NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has commented on allegations he spoke about creating a highly paid public service role based in the UK for a minister.
- Dominic Perrottet said conversations about job roles with ministers were “private”
- The Shadow Treasurer said Mr Perrottet has many questions to answer
- John Barilaro is due to face questions today at the inquiry surrounding his appointment to a US trade role
Labor has sought to extend an inquiry into how former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro was appointed to a top US trade job, amid reports by Nine newspapers that the NSW Premier offered to create a new parliamentary trade role for Transport Minister David Elliott in London.
The report says the Premier spoke to Mr Elliott about the agent-general position in London as compensation following manoeuvres that could have seen him removed from cabinet.
Mr Perrottet told Nine radio this morning he discussed “a number of roles” with Mr Elliott, including the agent-general role in London, but the Premier stopped short of clarifying whether he spoke about creating a public service role for him.
“David Elliott was never promised a job outside of politics,” Mr Perrottet said.
“That is deeply offensive and wrong.”
“But people always say from time to time discussions will be had in relation to when someone withdraws what they would like to do. That is normal.
“What I don’t do as Premier is to say that I will ever make those appointments or offer anyone a job.”
Mr Perrottet said the conversations he had with ministers were private.
“I am not going to go into details in relation to parliamentary secretary roles or a role in the ministry,” he said.
Mr Barilaro is expected to face some serious questioning this morning when he appears for the first time before the inquiry.
The inquiry last week heard from senior NSW bureaucrat Kathrina Lo, who said she would never have signed off on her appointment as New York trade commissioner had she known of the level of ministerial involvement.
Trade minister and Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres resigned from his portfolios and leadership position in the party over concerns about his role in the selection process.
Mr Elliott did not directly respond to questions about the conversation with the Premier.
“I’m committed to delivering the NSW government’s infrastructure pipeline, which is helping transform our state, and ensuring our public transport delivers first-class services for the people of NSW,” he said in a statement.
“I have no interest in working overseas again.”
NSW Shadow Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said Mr Perrottet had many questions to answer.
“The allegations about the Premier allegedly offering David Elliott an appointment to the agent-general position in London are deeply serious,” Mr Mookhey said.
“Labor as a result will seek to expand the inquiry’s term of reference so we can examine the agent-general’s position as well as other roles across the world.”
The Premier’s office has been contacted for comment.