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Forestry and mining operations on the Tiwi Islands

CHAIR (Senator Birmingham) —We welcome, as our next and final witness for today, Mr Vince Collins. Mr Collins and members of the committee, the committee is due to conclude at 11.30 this morning. Most of us have requirements to get back to our homes or other locations for other hearings, so we will need to be fairly prompt. We have received your submission as submission No. 5. Do you wish to make any amendments or alterations to your submission?

Mr Collins —No. The only thing I would like to emphasise is that what I am about to show before the committee is a whole heap of fraud.

CHAIR —Mr Collins, we invite you to make an opening statement, and I understand that during that statement you will submit a number of additional documents to the inquiry. You may begin when ready.

Mr Collins —I will read from an advertorial, because advertorials are what I am referring to, from the Sunday Territorian and Territory business magazine, fourth quarter, 1999, approved by the minister for the Northern Territory, Daryl Manzie. This is ‘Growing for export’. In the second paragraph here—you have a copy of it—it refers to Sylvatech, and it begins: ‘The project began in 1995 when Sylvatech visited Darwin while searching Australia for enough land to get their woodchip project off the ground. Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries Mick Palmer introduced the company to the Aboriginal Tiwi Islanders, who have had 50 years experience in forest production.’ This is his quote: ‘“I knew the Tiwis were pretty aggressive in terms of economic development,” Mr Palmer said, “and I knew that with the land title situation on the Tiwi Islands that it could clearly offer the land to a group like Sylvatech without the constraints you suffer in other areas.”’

If you go to a statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court with a caveat, you will see that the land title situation was that the Tiwi Land Council was already in a joint-venture partnership with Mr Hugo Middendorp. You will also see that Mr Mark Dreyfus QC, the member for Isaacs, represented Mr Hugo Middendorp. Mr Mark Dreyfus has stated that Mr John Hicks, secretary of the Tiwi Land Council—to me—perjured himself in the Federal Court in DG8 1996. The Tiwi land Council went on to ramp up a prospectus on the Canadian stock exchange for the production of my patented product, blue cypress oil, which was the official essence of the Sydney 2000 games.

The documentation before IP Australia under the petty patent states: ‘To whom it may concern’—and it is flagged for you here—‘I hereby declare that the document “Australian blue cypress” was created by me on 25 September 1995 and has been sent to many parts of the world and has been widely circulated within Australia. It is still in use today on updated stationery by our company today.’ That is dated 30 July 2001.

If you go to that document that I flagged, you will see that it is cogently—I can show you on face value that it is—a forged document. The Northern Territory knows it is a forged document or should have known it was a forged document, and so should the Tiwis. But that was not only done once; it was done twice. That is the section 28 notice, and you will also have before you the section 27 notice. Under section 12A of the Patents Act, chapter 2 of the federal Criminal Code applies. Therefore, for any document that is forged, it is up to 10 years. Any document that has a false statutory declaration is four years. He has done it twice. Not only that, the Northern Territory knew it, and so did the Tiwi Islands land council.

I will give you an example of the evidence you have before you. Here is another part of the evidence that the Northern Territory knew it and in fact even the directors of the Australian Cypress Oil Company knew it. You have got a copy of this: ‘The Australian Cypress Oil Company, Monday, 30 December 1996. To the Hon. MA Reed MLA, Deputy Chief Minister, Parliament House. Attention Gary Swanson. Application for exclusive harvesting rights to cypress pine at Howard Springs, Gunn Point and Radio Block. Dear Sir, Further to our meeting in Darwin on 20 December between Gary Swanson and representatives of the Tiwi Land Council Matthew Wonaeamirri, Walter Kerinaiua, Cyril Rioli’—and I will not say the other person’s name because they are dead—‘and John Hicks; Bill McGilvray, the chairman of the Australian Cypress Oil Company; Christopher Eddy, the managing director of the company; and Merv Haines, the company’s forestry director, a consultant, who also put in an affidavit in 1996, we take this opportunity to reiterate and expand on the point raised at the meeting and to formally apply for exclusive rights to harvest all of the Callitris intratropica from the above-mentioned plantations.’ It goes on: ‘Following initial suggestions by Mick Palmer in November 1995, the Tiwi Land Council and the company have entered into an agreement whereby the surviving plantations of cypress pine on Melville Island will be harvested over time to be processed for domestic and international cosmetic, pharmaceutical and fine chemical markets.’

