Sydney news: Report to shed light on bullying and harassment in state parliament

Sydney news: Report to shed light on bullying and harassment in state parliament

Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Barilaro returns to give evidence at trade job inquiry

Mr Barilaro will give evidence at the second time.(AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

Today former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro will again front a parliamentary inquiry into his appointment to a lucrative US-based trade job.

Mr Barilaro is at the center of a controversy engulfing the state government about possible political interference in the selection of the senior trade and investment commissioner to the Americas.

Mr Barilaro was selected for the position in April despite the fact senior bureaucrat Jenny West had already been offered the job by the body responsible for hiring, Investment NSW.

When Mr Barilaro gave evidence to the inquiry on Monday he was told to prepare for questions on Friday about his girlfriend and former media adviser, Jennifer Lugsdin.

Ms Lugsdin got a job at Investment NSW after a recommendation from Mr Barilaro and was included in an email chain about the US trade job.

The Public Service Commissioner previously told the inquiry she never would have signed off on Mr Barilaro’s appointment had she known of the level of ministerial involvement.

Mr Barilaro withdrew from the $500,000-a-year job in June, saying it was no longer “tenable” given all the media scrutiny.

Rail industrial action to continue as negotiations fail

rail commuters walk along a platform
Next Wednesday’s rail strike and other industrial action throughout August will go ahead. (AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

The rail union and state government have failed to come to an agreement overnight confirming industrial action will continue throughout August.

The two sides have had ongoing disagreements over a new enterprise agreement and safety concerns over the new intercity fleet.

Today cleaners are banned from using vacuums and scrubbing machines, while another strike is planned for Wednesday.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union Secretary Alex Claassens said the government needed to commit to fixing the intercity fleet.

“I made it very clear that our industrial action for August will continue unabated, exactly as per our program until I’ve got a document that we feel satisfied with before we make any decisions about dialing back any industrial action,” he said.

However, Minister for Employee Relations Minister Damien Tudehope said the union kept changing its list of demands.

“The meeting started on the premise that the industrial activity was taking place because the government would not enter into a deed evidencing their commitment to the alterations of the fleet,” he said.

“We have now given that commitment and yet now there are other reasons why the industrial action will take place.”

Report on parliament’s workplace culture due today

the outside of new south wales parliament house
The report on parliament’s workplace culture and practice will be realized on its website.(Facebook: Parliament of NSW)

A report investigating the culture within New South Wales parliament will be released today.

Since last year, former sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick has led the independent review looking into bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct at state parliament.

Its findings are expected to add to the list of woes plaguing Premier Dominic Perrottet’s government.

Speaking about the report earlier this month, the Premier said it would be an “eye-opener” for the political sphere in NSW.

They also come after the sacking of minister for small business and fair trading Eleni Petinos over bullying allegations which she denies.

The report, commissioned by former premier Gladys Berejiklian, will be published on the parliamentary website.

A separate review in 2021 found the parliament’s sexual assault complaints processes were unclear, ineffective and inadequate, according to the report’s author, former sex discrimination commissioner and former NSW minister Pru ​​Goward.

‘New era’ for casino regulation

a person holding some casino chips
The new body overseeing the state’s casinos will be operational from September 5.(ABCNews)

New South Wales’ new independent casino regulator will begin operations from next month after the state government passing laws yesterday.

The creation of the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) is part of a suite of reforms hailed as marking a “new era” in how the state’s two casinos are monitored for money laundering and other criminal activity.

Minister for Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson said the NICC’s unprecedented powers would allow it to “take strong disciplinary action against operators and individuals who engage in misconduct”.

“This essential reset will give the people of NSW confidence that the state’s casino operators will be held to the highest possible standards,” he said.

“Its (the NICC’s) first major task will be to consider the findings of the review into The Star casino, with Adam Bell SC due to hand down his report by the end of the month.”

The NICC, which will be funded by a levy paid by the casinos, will take over responsibility for Crown Sydney’s conditional opening of its gaming areas.

A chief commissioner will head the new agency with the support of four commissioners, including one with anti-money-laundering experience.

Prison officers strike in support of colleague

the back of two prison guard officers
Thousands of Corrective Services officers in regional NSW will strike for 24 hours today.(Facebook: Dept of Communities and Justice)

Operations at courthouses and prisons across regional New South Wales will be impacted today as thousands of Corrective Services officers walk off the job.

Public Service Association (PSA) union members will strike for 24 hours in response to a prison officer who is facing an upgraded murder charge over the fatal shooting of an inmate trying to escape custody in 2019.

Operations, including escorting inmates to court, as well as staffing within jails, will be affected.

The union’s David McCauley said staff were supporting the charged officer, who he said was just doing his job.

“It’s beyond belief. Murder must be intent. How can this person have intent when he’s just doing his job?” he said.

“No-one goes to work in the morning with the attempt to murder somebody. That’s ridiculous.”

In a statement, a Corrective Services NSW spokeswoman said all prisons across the state would continue operating securely during the strike, with essential services maintained.

However, centers would not facilitate family visits or court appearances, she said.

The department is also seeking the assistance of the Industrial Relations Commission to return staff to work.

lion cubs turn one

a mother lion licking one of her five lion cubs in a zoo enclosure
The birth of the five cubs in 2021 was the first at the zoo in 18 years.(Supplied: Taronga Zoo)

Taronga Zoo is celebrating the first birthday of its five lion cubs today.

The birth of the litter last year was the first time in nearly two decades there had been lion cubs at the Sydney zoo.

The pride will get to play with heavy-duty toy balls and eat some of their favorite food as a treat to mark the special occasion.

They are named Khari, Luzuko, Malika, Zuri and Ayanna.