Premier Dominic Perrottet says it would be inappropriate for him to stop his former colleague John Barilaro from taking up his new job as the NSW US trade commissioner in New York City.
The former deputy premier’s controversial appointment to the $500,000 a year role as Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner has become a thorn in the side of the NSW government as questions are asked if due process was followed.
Mr Perrottet was asked on Tuesday if Mr Barilaro was going to “walk away” from the job.
“That’s not my understanding,” he told Sydney radio 2GB.
He rejected the suggestion that he intervene to stop Mr Barilaro from taking the prestigious position.
“It would be inappropriate for me to do that.
“My job is always to follow proper process.
“My job is to make sure that the right thing is done … regardless of whether or not that provides a political challenge to me or otherwise,” he said.
“I’ve asked for an independent report, I will get that [report] I will make it public and I will act if I need to do so,” he said.
A NSW parliamentary inquiry into the matter will get underway on Wednesday with chief executive of Investment NSW Amy Brown as the only witness.
Mr Perrottet promised his own internal inquiry into the appointment.
It was initially to be headed by Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter. The DPC has since announced management consultant and former public service commissioner Graeme Head will take over the inquiry.
The US role was created by Mr Barilaro when he was trade minister.
Earlier this month the government announced Mr Barilaro had been appointed after a global talent search by a recruitment company. Since then, it has been reported that leaked emails revealed senior Investment NSW bureaucrat Jenny West was about to be named as the successful candidate last year.
Mr Barilaro resigned as an MP on October 4.