Here is the minister of for primary industries, again, inducing people to break contracts. The testimony is there. But what actually happens? I tracked all this down. I followed it. I went like a dog. I tracked it all down. I have even got the government’s legal advice. People have lost lots of money. The Tiwis have lost lots of money. Investors that put in behind the Australian Cypress Oil Company have lost lots of money. The Northern Territory has lost lots of money. It is a straight-out prima facie case of fraud. But what have the Northern Territory offered me by deed? They broke my contract. I have got an interest in the land. I can still sue them. I had a profit a prendre to go upon the land at Howard Springs and take produce. There is no statute of limitations on an interest in the land. I can still sue them. They took me to the High Court to say it was highly valuable. Okay, so you have just gone to the High Court and said it is highly valuable. When I went to the High Court, I found out I am still open to have a go at them. I do not want to have a go at anyone. I just want to settle this and get on with my business and let the Tiwi people get on with their business.

The mediation is that they owed me a minimum of $375,000. The terms and conditions of that were: ‘By this deed, we, Vincent Joseph Collins, Maryann Collins and Mr Hugo Middendorp’—they wanted Mr Middendorp’s signature; what has he got to do with my breach of contract?—care of De Silva Hebron, Solicitors, 47 Knuckey Street, Darwin, Northern Territory, acknowledge that we received from the Northern Territory of Australia, State Square’—it goes on. It then says: ‘We accept that payment in full and final discharge of all actions, claims, costs, suits and demands of any nature that may now or hereafter have or claim to have loss for damage arising from in any way, whether directly or indirectly connected with, our claims against the territory arising from our patent to extract essential oils from cypress pine Callitris intratropica and access to Crown lands of the Northern Territory for the purposes of harvesting cypress pines. Such claims we release for ever and discharge the Northern Territory, its servants and agents from all such actions. We indemnify and will keep indemnifying’—they want me to indemnify them now!—‘the territory, its servants and agents from all actions, claims, costs, suits and demands of any nature’—of any nature!—‘that may be brought against it in any event by any person or any persons arising from in any way, whether directly or indirectly connected with, such claims. We agree that we will not divulge the contents of this deed to any person save as required by law or for the purposes of obtaining legal advice or taking legal action to enforce the terms of the settlement.’

I did not sign it, but when they gave it to me I hit the roof. This is the letter to my solicitor, and I will admit to this: ‘As you may be aware, since my facsimile message to you on 20 December 2003 enclosing a deed of release and indemnity for signature by Mr and Mrs Collins and Mr Middendorp, your client has made numerous telephone calls to the Attorney-General’s office, this office and others, many of them extremely abusive’—my oath, I was abusive; I did not have to be nice to them; someone is robbing me and I have to be nice to them?—‘alleging fraud, conspiracy, corruption et cetera. As a consequence of your client’s behaviour, it is clear to the Attorney that the execution of the deed by all three parties is necessary to protect the interests of the Northern Territory from further harassment, litigation or actions by or instigated by your client.’ It goes on. Do you have any questions?

CHAIR —I think Senator Crossin is going to start off here. But before that, I should just indicate that there are, in the statements you have just made and elsewhere, a number of issues raised that would bring about adverse comment procedures under the Senate standing orders, as has already been the case. We will review the opening statement as well. Where such comment has been made about other parties, they will be provided with an opportunity to respond accordingly.

Mr Collins —Natural justice is what they should be given.

Senator CROSSIN —I just want to try and drill down to some issues here. Your interest in the Tiwi Islands goes to the fact that you discovered and invented how to manufacture blue cypress oil.

Mr Collins —Correct.

Senator CROSSIN —As did somebody else at the same time, but you were able win the patent for that manufacturing process. Is that correct?

Mr Collins —They claimed that they invented it exactly on the same date as me. But I had it GC-MSed by Wollongbar Agricultural Institute. There is actually a full report written by the minister for primary industries in New South Wales. It is a full set of documents at Orange in the legal section of the department of agriculture. The Hon. Richard Amery, minister for primary industries, wrote to me.

Senator CROSSIN —But you were able to prove, after a period of many years, that in fact you now hold that patent. Is that correct?

Mr Collins —I was able to prove that that document was a lie under oath and that the document was a forgery.

Senator CROSSIN —But you now hold the patent?

Mr Collins —I hold the patent. It has had two challenges upon it and I still hold it.

