FORMER police and primary industries minister David Llewellyn, who oversaw the rise of the Fox Taskforce in the early 2000s, has rejected allegations of criminality within the government body.
The Fox Taskforce was established in 2002 to safeguard the state against an impending fox problem.
The agency would go on to spend about $50 million, but no irrefutable proof of their existence on the island was found.
On Monday, Windermere independent MLC and former police commander Ivan Dean presented a 150-page report to Tasmania Police and the state’s corruption watchdog, the Integrity Commission.
The report contains a leaked government document that raises questions about the legitimacy of the taskforce, the funding it obtained and the fox material it found on the island.
Police are considering an investigation.
Mr Llewellyn – now an opposition member of Parliament – said on Monday: ‘‘I completely reject any suggestion that evidence was fabricated.
‘‘The scientific evidence presented to me was compelling regarding the existence of foxes in Tasmania.’’
Opposition Leader Bryan Green, who was ministerially responsible for the taskforce after Mr Llewellyn, acknowledged the report and said the Labor Party would co-operate if police chose to investigate.
‘‘As minister, the scientific advice I received supported the existence of foxes in Tasmania and justified the robust eradication program put in place,’’ he said.
‘‘No suggestion of wrongdoing was ever put to me.’’
The Tasmanian Greens backed the need for a fox eradication program in 2010 when it formed government with the Labor Party.
Greens environment spokeswoman Rosalie Woodruff said: ‘‘The risk of foxes in Tasmania is such a great threat to wildlife that taking a precautionary approach to making sure they don’t establish has been entirely justified.
‘‘We are confident in Tasmanian Police’s ability to respond appropriately to any claim of criminal conduct.’’
Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff, who took over ministerial responsibility for the taskforce in 2014, said the Liberal party decided to change the agency’s direction.
‘‘We disbanded the Fox Taskforce and that money has been reinvested into areas of priority,’’ he said.
‘‘Determining criminality is a matter for police, not government, and scientific opinion is for the scientific community to debate. If it is determined that an investigation is required, of course the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment would co-operate.’’