The appointment of former deputy premier John Barillaro as NSW trade commissioner in the US has been defended by the premier amid criticism it is yet another case of “jobs for peers”.
- Recruitment firm NGS Global conducted selection process, says government
- Premier Dominic Perrot said Mr Barillaro’s role in founding Global NSW made him an ideal candidate
- Given the pressure on frontline workers, opposition leader questions its funding priorities
Mr Barillaro’s new role was announced on Friday and follows a “rigorous global talent search” by recruitment firm NGS Global, according to a statement from the state government.
His posting is one of six business positions around the world tasked with promoting the state’s investment opportunities and local businesses at a cost of approximately $55 million, according to NSW Labor.
Leader Chris Minnes was quick to criticize the decision, branding it a “$400,000-a-year job for a friend”.
Earlier on Saturday, Premier Dominic Perrot said the former national leader was the best person for the job.
“It comes as no surprise to me that the independent process that took place was the most outstanding candidate ever,” he said.
“And that panel recommended it to the government and I’m sure it will do a great job.”
Mr Barillaro, who resigned at the end of last year, just days after former Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian, played a role in founding the international trade initiative Global NSW.
It was this experience and his skill set that Mr Perrot said would make him a strong advocate for the state – at a time when it needed to be more “aggressive”.
“When I moved to London in my former role as treasurer … we weren’t in the back of the room. We weren’t even in the room when it came to investing in our state,” he said.
“In his former role as deputy premier, he was instrumental in setting this up and moving our direction.”
Mr Minnes found the government’s announcement of a government committed to change “shocking” and to declare that after 11 years in power it was not out of date.
“The same old Liberal Party and National Party are putting jobs for boys, jobs for peers, putting their own interests before the interests of the people of New South Wales,” he said.
“We really hope to believe that a global discovery took place, effectively bringing people around the world to determine who is best to represent the interests of this state and the answer is John Barillaro.” was?”
He also said that the government, which has sought another term, needs to do better in view of the current climate of inflation, shortage of staff and concerns over wages.
“Teachers or nurses are leaving the profession in large numbers because they have been told repeatedly by the Premier of New South Wales that we don’t have enough money to make life a little easier on the front lines of public services.” Said Mr Minnes.
“And yet there is enough money to make sure there are jobs available for Mr. Perrot’s friends.”
Accepting his appointment, Mr Barillaro – who recently settled his defamation case against Google – said he would continue to build on what has already been achieved.
“I look forward to supporting NSW companies to export and expand in the United States,” he said.
“Including many fintech, cyber security, space, health and food and beverage companies.
“We are already helping the US succeed through the Going Global Export Program.”
Helen Savzak, former national chief executive of the Australia-China Business Council, was also appointed to the role of Greater China’s Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner.
It is expected that Mr. Barillaro and Ms. Savzak will move to start their new jobs in the coming months.
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