'The department has failed as a regulator.' This is the beginning of the draft report provided to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on 17 December 2018. Ten days later, when the final version was released by the minister, those words had been removed. How could this happen in an independent review of a Dept? How could the Dept have been allowed to influence an independent review into THEIR behaviour and capability?
Was Moss forced to make this concession, despite the fact that the final version still stated "On occasions, in our view, reportable mortality reports were revised or redrafted to dilute or expunge findings which adversely reflected on the regulatory framework.”?
Now Latika Bourke from SMH reports that a Department of Agriculture officer suspected of falsifying at least one report of deaths on a live export ship will not be investigated after the government's review into potential corruption inside the department stalled.
What is not stated is the fact that the Lawler Inquiry which was supposed to interview past and present employees of DAWR (“I plead with anyone who has been in the animal welfare branch to come forward and give evidence so I can clean this culture up,” the minister said.) refused to interview past employees...despite the pleading from at least one those former employees.
The one thing for sure is that no-one is in any doubt that DAWR failed as a regulator due to incompetence, culture AND corruption as VALE has always maintained. The very astute Mehreen Faruqi, is all over this and not likely to let up.
NOTE 1: DAWR are still officially clinging to their 2.51% mortality on the Al Messilah (Report 65) which had a 4.36% mortality voyage, even to the extent that independent observer reports contain that figure (with a comment about a number of unexplained losses!) and the parliamentary report has remained unchanged despite the revision of the original mortality investigation report that occurred after VALE's challenge.
NOTE 2: the culture in the DAWR has changed not one iota since the Moss Inquiry - reasonable FOI requests still blocked as per usual and VALE has noted the sanitisation of the Independent Observer Report Summaries.