Victor Dominello takes over as NSW Small Business Minister after Eleni Petinos removed from cabinet

eleni-petinos-nsw

Eleni Petinos. Source: AAP

Victor Dominello will take responsibility for the small business and fair trading portfolios in New South Wales, after former small business minister Eleni Petinos was removed from cabinet at the end of a crisis-filled week for the state government.

Petinos had served as the state’s small business minister since December 2021, but on Sunday evening Premier Dominic Perrottet confirmed her “service as a minister will cease with immediate effect”.

The move came after Petinos was the subject of serious bullying allegations last week, with media outlets publishing claims that the former minister responsible for workplace safety had herself overseen an “unsafe” working environment and used derogatory language.

According to reports, this had led to the departure of multiple staffers.

Petinos has denied the allegations, and last week the Premier said he had confidence in her.

On Sunday, Perrottet did not provide a specific reason for his decision to remove Petinos from her ministerial posts, instead saying in a statement that he had spoken with her “after some further matters concerning her were brought to my attention”.

In her own statement on Sunday evening, Petinos said she was proud of the work she did as a minister, while also apologising if she had caused offence or made anyone feel uncomfortable.

“The intense pressures and stresses of such important portfolios are significant for both staff and their minister. I thank my staff for their efforts in supporting me to deliver for the people of NSW,” she said.

“I would never intentionally offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable, and if I did I am truly sorry.”

Petinos added that she intends to continue making a “positive difference” as the local member for Miranda and will be advocating for small businesses “regardless of my role”.

Her removal from cabinet has deepened the crises being faced by the Perrottet government, with Trade Minister Stuart Ayres also releasing a statement on Sunday evening regarding the appointment of former deputy premier John Barilaro to a lucrative trade post in New York.

Publicly available documents have raised concerns about Ayres’ role in the appointment, but he took to Facebook to insist such senior trade positions are determined by an “independent, transparent and meritorious selection process”.

“Not liking Mr Barilaro or his style of politics is not a suitable reason to reject his application, let alone not select him for the role,” he added.

As well as taking on the small business and fair trading portfolios, Dominello will continue to serve as Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government.

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