Female public servant at the centre of John Barilaro’s New York scandal is SACKED – as she reveals what she will do next
- Amy Brown appointed former deputy premier John Barilaro to $500,000 job
- This was despite there being a range of other well-credentialed candidates
- Ms Brown has been sacked and said she is now ‘exploring new opportunities’
The senior NSW bureaucrat who appointed former deputy premier John Barilaro to a plum $500,000 trade job in New York has been sacked.
Departmental secretary and former Investment NSW boss Amy Brown was found to have been indirectly influenced to preference Mr Barilaro for the job despite a range of other well-credentialed candidates.
It became known as a ‘jobs for the boys’ scandal, forcing Mr Barilaro not to take the position and for it to be investigated by the NSW parliament.
Ms Brown said she is now ‘exploring new opportunities’.
Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter said after careful review of Ms Brown’s conduct he had decided she would not remain as head of the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade.
Senior NSW bureaucrat Amy Brown (pictured), who appointed former deputy premier John Barilaro to a plum $500,000 trade job in New York, has been sacked from her job
‘It’s a privilege to hold a role as a senior leader in the NSW public service,’ he said in a statement on Monday.
‘With this, rightly, comes a high degree of accountability.’
In a social media post on Sunday, Ms Brown did not mention she had been fired but instead said she was proud of her time in government.
‘After close to a decade working for the NSW Government, my tenure has come to an end,’ she said.
‘I am exploring new opportunities in the private sector and hope to make an announcement about that soon.’
An independent review into the appointment of Mr Barilaro to a $500,000-a-year, taxpayer-funded US trade job found Ms Brown had been indirectly influenced by then-trade minister Stuart Ayres’s preference for who should get the role.
Mr Ayres resigned as minister last month after a draft excerpt from the review raised questions about whether he breached the ministerial code of conduct with his involvement in the appointment process.
The review found Mr Barilaro’s appointment was not kept at arm’s length from government.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the appointment process was ‘flawed from the outset’ and ordered an independent legal review to establish if Mr Ayres had breached the ministerial code.
Former NSW deputy Premier John Barilaro (pictured) gives evidence during the inquiry into his appointment as Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to the Americas at NSW Parliament House in Sydney, Monday, August 8, 2022
The review, carried out by former ICAC inspector Bruce McClintock SC and released last week, found Mr Ayres had not breached the code, but he remains on the backbench.
Ms Brown stood aside from her role as head of Investment NSW in August, saying at the time she wanted to focus on her position as departmental secretary.
Mr Barilaro relinquished the trade job in June, just weeks after his appointment was announced, saying the role was untenable and had become a distraction.
The appointment plunged the Perrottet government into months of turmoil as the merits of the process were scrutinised.
Amy Brown (pictured) was a witness at the inquiry into John Barilaro’s appointment to a plum $500,000 job in New York
A Resolve Political Monitor survey last month revealed how damaging the affair had been for the NSW government.
It found that with 49 per cent of Coalition voters though the job being given to Mr Barilaro was ‘unfairly awarded’.
Elizabeth Mildwater will step in for Ms Brown from Tuesday.
She is the current chief executive of the Greater Cities Commission and former deputy secretary of Transport for NSW.
Mr Perrottet has been contacted for comment.
John Barilaro’s opening statement to NSW Parliament inquiry into New York trade commissioner role
‘I refute any suggestion of wrongdoing. Refute the suggestion that I created the role for myself.
‘I refute any suggestions that I sought out any special treatment during the public service job process where an independent panel, on merit, put me forward as the preferred candidate.
‘We’ve heard from long term, professional senior public servants, that I was a credible and capable candidate that brought many attributes to fill this important role for the people of our great state.
‘For that, I had my credentials and application publicly derided and what is nothing less than an abuse of my privacy.
‘Let me make this clear. I applied for a public service job as a private citizen. Nothing excluded me in doing so.
‘I followed the exact same process that was afforded to others.
‘I went through several interviews, psychometric testing and police checks. I was offered a job. I accepted the job. I then withdrew from this job.
‘From that moment, I’ve enjoyed what can only be described as a personal hell, unfair and unjust.
‘I look forward today to stating my case to this committee.’