Maria Island ferry tender process under investigation by the Integrity Commission

Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff
Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff

Both the state’s Premier and Deputy Premier say they were unaware a senior public servant subverted a tender process regarding the Maria Island ferry’s operation, which resulted in a police investigation.

Parks and Wildlife Service general manager Peter Mooney in June last year stood down from his role after 39 years’ employment with the agency, including 12 years leading it.

This was in the same month that a police investigation finished, after he sent an email with advice and suggestions to a business competing for the ferry contract.

The investigation found no crime had been committed.

Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff said he wasn't aware of the matter until it was reported on by the ABC on Monday, arguing it didn’t fall within his ministerial responsibilities.

"Probity in tender processes is very important and the tender process was halted as a result of some of the actions and the business involved of course wasn't the successful tender of the day," he said.

Premier Will Hodgman has also denied having any knowledge of the event before Monday.

The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment said the tender process was suspended on the day it was informed of an allegation that the process had been interfered with.

The department then moved to ensure Mr Mooney was not part of the tender assessment process, and that all applicants were informed of the situation and invited to resubmit their applications.

The department said the allegation was also referred to the Integrity Commission.

Labor’s Scott Bacon said the denial of knowledge from Mr Hodgman and Mr Rockliff was beyond belief.

“There is no way in the world that the Premier and the Deputy Premier didn’t know about this scandal when you see a referral to the Integrity Commission, a police investigation, and a senior public servant resign.”

He said the public service had a “culture problem” at present, following the resignation of Greg Johannes and an Auditor-General report questioning some state service recruitment practices.