The Auditor-General responded on 12 July 2019 to correspondence from Senator Mehreen Faruqi dated 3 July 2019, requesting that the Auditor-General conduct an investigation to examine the Live Exports Branch of the Department of Agriculture. The request for audit related to allegations of mismanagement and falsification of official records.
12 July 2019
Senator Mehreen Faruqi
Senator for NSW
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Senator Faruqi
I am writing in response to your letter of 3 July 2019 requesting the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) conduct an examination of the Live Exports Branch of the Department of Agriculture with regard to allegations of mismanagement and falsification of official records.
The ANAO’s 2019–20 Annual Audit Work Program includes a potential performance audit topic titled Regulation of live animal exports. This audit, if commenced, would examine the effectiveness of the Department of Agriculture’s regulation of the treatment and handling of export livestock, including the department’s implementation of recommendations from the Review of the Regulatory Capability and Culture of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in the Regulation of Live Animal Exports and the Independent Review of Conditions for the Export of Sheep to the Middle East During the Northern Hemisphere Summer.
The work program includes 89 potential performance audit and assurance review topics, and provides details about our in-progress performance audit and assurance work. Throughout the year, I consider these identified audit priorities, recent developments in the public sector, requests for audit, and resourcing and decide which audits will commence.
If you would like to subscribe to receive updates on the status of the audit, this can be done through the following link: https://www.anao.gov.au/work/performance-audit/regulation-live-animal-exports.
Correspondence from Senator Mehreen Faruqi
Transcript of letter from Senator Faruqi
Mr Grant Hehir
Australian National Audit Office
GPO Box 707
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Dear Mr Hehir
I am writing to you to request that the Australian National Audit Office conduct an examination of the Live Exports Branch of the Department of Agriculture in light of allegations of mismanagement and falsification of official records.
As you may be aware, the then Minister for Agriculture, Mr David Littleproud MP, commissioned ‘The Independent Review of the Regulatory Capability and Culture of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in the Regulation of Live Animal Exports’ in April 2018. The review was conducted by Mr Philip Moss AM and identified allegations made against seven individuals relating to the deliberate suppression of claims of poor animal welfare by departmental staff. A subsequent review into these claims, the Lawler Review, was unable to properly investigate these claims. As such, the claims remain uninvestigated, severely undermining public confidence in the Live Exports branch of the Department of Agriculture.
I am also aware of at least one former employee of the Live Exports branch that has raised allegations of mismanagement that have not been fully investigated by the Moss Review, the Lawler Review or by the Department.
I believe that an Auditor-General’s investigation is required to assess the performance, systems and integrity of the Live Exports Branch. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my office for further information.
SENATOR FOR NSW
AUSTRALIAN GREENS SPOKESPERSON FOR ANIMAL WELFARE