This investigation arose from a complaint made by the Hon Ivan Dean MLC in October 2016. It followed an earlier complaint by Mr Dean to Tasmania Police regarding potential criminal conduct.
The complaint to the Commission alleged that employees of the Fox Free Taskforce (2002–2006) and Fox Eradication Program (2007–2011), or from the administering department (Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (DPIWE)) fabricated or falsified, or knowingly misrepresented (including by omission), evidence of foxes living in Tasmania in order to ensure the ongoing funding and continuation of the fox programs. The allegations, if proven, could amount to a breach of the code of conduct provided in the State Service Act 2000.
The complaint also alleged that the (then) Minister for Primary Industries, Water and the Environment, the Hon David Llewellyn MP, failed to manage a conflict of interest given he was at the time also Minister for Police and Emergency Management. It was alleged that the Minister improperly favoured DPIWE concerns about the existence of foxes in Tasmania over evidence to the contrary obtained in a police investigation carried out in 2001.
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