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Former Investment NSW deputy secretary Jenny West had expected to be appointed

“The secretary of DPC received an email from Ms West reaching out for a meeting to discuss her situation. It was not a formal complaint,” she said.

The Herald can also reveal Barilaro was considered for the top job at Greyhound Racing NSW after chief executive Tony Mestrov announced his departure to become the new boss of the Manly Sea Eagles last month.

Several racing sources, who are not authorised to speak publicly, confirmed Barilaro had been a preferred candidate before he was offered the trade commissioner role.

Greyhound Racing NSW chair John Williams said Barilaro had not applied for the role and that a recruitment process was being conducted by an external firm.

Barilaro declined to comment and referred all questions to Investment NSW.

The DPC review by Head will examine the recruitment process leading to Barilaro’s appointment, any conflicts of interest that may have arisen in the selection process, and whether his recruitment complied with the government’s own rules for hiring public sector staff.

It is separate to a NSW upper house inquiry to start on Wednesday, when Investment NSW CEO Amy Brown will be the first witness to give evidence.

‘Final decision-maker’

Brown, who reported to Barilaro when he was the trade minister, was described by the premier as the “final decision-maker” in appointing Barilaro.

Leader of the opposition in the upper house Penny Sharpe said the premier must explain why his department had outsourced its review into the US trade commissioner role.

“There are just so many questions that need answering, and yet we still haven’t heard from the government that they’re not sending him. They need to not put John Barilaro on the plane until these inquiries are finished,” she said.

An Investment NSW spokesperson said the date of Barilaro’s commencement with Investment NSW and his onboarding were yet to occur.

‘A disaster’: Lib MP

The appointment is developing into a worsening scandal for the Perrottet government, after overshadowing its budget delivery last week. One Liberal MP, who requested anonymity to speak freely, said the situation was a “disaster”.

“Ultimately, the public expect someone to be held accountable and, until somebody is, this will remain an ongoing disaster for the government,” they said.

Documents produced under parliamentary order have revealed Investment NSW contracted a global recruitment firm to fill the trade commissioner roles.

However, Brown cancelled the global search after receiving instructions the roles were likely to instead become ministerial appointments. The Herald does not suggest any link between that sequence of events.

Further internal emails, seen by the Herald, reveal Investment NSW general counsel Chris Carr sought urgent advice around the same time about changing the process from public service to ministerial appointments, following a cabinet meeting.

“We are now asked to consider whether there are alternative methods. Specifically, we have been asked whether there is an option for ministerial appointments,” he wrote in an email in September last year.

“The urgency driving this is that recruitment processes are well advanced for the next batch of appointments and there is now a need to clarify whether this alternative is viable.”

Read More: Former Investment NSW deputy secretary Jenny West had expected to be appointed

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