“Through my 20-year career as an entrepreneur in a competitive, relentlessly changing, industry environment, I evolved into an outcome and solutions-focused leader,” he wrote.
“My vast business and government experience, and intricate understanding of new State and Federal trade policy and opportunities, places me in a rare position, to deliver beyond expectation in such a role.”
Barilaro’s business, Ryleho Home Solutions, made wooden doors and windows in Queanbeyan, a regional centre bordering the ACT. What he calls “a multimillion-dollar operation” and “transformative industry leader” employed 35 people and was placed in administration in 2019.
‘My bold vision’
Barilaro gave up his full-time business career in 2011 when he was elected to the seat of Monaro for the National Party. In 2019, he was given the trade portfolio, and decided to hire trade commissioners to help foreign companies that wanted to invest in NSW find their way through the state bureaucracy, and NSW businesses expand in North and South America.
He told the selection panel, which included a former subordinate, Investment NSW chief executive Amy Brown, that his decision to create the jobs was a qualification for the one located in New York City.
“Where I believe I’m uniquely placed above all other candidates is that as the NSW Trade and Industry Minister, it was my bold vision to grow NSW’s international footprint, expand markets and grow inbound investment, by delivering Global NSW, a government-wide initiative to support the state’s outstanding industry, innovation, trade, investment and industry area development,” he wrote.
Barilaro offered no examples of businesses he had helped invest in NSW, or overseas, apart from his own. His top educational qualification was listed as a graduate diploma of strategic leadership at Churchill Education, followed by the words “currently completing”.
The opposition is conducting a parliamentary investigation to determine if Barilaro’s appointment was due to government favouritism. Faced with the political controversy, Barilaro has decided not to take up the position.
His trade minister successor, Stuart Ayres, says Barilaro was treated like all other candidates, although he acknowledges he texted his former colleague the job ad, which appeared in The Australian Financial Review in December, sparing Barilaro the cost of the newspaper.