Former investment NSW boss Amy Brown sacked in wake of John Barilaro job saga

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The NSW bureaucrat at the centre of the controversial appointment of John Barilaro to a US trade role has been sacked.

Amy Brown was the CEO of Investment NSW — the government body responsible for hiring senior trade and investment commissioners — when former deputy premier John Barilaro was selected for the Americas job.

Between June and August Ms Brown was grilled three times by a parliamentary inquiry into the Barilaro appointment, and an independent report by Graeme Head AO found she failed to act in accordance with the Code of Ethics and Conduct for government sector employees.

This morning the secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Michael Coutts-Trotter, issued a statement saying Ms Brown would no longer be employed by the government.

Although she lost her position of chief executive of Investment NSW last month, she had kept the higher position of secretary of the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade.

However, Mr Coutts-Trotter said the conclusions made by the Head review meant Ms Brown could no longer continue to hold office.

“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,” Mr Coutts-Trotter said.

“I acknowledge that dealing with the events of recent months, and doing so under such intense public scrutiny, has weighed heavily on Ms Brown.

“I want to thank her for her service.”

‘Leadership can be difficult’

The Head report found Ms Brown had kept information from other members of the job panel, including the fact she discussed Mr Barilaro’s suitability with the then minister for trade Stuart Ayres.

The recruitment process was supposed to be independent of the minister.

Mr Head recommended the Department of Premier and Cabinet consider whether it needs to take action against Ms Brown.

In a LinkedIn post uploaded before Mr Coutts-Trotter’s statement was released, Ms Brown said during her time in the public sector she had learned “leadership can, at times, be difficult”.

“Courageous leadership is not always comfortable. But it is a necessary part of how the public service performs its professional role in support of responsible government,” she wrote.

Ms Brown said she was now exploring new opportunities in the private sector.

“[I] hope to make an announcement about that soon,” she said.

On LinkedIn, Ms Brown said she joined the government in 2013 as she wanted to improve the lives of people in NSW.

“My goal was to create an enhanced focus on delivery, and partnering with the private sector in a way that drives innovation and creates value for taxpayers,” she wrote.



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