Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
ABC News
ABC News

Dominic Perrottet alerted about concerns over minister months before her sacking

The NSW Premier has admitted he was first alerted to concerns about former minister Eleni Petinos in the months before she was sacked over bullying allegations. 

Dominic Perrottet has told a budget estimates hearing, he instructed Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello to speak to Ms Petinos regarding the concerns.

But the Premier insists no significant issues were brought to his attention, before Ms Petinos was sacked on July 31.

"When I was overseas there were issues that arose in a newspaper in respect to an anonymous allegation," Mr Perrottet said. 

The department of customer service secretary, Emma Hogan, told a hearing she was first made aware of "a couple of incidents" involving Ms Petinos in April.

"There were probably two things ... one was concerns about respectful behaviour in meetings and others was about some cultural concerns that had been raised with me about working in her office," Ms Hogan said. 

"There were some staff who didn't wish to work in that office."

Ms Hogan said they were not formal complaints, but she raised the concerns with Ms Petinos in May. 

When questioned about when he became aware of the issues, Mr Dominello insisted he "did not receive any formal or informal complaints".

"Workplace complaints are dealt with by the department of premier and cabinet and where appropriate escalated to the attention of the premier and his office," he said.

"I have a subsequent action taken by the premier following the discussion with the secretary of my department Ms Hogan. I was not privy to that discussion, and I was informed of the premier's decision later that evening [on July 31]."

He said he was however "aware of some workflow issues" and offered his assistance. 

The Miranda MP was dumped from cabinet over bullying allegations that she denies. 

Before that, the state's building commissioner David Chandler sent a resignation letter to the Premier's chief-of-staff weeks before her dismissal. 

The letter raised concerns about the relationship between Ms Petinos and developer Coronation Property Group that hired former deputy premier John Barilaro. 

Mr Perrottet today told the budget estimates hearing he was briefed on the building commissioner's resignation, in the hours before he sacked Ms Petinos. 

He insists the issues raised around Coronation Property Group during his "45-minute conversation" with the department secretary Ms Hogan did not influence his decision.

"At the end of the conversation matters in relation to the building commissioner's resignation was raised ... the secretary of the department said to me that she'd looked into those issues and that no further action needed to be taken," Mr Perrottet said. 

"I can assure you nothing arose in the course of that aspect of the discussion that had any bearing or impact on my decision-making in relation to Ms Petinos." 

The letter was referred to the state corruption watchdog by Ms Hogan on August 1, the day after Ms Petinos was sacked. 

The Premier told the hearing he was not consulted on her decision to send the letter to the Independent Commission Against Corruption. 

The building commissioner took up the offer to stay in his role less than two weeks ago, after being pursued by the NSW government. 

During budget estimates, Mr Dominello was asked what it took for Mr Chandler to come back to his role. 

“According to Mr Chandler a physiotherapy session,” Mr Dominello said. 

"I think in fairness the relationship is between Ms Hogan and Mr Chandler, but I've been a public supporter of Mr Chandler for a long time, he's got a very strong vision ... and that's what you need in terms of deep reform in the construction sector."

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.