Monday, 30 November 2020

Meet John Barilaro - Deputy-Premier, Minister for Regional News South Wales and property developer


ABC News, 11 September 2020

The NSW Deputy-Premier, Minister for Regional New South Wales and National Party MP for Monaro since 2011 (shown left) - who formerly worked in the family business manufacturing timber products and who went on to become a property developer in his own right - has some questions to answer.

Starting with this……..

The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 November 2020:

The controversy centres on the demise of the Marco Polo Social Club, which for decades was a thriving social hub for Queanbeyan’s large Italian community.

John Barilaro joined the board of the Social Club in 1995, seven years after his father, Domenico Barilaro, who died earlier this year.

The Barilaros were both directors of the Social Club in 1996 when it sold its clubhouse for $300,000 to Monaro Properties Pty Ltd.

John Barilaro was Monaro Properties’ secretary and Domenico Barilaro was one of its directors at the time. The pair also purchased shares in Monaro Properties six months after it acquired the clubhouse.

The Social Club went broke in the early 2000s.

According to the minutes of a creditors’ meeting in February 2003, the social club’s administrator commented that he was “concerned that a number of company directors may have a conflict of interest in that they are also actively involved in the management of the company that owns the company’s trading premises”.

The club’s demise was publicly blamed on mounting debts, an “unforgiving fiscal market” and infighting among board members.

With the clubhouse no longer needed, Monaro Properties on-sold it for $1.025 million in mid 2004, securing the company a $700,000 windfall.

There is no evidence John Barilaro directly financially benefited, as he was no longer a shareholder or director of Monaro Properties at the time.

However Domenico Barilaro was still a director of Monaro Properties at the time

It is unclear whether Domenico Barilaro still held his shares because the company did not lodge a financial return that year.

However ASIC records show Domenico Barilaro held shares before the transaction in 2002 and afterwards in 2005 and there was no publicly available record of any change to his shareholdings.

On 26 March 2001 Giovanni (John) Domenic Barilaro MLA entered the NSW Parliament as a backbencher.

It took him a little over 5 years and 7 months to work his way up to being Leader of the Nationals in the NSW Parliament, a position which automatically made him Deputy-Premier of New South Wales, and another 1 year & 15 weeks to add Minister for Regional New South Wales to his current titles.

Like many other parliamentarians John Barilaro comes with a backstory he created and elaborated for the benefit of parliament, telling the Legislative Assembly that he had stood for election because; “I have had a gutful of a Government, led by the vocal minority, selling out our hopes and dreams; a Government that was infected by a corrupt culture, which was attacking and abandoning the virtues and qualities of this once-great State.”

Again like many other parliamentarians, Barilaro’s backstory does not quite match up with what both mainstream media articles and his voting record reveal about him.

Although he probably came closest to uttering one particular unvarnished truth when he spoke with a Fairfax-Nine journalist recently: "Barilaro has defended pork barrelling for regional seats, even dubbing himself "Pork Barilaro"...."that's what people would expect from me"

Nor are many parliamentarians quick to publicly and loudly inform the electorate of exactly what they they disclosed to Parliament concerning their financial affairs.

So voters in NSW disturbed about the Nationals push for more logging on private rural land and increased vegetation clearing on agricultural land – seen by many concerned regional residents as a crafted backdoor to increased residential development on the fringes of existing towns and villages – never realise that the Nationals Leader insisting on this landowner 'right' is himself a property developer.

This is a basic outline of his business background since entering state politics......

At the present time John Barilaro appears to jointly own five properties, including Dungowan” a 94ha rural estate he & wife purchased for est. 2 million about six years ago & industrial land he owns with his brother on which the family had operated three companies.

"Dungowan" and its very extensive grounds have been operating as a 13-bed Airbnb villa since at least August 2014. Currently it charges $1,850.00/per night per person. A fact that to date is not yet attached to Barilaro's last publicly available online Register of Disclosures by Members of the Legislative Assembly 

The 'Estate' as a business is being managed by Barilaro's wife who seems to also act as official greeter for Airbnb guests and, this property would potentially generate est. $160,000 per year for Barialaro and his wife.

Previously Barilaro was joint owner of Ryleho Pty Ltd (presumed voluntarily deregistered in January 2019) & Ryleho Home Solutions Pty Ltd (voluntarily deregistered in September 2019). The third company on site Ryleho Group Pty Ltd now owned by his brother was sent into receivership by the Australian Tax Office - presumably for non-payment of taxes - in October 2019.

All three companies were involved in manufacturing timber products.

According to the last Register of Disclosures by Members of the Legislative Assembly form he lodged for 2018-19 Barilaro also has a beneficial interests in three trusts: the J & D Barilaro Family Trust, JJDA Trust and Kotsobola Group Unit Trust.

J & D Barilaro Family Trust conducted business at a location in NSW 2620 between August 2002 and the end of December 2019 according to the Australian Business Register (ABN) website. Presumably this trust was associated with Barilaro’s 50 per cent share in Ryleho Pty Ltd.

The JJDA Trust is associated with Domale Pty Ltd in which Barilaro’s wife has been sole director and company secretary since May 2010.

The Kotsobola Group Unit Trust is associated with Kotsobola Group Pty Ltd in which John Barilaro was one of four founding directors until March 2012 when his wife became a director in his place. This company’s purpose Barilaro described in 2014 as “Property Development”.

Another “Property Development” company Barilaro and his wife were at different time directors of was Euro Partners Pty Ltd. They appear to have been shareholders along with three other individuals up to the company’s reregistration in July 2016.

Barilaro’s Member’s Disclosure forms since entering state parliament also record he had held shares in at least five racehorses of which only two were currently listed in 2019.

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