Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward has refused to appear before a parliamentary inquiry into whether she misled the NSW Parliament over the number of child protection workers in her department.
Ms Goward was invited to appear before the select committee on ministerial propriety by Shooters and Fishers Party MP Robert Borsak, the chairman of the committee.
The minister consistently maintained in Parliament that her department had around 2000 caseworkers, when in fact more than 200 of those positions were unfilled, saving the department up to $25 million a year.
Mr Borsak said he was disappointed to receive a letter on Monday saying Ms Goward would not attend the inquiry. He encouraged her to come to "clarify her position".
A spokesman for Ms Goward told Fairfax Media the minister "won't be adding to the significant volume of commentary already devoted to the issue".
The committee has no power to compel the minister to attend.
Ms Goward, a former journalist, is on the record advocating increased transparency.
A media statement she released in March said: “In Opposition, we promised increased transparency and accountability. Since day one the Liberals & Nationals Government has been delivering."
Earlier this month, the NSW Opposition asked Ms Goward in Parliament whether she would appear before the inquiry. She said Labor had already asked her more than 50 questions on the issue of child protection workers.
"Those opposite are asking me questions about asking me questions ... Maybe those opposite are suggesting that the answers are too complicated and too confusing," she said.
"I will not be lectured by the failed former minister and the morally bankrupt Labor Party."
Last month, Premier Barry O'Farrell pre-empted Ms Goward's invitation to attend the inquiry by saying none of his ministers would be required to appear.
But bureaucrats including the head of the Department of Family and Community Services, Michael Coutts-Trotter, appeared at its first hearing when a picture emerged of a dysfunctional department.
Mr Coutts-Trotter was forced to admit the department, which is charged with helping more than 60,000 children at serious risk of harm, couldn't keep track of its own staff.