Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is standing by his most senior public servant following revelations he went into business last year with the family of disgraced NSW Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid.
Jon Grayson, the director-general of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, was one of six shareholders of Gasfields Water and Waste Services.
He sat on the board with the son and nephew of Mr Obeid, a former NSW minister who has been implicated by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for using his standing as a Labor factional warlord to advance his commercial interests.
The company incorporated in May after ICAC raised questions about Australian Water Holdings’ billing arrangements with state utility Sydney Water.
But Mr Newman said he had spoken to Mr Grayson about his business interests, published in The Australian on Thursday, which the premier insisted had been “fully declared”.
“I do make the point that he has been not been involved in any way, shape or form with any sort of decision that would have enriched himself or indeed this particular company,” he told Fairfax radio on Thursday.
“He declared them to me. He also declared them to the integrity commissioner and I frankly do not see anything new in this story.”
The premier described Mr Grayson as a “top public servant,” adding he had “absolutely” spoken to him about the revelations aired in ICAC.
Mr Grayson had interests in infrastructure firms and investment banking firms before he was chosen as Mr Newman’s most senior public servant in 2012.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says there have been some serious issues raised with the premier’s hand-picked director-general.
“I think he needs to give a full explanation as to what his involvement was,” Ms Palaszczuk said.