New secret NSW government documents suggest another candidate was recommended ahead of John Barilaro, at some stage, during the recruitment process for a lucrative trade role based in New York.
- Two job selection panel documents show different scores for John Barilaro
- In one version, the former deputy premier ranked behind another unnamed candidate
- The documents were previously secret but the state government agreed to release them
There are discrepancies between two versions of the selection panel report, after four candidates on the shortlist for the Trade Commissioner to the Americas role were interviewed in March this year.
Mr Barilaro’s appointment has been put under the microscope for several weeks, and is the subject of two separate parliamentary probes.
He has since withdrawn from the $500,000-a-year position.
The reports were part of a tranche of documents released today to a parliamentary inquiry probing the appointment of Mr Barilaro to the high-paid US position.
In one version, the former deputy premier isn’t the recommended candidate.
“The panel came to the view that John Barilaro did have some of the relevant capabilities and experience for the role,” the report said.
“However he had not worked internationally in a role aligned to the experience expected for a high-level STIC candidate.”
It also raised concerns that “he would need to build a team without the business or departmental infrastructure he had previously”.
“His lack of business development networks would mean that he would have a considerable learning curve in this role.”
The person recommended for the job has their name written on the documents.
They scored four exceeds in the selection process, while Mr Barilaro was rated two meets and two exceeds.
But his rating changed on the second report, on which he scored three exceeds and one meets.
The change to exceed was on the selection criteria for “manage and develop people”.
In this report, Mr Barilaro is the recommended candidate.
“While he has not lived internationally, he has successfully developed international businesses in both his roles in managing his own company in the private sector and in his capacity as Deputy Premier and Trade Minister for NSW,” the report said.
“He had a strong track record of building teams as well as operating in a dynamic environment.”
These two reports have been released as part of dozens of documents that were handed over under a parliamentary order.
They were previously deemed secret, but after pressure from the Opposition the government agreed to make them public.
A parliamentary inquiry has previously been heard from former bureaucrat Jenny West, who was listed as the “successful candidate” on government documents in mid-2021.
Ms West told the inquiry that Investment NSW chief executive Amy Brown then told her last October that she would no longer be offered the job because it “would be a present for someone”.
“[Ms Brown said] ‘I have spoken to Minister [Stuart] Ayres who has taken over the deputy premier’s portfolio and he has confirmed that you will not be getting the Americas role. It will be a present for someone’,” Ms West claimed.
Ms Brown has denied this conversation took place, and Mr Ayres has rejected suggestions he influenced the recruitment process.
In her evidence to the inquiry, Ms Brown confirmed Ms West had been “verbally offered the role”.
But, Ms Brown said, she was then given a government direction to cease the recruitment process “due to a change in government policy to convert the roles into statutory officers appointed by a minister”.
“It would have come through the responsible minister being the minister for industry and trade… Mr John Barilaro,” she said.
Mr Barilaro is due to appear before the inquiry on Monday.
Premier Dominic Perrottet has also ordered a separate inquiry into the recruitment process for the role.