Dominic Perrottet’s adviser to be quizzed about controversial trade appointment

Labor attempting to link saga to NSW premier, who was treasurer at the time of Stephen Cartwright’s appointment to senior trade job

NSW premier Dominic Perrottet’s chief of staff will be questioned about what role he played in the appointment of the former NSW business chamber president, Stephen Cartwright, to a lucrative UK trade job.

Bran Black, Perrottet’s chief adviser, will appear before the long-running inquiry into the government’s controversial senior trade jobs, which was launched after former deputy premier John Barilaro’s appointment to the New York position in June.

After months of hearings, Black’s appearance is the first by a staffer inside Perrottet’s office, and represents Labor’s efforts to link the saga to the premier, who was treasurer in Gladys Berejiklian’s government at the time of the appointment.

The scandal over the appointment has dogged the Coalition government for months, even after Barilaro withdrew from the role and another minister, Stuart Ayres, was prompted to resign from the frontbench.

The upper house inquiry has continued, shifting focus to Cartwright’s appointment as senior UK trade commissioner after evidence from the now-former Investment NSW boss, Amy Brown, that Cartwright threatened to go above her to “the minister or premier” during salary negotiations.

Labor is expected to grill Black on what role he played in Cartwright’s appointment, which was made after Barilaro urged the former Business NSW boss to apply for the job despite another candidate already being identified for the role.

In August, Brown told the inquiry that in mid-2021 Cartwright had what she described as “unrealistic” pay expectations amounting to an overall package of about $800,000, and that she had approached Black to ask him about the demands.

Then-NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian (centre), with Stephen Cartwright (at left), Brad Hazzard and then-treasurer Dominic Perrottet (right) in 2020.
Then-NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian (centre), with Stephen Cartwright (at left), Brad Hazzard and then-treasurer Dominic Perrottet (right) in 2020. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

During a hearing in August, Brown said Black had given her the “strong opinion” that a $800,000 salary package for Cartwright was “worth it”.

Black denied her account of the conversation, saying at the time that he had told her the salary demand was “unreasonable”.

Black said he told Brown she should “not take any decision that was inconsistent with ordinary public sector principles or practice”.

When the inquiry resumes on Tuesday Cartwright will also appear to give evidence for the second time.

Earlier this month he denied that his appointment was a case of “jobs for mates”, despite being encouraged to apply by Barilaro.

“I don’t think there’s any way that my appointment can be categorised as jobs for mates because I don’t have any politicians that are mates,” he said.

“I’ve never been part of any political party.”

Contributor

Michael McGowan

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
NSW’s top public servant considering sacking department head over John Barilaro’s NY trade appointment
Michael Coutts-Trotter tells parliament his ‘preliminary view’ is that Amy Brown hadn’t ‘satisfactorily performed’ during hiring process, based on report findings

Michael McGowan

07, Sep, 2022 @6:26 AM

Article image
Dominic Perrottet’s chief of staff gave ‘strong opinion’ on salary for London trade role, inquiry told
Evidence comes as John Barilaro tells NSW inquiry ‘I wish I’d never applied’ for New York trade role

Michael McGowan

08, Aug, 2022 @10:56 AM

Article image
NSW building commissioner who raised concerns about minister and developer cancels resignation
State fair trading minister, Victor Dominello, welcomes David Chandler’s decision to stay in role, saying he’s ‘a big fan’

Michael McGowan

26, Aug, 2022 @3:01 AM

Article image
NSW public servant predicted ‘scrutiny’ of London trade role appointment, documents reveal
Exclusive: Investment NSW official asked if all documents relating to Stephen Cartwright could be easily found by a future review

Michael McGowan

16, Aug, 2022 @5:30 PM

Article image
The John Barilaro affair has stripped the shine off NSW’s hardman premier Dominic Perrottet | Anne Davies
His handling of this crisis, which led to the resignation of his deputy Stuart Ayres, has colleagues questioning whether he has the right stuff under pressure

Anne Davies

03, Aug, 2022 @7:42 AM

Article image
NSW business chamber head appointed to UK trade role thanked John Barilaro for his ‘accessibility’
Exclusive: Letter from Stephen Cartwright, who approved ads attacking Labor before NSW election, thanked former deputy premier for ‘constant support’

Michael McGowan

21, Aug, 2022 @5:30 PM

Article image
Cleared of wrongdoing, the political fate of former NSW minister Stuart Ayres remains uncertain
Whether Ayres returns to cabinet or retires to the backbench, Dominic Perrottet faces further headaches

Michael McGowan

12, Sep, 2022 @5:30 PM

Article image
Dominic Perrottet under fire over new documents revealed by John Barilaro New York trade role inquiry
Files released by parliament show premier was sent brief about prior candidate’s appointment following ‘full recruitment process’

Michael McGowan

26, Jul, 2022 @1:58 AM

Article image
Why now? Inside Dominic Perrottet’s plea for voters’ forgiveness over his Nazi outfit
Analysis: Someone in the NSW premier’s own corner seems determined that he should pay for his 21st birthday mistake

Michael McGowan

13, Jan, 2023 @2:33 AM

Article image
John Barilaro received plum New York trade job after senior public servant had already been offered it
Gladys Berejiklian told Jenny West she had the job in August but that offer was later rescinded and the role readvertised

Peter Hannam, Michael McGowan and Tamsin Rose

21, Jun, 2022 @10:00 AM