Perrottet backs public servant's sacking

·3-min read

The NSW premier has endorsed the sacking of a senior female public servant over the John Barilaro job saga, while the NSW treasurer held his tongue as he promotes a women's agenda.

Departmental secretary and former Investment NSW boss Amy Brown left the public service with a payout of at least $450,000 over her role in the job debacle which embroiled the government in scandal for three months.

Treasurer Matt Kean declined to comment on the appropriateness of Ms Brown's lone sanctioning in the wake of the scandal, as he pursues a women-to-the-front agenda as part of the 2021-22 budget.

Ms Brown's sacking was a decision made by Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter.

"It's appropriate that the public service manages the public service. That's what's happened in this instance," Mr Kean said.

The treasurer also deferred questions about the size of Ms Brown's payout, saying the package was managed by Mr Coutts-Trotter.

Mr Kean was asked about the scandal as he announced plans to legislate a $5 billion fund for childcare in NSW.

An independent review of the recruitment process found Ms Brown had been indirectly influenced to preference Mr Barilaro for the job despite a range of other well-credentialed candidates.

A decision was made that Ms Brown would not remain as head of the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Mr Coutts-Trotter announced on Monday.

"It's a privilege to hold a role as a senior leader in the NSW public service. With this, rightly, comes a high degree of accountability," he said.

Ms Brown was on $614,000 and was entitled to 38 weeks of her salary plus entitlements - at least $450,000.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said he supported the move to sack Ms Brown.

"There are entitlements that come from those decisions," he told 2GB on Tuesday.

An independent review held earlier this year into the appointment of Mr Barilaro to the $500,000-a-year, taxpayer-funded US trade job, found Ms Brown was indirectly influenced by former-trade minister Stuart Ayres's preference over who should get the New York-based 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.

A second, legal review, conducted by well-regarded legal mind Bruce McClintock SC, found Mr Ayres "complied with his obligation under the Ministerial Code of Conduct".

Mr Kean said it was up to the premier whether Mr Ayres returned to cabinet.

Asked during question time if Mr Ayres would return to cabinet on Tuesday, Mr Perrottet said his cabinet "remains unchanged".

Labor says it's unfair that Ms Brown to be the only person punished for the scandal - and warned against Mr Ayres returning to cabinet.

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.