News State NSW News Perrottet leaves scandals at home for trade trip to Japan

Perrottet leaves scandals at home for trade trip to Japan

Explosive evidence at John Barilaro inquiry

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NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has arrived in Japan on a 10-day trade tour that includes India and South Korea in a bid to attract global investment to NSW.

Mr Perrottet’s first overseas trip as Premier comes at a tumultuous time for the government with former deputy premier John Barilaro embroiled in growing controversy over his appointment to a US trade commissioner’s job.

Mr Perrottet will open the trade commissioner’s office in Tokyo as an inquiry continues into the appointment of Mr Barilaro to the equivalent posting in New York, which he later relinquished amid public pressure.

Other trade appointments include positions in India, ASEAN, the Middle East and Europe, which were established to attract foreign investment to NSW.

Mr Perrottet flew out just hours after former Liberal minister John Sidoti was found to have engaged in serious corrupt conduct by the ICAC.

Despite facing possible criminal charges, the now independent MP has rejected Mr Perrottet’s request to quit parliament, vowing to take the matter to the Supreme Court.

However, on Thursday, Mr Perrottet will turn his focus to wooing officials in the world’s third-largest economy.

He is hoping to “seize the moment” as sluggish markets deal with the ongoing Ukraine war and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has slowed global trade relations, but NSW is open for business,” he said.

“This trade mission will … give our state a critical advantage in attracting investment in future growth sectors, including advanced manufacturing and green hydrogen production.”

Mr Perrottet conceded that mistakes were made in appointing Mr Barilaro to the plum trade job in New York and vowed his government would do better after instituting a review.

“Governments don’t always get it right,” he said.

“You make mistakes and when you make mistakes then … you take it on board and you ensure that you put processes in place. My view is you need to be open and transparent.

“What I do want is that the public has confidence in the appointments that we make, particularly with important roles like the trade commissioner.”

Mr Perrottet’s first stop in Tokyo comes less than two weeks after the assassination of Japan’s former prime minister, Shinzo Abe.

The 67-year-old leader, who ushered in an era of muscular Japanese foreign policy, was shot while speaking near a train station in the city of Nara.

Mr Perrottet will also visit Hiroshima, followed by the South Korean capital of Seoul as well as the Indian cities of Mumbai and Bengalaru.

The trip marks Mr Perrottet’s first overseas trip as premier since replacing Gladys Berejiklian in October.

Ms Berejiklian resigned after the state’s anti-corruption watchdog opened an investigation into potential breaches of public trust during her stewardship.