Former NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has come under further fire over his “highly inappropriate” actions that saw his preferred candidate given a $600,000 government job without a “merit-based public sector recruitment process”.
The final report tabled by the upper house, investigated the appointment of Stephen Cartwright’s appointment as NSW Agent General to the United Kingdom and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner (STIC) to Israel and Europe in July 2021, including the involvement of then Deputy Premier, John Barilaro.
The controversial former Deputy Premier has been lashed for his “highly inappropriate” actions which saw the appointment of a $600k government job. Picture: Gaye Gerard/ NCA NewsWire
Committee Chair, Greens councillor Cate Faehrmann, said Mr Barilaro “inappropriately interfered” with the selection process for the UK job, which saw a “preferred candidate” dumped and replaced with Mr Cartwright.
“The committee’s inquiry revealed how Ministers inappropriately influenced the outcome of the STIC appointments and confirmed the Government’s lack of integrity and transparency in appointing who they want to high paying public service positions,” Ms Faehrmann wrote.
The committee also found Mr Cartwright acted “inappropriately” and “applied pressure to senior public servants” to increase his pay check.
Mr Barilaro was also criticised for asking Mr Cartwright’s salary expectations before he applied for the job, which the committee said “showed poor judgment” and was “highly inappropriate”.
The base salary of $600,000 was considerably higher than the average $450,000 salary and superannuation package given to similar trade commissioner roles.
The report found Mr Cartwright’s behaviour to be “inappropriate,” “concerning” and “resulted in a poor financial outcome for the state of NSW”.
The report said Premier Dominic Perrottet did not co-operate with the inquiry. Picture: NewsWire/ Monique Harmer
Among the report’s six findings was also criticism of the Premier’s “refusal to assist this inquiry,” which meant the committee was unable to “determine his role in the selection” of Mr Cartwright as the NSW Agent General UK.
When asked about the final report on Monday, the Premier said he didn’t believe Mr Barilaro “inappropriately interfered” in Mr Cartwright’s hiring process.
While the committee was chaired by Ms Faehrmann – a Greens councillor – and included members from the Liberal and National party, as well as two Labor councillors and member of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Mr Perrottet said the inquiry was an example of Labor “playing political games”.
In an interim report released earlier this month, the committee said Mr Barilaro’s $500,000 a year role as STIC to the Americas had all the markings of a “job for the boys,” and lacked transparency and integrity.
After the final report was tabled, the upper house probe recommended the Secretary of the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade to investigate whether Mr Cartwright did abide by the code-of-conduct.
Read related topics:Dominic Perrottet