Senator CROSSIN —So you put to us that the Tiwi Land Council and Mr Hicks were part of that forged document. Is that your claim?

Mr Collins —They knew that the document was forged. They should have known that the document was forged. It was their duty of care, as directors, to know that that was a forgery for taking money. This is an advertorial, not an editorial. There is Marius Puruntatameri taking a cheque.

Senator CROSSIN —So your claim to us is—

Mr Collins —Sorry, can I just finish? This is a month after the testimony is put up before IP Australia.

Senator CROSSIN —So a month after you were awarded your IP patent—

Mr Collins —No, I was challenged on the patent.

Senator CROSSIN —You were challenged?

Mr Collins —Yes.

Senator CROSSIN —A month after, you are saying, Tiwi Land Council directors received a cheque from another company for that patent and they should not have done that?

Mr Collins —Yes. It was from Howard Springs pine plantations.

Senator CROSSIN —What I want to actually ask you is whether you believe, with whatever the tree is that creates blue cypress oil—

Mr CollinsCallitris intratropica.

Senator CROSSIN —That’s right. Do you believe that there was a future for the Tiwis in perhaps planting more of that tree and producing blue cypress oil—that that was an industry that they would have benefited from?

Mr Collins —They had a fifty-fifty joint venture with Hugo Middendorp. They went from a fifty-fifty joint venture to only getting a five per cent royalty. That is stupid. That does not make economical sense. To go from a fifty-fifty joint venture down to a five per cent royalty—you have just cut your own throat.

Senator CROSSIN —So you are saying fifty-fifty with Hugo Middendorp would have been the blue cypress production, but instead they went to Sylvatech.

Mr Collins —No, they went to the Australian Cypress Oil Company, which is Bill McGilvray, which is here.

Senator CROSSIN —To your knowledge, where is that agreement now at?

Mr Collins —It fell over. It has fallen over because they could not raise the capital on the Canadian stock exchange.

Senator CROSSIN —So you would put to us that they were given bad advice.

Mr Collins —I am saying to you that the Northern Territory government led them down the garden path, John Hicks gave them bad advice, and their own solicitors gave them bad advice.

Senator CROSSIN —Can I ask then: are you saying that they knew it was a fraudulent document, it has never been investigated by the AFP and action has never been taken against the council in court?

Mr Collins —The AFP looked at it. If you go to IP Australia and pull the document—there is a file on IP Australia’s office—it says that Jeff Eyeliss of the Australian Federal Police, said, ‘It could have been just a computer-generated error.’ It was not a computer-generated error. He did it twice.

Senator CROSSIN —So you are suggesting to us that either IP Australia or the Australian Federal Police have not conducted a thorough investigation to the extent they should.

Mr Collins —IP Australia said to me—this is Dave Herald; he is now retired—‘We don’t care how much fraud there is, Mr Collins. We don’t care. We will never complain.’

Senator CROSSIN —Do you know why?

Mr Collins —Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code says they have to go forward. Also, under financial management and accountability, if you know about fraud—I think it is section 54—in another department, you are obligated to go forward.

Senator CROSSIN —In your submission you say that Great Southern Plantations have now bulldozed 890 hectares of Callitris intratropica. That is the blue cypress.

Mr Collins —Yes.

Senator CROSSIN —Do you know why they bulldozed that when that was obviously an asset that the Tiwis could have used?

Mr Collins —I have thought of this, and I thought: if you leave it up there, you are proving damages. Get rid of it. Doze it out. If you are named as a witness in testimony to IP Australia and you know that the testimony is false, and you have taken a cheque, you are aiding and abetting. You are now complicit.

Senator CROSSIN —So you are saying that if you actually get rid of the plantation you basically get rid of the evidence. Is that right?

Mr Collins —Yes, just get rid of it. We did not think it had any value. We dozed it out.

Senator CROSSIN —So none of those trees are now left on the island?

Mr Collins —There are some trees left on the island, I believe. If you go to the statement of claim or the caveat lodged in the Supreme Court, there was 1,500 hectares of Callitris intratropica. Of that, 890 hectares have been dozed out. It still could be a good industry for the Tiwis.

Senator CROSSIN —The crux of the issue, I think—for me, anyway, when I read your submission—is that your long and protracted case, apart from the struggle to get your patent and to get some fair compensation, you put to us that the Tiwi Islanders were given bad advice in terms of their involvement in the cypress oil industry.

Mr Collins —Correct.

