John Barilaro
John Barilaro (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

For the past few weeks all eyes have been on the NSW trade commissioner job in New York. But the position that John Barilaro will never have is just one of many roles in which Australians are sent abroad by state governments to encourage trade and investment. Crikey takes a look at who and where taxpayer money has been invested by each state for trade and investment commissioners.

Queensland has the most, with a remarkable 12 foreign positions, Victoria has five (eight if you include the three people in charge of overseas offices that forgo “commissioner” in their title), South Australia has seven, WA has five. Tasmania prefers to call their four positions “trade advocates”. NSW currently has six overseas “hubs”, all posts which were finalised in June.

Very few of these are actually "jobs for mates" -- they're usually experienced trade and investment public servants or former business figures who have extensive experience in the country or region they're responsible for.