Chief of staff effectively chief of railway

In Australian Cultural Exports, Australian Domestic Tourism, Government, National Headlines, New South Wales, Transport

PICTURE: The hero image from the Rail Heritage Review document.

See the Rail Heritage Review document, which covers the costs and benefits of reinvigorating NSW Transport Heritage here.

Gladys Berejiklian staffer at centre of conflict-of-interest query

From, 12the December 2013

A friend of Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian’s chief of staff is to be appointed to run the state’s new rail heritage organisation – an industry in which the political staffer has a financial interest.

Members of the NSW Rail Transport Museum voted on Tuesday night to create the new organisation, Transport Heritage NSW, to reform the state’s splintered rail heritage scene.

It is understood Andrew Killingsworth, a friend of Ms Berejiklian’s chief of staff, Owen Johnstone-Donnet, will be nominated to run the new organisation.

In doing so he will exert an influence over an industry in which Mr Johnstone-Donnet runs a sideline. As well as working for Ms Berejiklian, Mr Johnstone-Donnet owns St James Rail, a company that takes passengers on rail and bus tours.

The proposed reforms have concerned some participants, particularly those not involved with the Rail Transport Museum, which is seen to benefit from reforms introduced by Ms Berejiklian .

The opposition’s transport spokeswoman, Penny Sharpe said: ”I think there are serious questions to answer about the role of Owen Johnstone-Donnet in the heritage rail area. He is running a business that profits in this area.”

A Transport for NSW spokeswoman said the recruitment for the chief executive position followed a merit-based selection process, with interviews with seven candidates.

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