Senator CROSSIN —We have now heard that, after eight or nine shipments, the Tiwi Islanders have had no return on the profit. They are just getting paid money from the rent of the land so far. It is building up to me that this is also a replication of not a sustainable industry. Your evidence points to me that there is a history of bad advice and a lack of thorough investigation into the profitability of what is happening on the island.

Mr Collins —That is correct.

Senator CROSSIN —Do you want to add any comments to that?

Mr Collins —I believe that Mr John Hicks, if you look at the documents that were tabled with my submission—they were also tabled on 18 February 1999 in the legislative assembly here—there is a prima facie case of Mr Hicks, Secretary of the Tiwi Island Lands Council, with a conflict of interest. He even said, ‘If Vince Collins gets to hear about this it will be devastating.’ Why am I so scary to Mr Hicks? You read the documents that you have in your submissions. He says, ‘If Vince Collins gets to hear about this it will be devastating for us.’ What is so devastating about little old me? I know what happened, that is what is so devastating.

Senator CROSSIN —If people actually put aside your individual quest for justice and your compensation for discovering how to patent blue cypress oil, do you believe that there is a case for this Senate committee to look at a thorough, independent analysis of the forestry project on the island and its economic future?

Mr Collins —I think that, and I also think that there should be a thorough investigation of where the money has gone, what the secretary did, the advice that he has given and the evidence of what these directors, who had fiduciary duty, have done. Morris Rioli told me that he knows that Hicks bribes people. Mr Middendorp was induced to—

Senator CROSSIN —You need to be careful about your evidence before us. My question is: do you think there is a need to have a thorough investigation about the viability of the forestry project?

Mr Collins —Yes, and also of the management of the Tiwi.

Senator CROSSIN —Thanks.

Senator SIEWERT —I am still struggling to accept that there was such an obvious difference between what the Tiwi could make out of your proposal and the one they subsequently accepted. As I understand it, there was a fifty-fifty deal with Middendorp and a five per cent royalty deal with the Australian Cypress Oil Company. Wouldn’t it have been obvious to everybody that the fifty-fifty deal would be better?

Mr Collins —It would be, but they were being coerced to get rid of Middendorp and to bring in Sylvatech.

Senator SIEWERT —So you think it was about giving Sylvatech access.

Mr Collins —It was about giving Sylvatech access, and the Australian Cypress Oil Company came along at the same time. The Australian Cypress Oil Company could wedge the Northern Territory, Sylvatech and the Tiwis—they were in the box seat. We told Middendorp, ‘You’ll never get rid of them.’ They knew, but it was also the advice that they got. Mr John Hicks is a class-three lawyer and he is their internal lawyer. You are entitled to take advice from your lawyer. Mr Hicks was telling them, ‘Don’t give Vince Collins any credibility.’ They had already done the deal with the Olympics. It looked pretty good, but the biggest thing was that they thought it was Baker and Smith. It did looked pretty good to them, but the problem was that it was not what Mr McGilvray said it was. It was the intellectual property of me and my wife, not his or anyone else’s.

Senator SIEWERT —Is it your proposition that they could not have had Sylvatech and your—

Mr Collins —They could have had all three. They could have had Sylvatech, they could have had a cypress pine industry, they could have kept the Pinus caribea—they could have kept the lot. The evidence is that they were making $300,000 a year from the Pinus caribea, which has now been dozed out. They had 10 jobs out of the Pinus caribea, and that is in the Tiwi Islands economic development strategy, November 1996. It says: ‘The forest has been generating income of $300,000 per annum. However, this timber production has continued through protracted foresters and millers. Technical reports prepared by the Land Council have shown that the current forest operation is not financially viable.’ Those reports were filed by Sylvatech.

Senator SIEWERT —I struggle to understand why Tiwi would make such an apparently financially disastrous decision to exclude one company to benefit the other when they could have had both. They could have had Sylvatech and—

Mr Collins —They could have had all three. There is no problem with that.

Senator SIEWERT —What is in it for them or particular individuals to not have all three? I do not get it.

Mr Collins —I do not get it either. They got very bad advice.

Senator SIEWERT —Sorry if I do not understand this clearly, but how did Mr McGilvray get your intellectual property?

