NSW Premier’s office appoints ‘independent expert’ to investigate John Barilaro’s US trade job

A former NSW public commissioner will lead the prime minister’s inquiry into John Barilaro’s appointment as US trade commissioner.

Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet announced that he would have his own review conducted on Thursday, entrusting the task to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter.

It comes as controversy mounts over how the former deputy prime minister and leader of the Nationals got the plum job with a salary package of more than $500,000.

In a statement on Saturday, it was announced that Graeme Head, who served as a commissioner of the NSW Public Service Commission for six years, would begin the review “immediately”.

“In order to ensure the utmost independence and public confidence in the process, Mr. Coutts-Trotter has decided to appoint an independent expert to assist the department with this investigation,” the statement said.

“Mr Graeme Head will conduct the investigation on behalf of Mr Coutts-Trotter and report to the department.”

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Mr Head is currently a partner at EY Port Jackson Partners.YouTube: NDIS Commission for Quality and Assurance

Mr. Head, who is currently a partner at EY Port Jackson Partners, also has extensive experience in public administration and policy including leading the NDIS Quality And Safeguards Commission.

He will examine the recruitment process, including existing mechanisms for dealing with “actual and perceived conflicts of interest”.

A separate two-hour parliamentary public hearing on the matter will begin on Wednesday with just one witness: Chief Executive of Investment NSW Amy Brown.

Mr Barilaro’s appointment as Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for America was announced a week ago in what the government said was a “rigorous global talent search” by a recruiting firm.

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