as treasurer … we weren’t at the back of the room. We weren’t even in the room when it came to driving investment into our state,” he said.

“The deputy premier in his former role was instrumental in setting that up and our direction going forward.”

Mr Minns found the announcement “perplexing” from a government committed to change and proclaiming it was not stale after 11 years in power.

“The same old Liberal Party and the National Party jobs for the boys, jobs for the mates, looking after their own before the interests of the people of New South Wales,” he said.

“We’re genuinely expected to believe that a global search took place, effectively bringing in people from around the world to determine who’s best to represent the interests of this state and the answer all along was John Barilaro?”

a man looking and standing outdoors
Mr Minns says the appointment is another example of the government putting the interests of their mates first.(ABC News)

He also said a government seeking another term in office needed to do better given the current climate of inflation, staff shortages and concerns over wages. 

“Teachers or nurses are leaving the profession in droves because they’ve been told repeatedly by the Premier of New South Wales that there isn’t enough money to … make life a little easier on the frontline of our public services.,” Mr Minns said.

“And yet there’s more than enough money to make sure that jobs are available for friends of Mr Perrottet.” 

In accepting his appointment, Mr Barilaro — who recently settled his defamation case against Google — said he would continue to build on what had already been achieved.

“I’m looking forward to supporting NSW companies to export and expand to the United States,” he said.

“Including the many fintech, cyber security, space, health and food and beverage companies. 

“We are already helping to succeed in the US through the Going Global Export Program.”

Former national chief executive of the Australia-China Business Council Helen Sawczak was also appointed to the role of Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to Greater China.

It is expected Mr Barilaro and Ms Sawczak will relocate to commence their new jobs in the coming months.

Posted , updated 


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