Mr Collins —From Mike Russell from Wollongbar Agricultural Institute, New South Wales. It is clearly documented. Mike Russell actually told him. I was dollar-for-dollar for a business plan by the Northern Territory government. I was doing a business plan, and the next thing I told Mike Russell, of Wollongbar Agricultural Institute, the peak body of Australian essential oils. I was doing the business plan, and he told, in confidence, Bill McGilvray. The next thing he is up here. I told Mick Palmer. Mick Palmer contacted Bill McGilvray and the next thing it took off. The next thing is that I was summonsed to Parliament House—I have witnesses that this happened. I was summonsed downstairs and told that they were going to break my contract. The words were, ‘Vince, don’t think you’ve stubbed your toe on a gold nugget. Talk to these fellows; they’re going to cut you in.’ This is the day they are over on the Tiwi Islands, 22 November 1995. A friend of mine, Peter Horton, who comes up in the ministerial memorandum, still has the permit. He took them over. He went over there. He represented Mr McGilvray. Mick Palmer said, ‘Don’t think you’ve stubbed your toe on a gold nugget.’

Then Hicks told Peter Horton, PR Horton, who comes up in a ministerial memorandum, ‘They’re going to get rid of the dutchman’. Those were the words. ‘They’re going to get rid of Middendorp. Keep your mouth shut; we going to get rid of him.’ So Hicks took them over there. This happened that day. But getting back to what happened, I said, ‘What about my contract,’ and he said, ‘That’s $250,000, Vince, and you haven’t got the money to fight us.’ I said, ‘What about my intellectual property?’ He said, ‘That’s another $250,000, Vince. You ain’t got the money’—and he used the word ‘ain’t, real gangster style. I was stood over by Mick Palmer and Alan Sprigg and a person who saw me walk into that office was Noel Pageant Purick, an ex MLA. She saw me. I ran down to my solicitors. There are all sorts of other things—solicitors that were not my solicitors—it is just an absolute mess. The people who have suffered from this are the Tiwis, my family, the investors who put in money in good faith to the Australian Cypress Oil Company—they have all suffered under this. Over $3 million has gone to the investors that went out.

Senator SIEWERT —This is an extremely naive question—and I am aware of that—but Australian Blue Cypress no longer operates?

Mr Collins —The Australian Cypress Oil Company still functions. It is still out there.

Senator SIEWERT —But it is not operating on the Tiwi?

Mr Collins —They may be getting timber off the Tiwi Islands; I do not know. If you go to Bill McGilvray’s website, it still says his timber is coming off Melville Island.

Senator SIEWERT —In other words, Tiwi may still have a relationship with them.

Mr Collins —‘May’—they may have a relationship; I do not know.

Senator SIEWERT —So they may still be making royalties.

Mr Collins —There may be logs coming off.

Senator SIEWERT —So they would still be getting the five per cent royalty.

Mr Collins —I do not think so. If you knew that, then the Tiwi Lands Council report should show it. But, if they are, it should be shown on that. If you do go, the one with Johnny Howard on the front of it showed that the Tiwis—it does not say anything about it; this is how I got it—got $130,000-odd in royalty from blue cypress oil.

Senator SIEWERT —And that is it?

Mr Collins —That is it. But they were not entitled to it for a number of reasons. The royalties are in breach—under the Northern Territory Land Rights Act, anything over $100,000 or 10 years needs the express permission of the federal minister. Senator Vanstone wrote to Senator Trish Crossin and said they did not have permission. They broke the land rights act.

Senator SIEWERT —If they are still getting money, potentially—we need to follow it up from the Australian Cypress Oil Company, my next question was going to be: if that has fallen over what—other than the animosity, which I appreciate—is to stop you going back to establish a relationship. I realise there is an animosity there.

Mr Collins —I have no problem with the Tiwi people. I have a problem with Mr John Hicks and the Tiwi Land Council. The Tiwi people are fairly good people, but if you make an enemy of them, they will fight you to the death. That is the situation.

CHAIR —We will bring proceedings to a close today. I would like to seek the agreement of members of the committee present that the evidence we have just heard from Mr Collins at this stage be taken as in camera. It is not my intention that it not ultimately be published, but we will need to go back over it and review it for the types of issues that could rise out of it regarding statements made about other individuals as well as ensuring that the issues are germane to this inquiry. We will consider those matters at the first available opportunity for the committee and treat the evidence appropriately, as I said at the outset, providing people with the opportunity to respond to those issues where appropriate. Firstly, can I seek the feelings and views of other members of the committee to allow us to treat Mr Collins’s evidence for the time being as in camera.

