External investigation underway on claims aired on ABC
30 November 2021
The VicForests Board of Directors has commissioned an external investigation into claims made public last week.
The investigation is underway to identify any evidence to confirm or refute historical allegations that VicForests engaged a private investigator in 2010 and 2011 to surveil environmental activist Sarah Rees.
The claims made do not reflect the culture, the values or the people of VicForests.
VicForests has engaged RSM Australia an experienced, diligent and highly commended external agency to conduct the investigation and produce a report that will be made publicly available.
RSM regularly performs Fraud and Forensic Services work for a range of clients in a range of sectors including forensic investigations.
VicForests will be making no further comment on this matter as the investigation is ongoing.
Update – 5 April 2022 – VicForests’ response to surveillance allegations
Matters arising from the independent investigation have been referred by VicForests to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.
Update – 5 May 2022
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission have considered the referral by VicForests and has referred the matter to the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner for investigation.
VicForests will be making no further comment.
Update - 17 January 2023
The independent forensic investigation conducted by RSM Australia did not identify any evidence that VicForests engaged an investigator to conduct surveillance on an activist.