John Barilaro appointment: US documents show NSW trade staffers in New York earn a combined $961k

John Barilaro appointment: US documents show NSW trade staffers in New York earn a combined $961k

Four NSW trade staffers earning a combined $961,000 are working in the New York trade office where John Barilaro was going to be employed.

Foreign agent registration papers lodged with the US government two weeks ago show the four staffers will be employed full-time on the 34th floor of an office building in the heart of mid-town Manhattan, directly opposite the landmark Chrysler Building.

It’s the same building that houses the Consulate General of Australia and the federal government’s Austrade office.

One of the four people who registered with the Justice Department is the state’s current Trade and Investment Commissioner Joe Kaesshaefer, who works out of a WeWork office in San Francisco in California.

He told the US government his “primary business address” would be the office in New York, but an Investment NSW spokesman said he would actually continue to work from San Francisco.

Mr Kaesshaefer will remain in San Francisco and travel as required,” the spokesman said.

It’s understood Mr Kaesshaefer will work from home.

Mr Barilaro would have been the boss of the New York office and had planned to begin that work last month, but he was forced to give up the job after public outrage over his appointment.

Mr Kaesshaefer declared to the US government that his role would be managing the operations in the New York office on a full-time basis, earning about $264,000 a year.

Two other staffers will earn about $230,000 each per year, and the fourth about $237,000.

The three junior staffers will all have the title Trade and Investment Director and each said they’d be “responsible for building and maintaining bilateral relationships with US government officials and business leaders for the promotion of trade and investment opportunities in NSW”.

All four staffers are US citizens.

“Investment NSW’s international network of staff provide vital on the ground support to help NSW exporters to succeed internationally as well as facilitating new investment opportunities for companies looking to grow or establish their business in NSW,” the agency spokesman said.

“New York-based staff currently report to the San Francisco-based Trade and Investment Commissioner, who has been in the role for more than five years.”

The declarations, which the US government requires from anyone intending to do work in the country on behalf of a foreign government, also reveal the trade office had set aside $100,000 for “disseminating information”.

A job contract signed by Mr Barilaro for the role of Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to the Americas, which was released to parliament this week, showed he was meant to be seconded to a corporation the NSW government set up in the US once his visa had come through.

The company, NSW Government US Office, Inc, was registered as a non-profit, nonstock corporation the day before New Year’s Eve with Investment NSW chief executive Amy Brown as head of the company, US records show.

A senior representative of hers, Kylie Bell, is listed as the company’s director.

The company was registered in the corporate haven of Delaware, a state with beneficial regulations for companies.

The NSW government hired the prominent registered agent Corporation Trust Company to incorporate the US operation, and the government trade office was formally registered at 1209 Orange Street in Wilmington, Delaware, an address famous for housing thousands of companies.

Ms Brown has previously told a parliamentary committee looking into the hiring of Mr Barilaro that the lease for the 103.7 square metre New York office was signed on September 1 last year.

“It was taken as a shell, and it took six months minimum to do the fit-out to make it a usable office space,” Ms Brown said.

The fit-out of the office cost $905,000, she said.

Ms Brown gave evidence to the committee again on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Premier Dominic Perrottet announced his Trade Minister, Stuart Ayres, would resign over the Barilaro appointment.


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