Senator TROETH —Moved.

CHAIR —I will take that as a motion from Senator Troeth to that effect. All those in favour, against: carried. To all people present including members in the public gallery that does mean that the statements made by Mr Collins should be treated confidentially until such time as the committee makes the decision to publish all or parts of Mr Collins’s statement and evidence. If you have any questions about that please feel free to approach anyone of us or the secretary at the conclusion of today’s proceedings. We also have the documents that have been received today. We will consider the acceptance of those and tabling of them as additional documents to the inquiry at the same time as we deal with the issues relating to Mr Collins’s evidence. That brings to a close today’s proceedings and the three days of hearings that we have held in Darwin and on the Tiwi Islands yesterday. Once again I extend my thanks to all of those who have participated. There will be further hearings of this inquiry. We again thank the Tiwi people for their hospitality yesterday and the parliament of the Northern Territory for their hospitality today and on Monday.

The document read as follows—

Dr Ian Holland Secretary Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts PO Box 6100 Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Submissions concerning IP Australia made to the inquiry into forestry and mining operations on the Tiwi Islands

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to submissions made to the inquiry by Mr Vince Collins concerning IP Australia.

IP Australia is the agency responsible for administering Australia's intellectual property (IP) rights system, specifically trade marks, inventions (patents), designs and plant breeder's rights. It operates as a prescribed agency within the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio.

IP Australia's records indicate that Vincent and Maryann Collins applied for two standard patents and one petty patent related to the extraction of essential oils from the genus Callitris, more commonly know as the Cyprus Pine. Of these, standard patent number 742711 remains in force subject to the payment of renewal fees and covers a method of obtaining blue guaiazulene containing oil from a mixture of the bark and wood of Callitris Intratropica.

A related petty patent, No. 723540, was granted in 2000 (under the previous petty patent scheme) and in 2001-2002 was the subject of proceedings before the Commissioner of Patents in which a Mr Bill McGilvray sought to challenge the validity of the petty patent and oppose its extension. These proceedings were determined on 6 June 2002 with the Commissioner's delegate deciding that the evidence did not support a finding of invalidity and that the term of the petty patent should be extended. This decision is available at httn://www.austlii.cdtatdatileaseskth/AP0200223.html. Subsequently, Mr and Mrs Collins surrendered the petty patent to allow grant of the standard patent to proceed.

In the proceedings, and in the earlier examination of the petty patent application, Mr Collins had concerns about a document exhibited by Mr McGilvray that was said to be evidence of earlier disclosure of the invention. The issue was that a version of the particular document exhibited contained phone numbers that only came into existence after the disclosure was said to have been made. The Commissioner's delegate referred to these inconsistencies in his decision ([441450]) but did not give significant weight to the evidence and otherwise found it insufficient to establish invalidity.

Mr Collins however made a number of verbal representations to II' Australia at the time, and subsequently, requesting that IP Australia initiate a prosecution against Mr McGilvray on the basis of alleged fraud and misrepresentation in relation to his evidence. Mr Collins appears to have informed IP Australia of a Federal Police investigation into the matter in June 2000 and, while it is not possible to determine from the records precisely what was said by Mr Herald to Mr Collins concerning this, it appears he indicated to Mr Collins that IP Australia would cooperate with any investigation but did not consider it was appropriate for it to take the matter further itself. This was particularly so given IP Australia's role in adjudicating the proceedings between the Collinses and Mr McGilvray then underway.

It is also apparent that the Federal Police did not consider the matter as requiring further action on its part and in subsequent contacts with IP Australia, Mr Collins has been consistently informed that IP Australia would take no further action in relation to allegations made by him.

Nevertheless, in 2005 the then Director General of IP Australia ordered a separate investigation by the Audit, Evaluation and Governance Section of IP Australia and in a letter to Mr Collins on 11 May 2005 reported that the allegations of fraud were not sustainable and that IP Australia would not be pursuing any further investigation of the matter. In particular, the review found that there was no evidence of a deliberate attempt to mislead the delegate in the petty patent proceedings, that the delegate did not give the particular document significant weight and that it did not affect the outcome of proceedings which in any event were resolved in Mr Collins favour.

IP Australia therefore considers that the allegations of fraud so far as concerning proceedings before IP Australia have been fully considered and that the matter is now closed.

Yours sincerely [signed] Philip Noonan Director General

Committee adjourned at 11.28 am