November 2021: Armidale (NSW) Senior staff member of APVMA urinates on Staff

Executive at Australia’s pesticides authority allegedly urinated on staff at function, Senate hears

Agriculture minister Murray Watt says he is seeking an ‘urgent briefing’ over the alleged 2021 incident

A senior staff member at the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is alleged to have urinated on staff members at a function in Armidale in late 2021, Senate estimates has heard.

He has now resigned, according to the APVMA’s chief executive officer, Lisa Croft, who was questioned about the incident at Tuesday’s hearing.

Croft confirmed that she was “aware of an incident” but denied it had happened at the APVMA’s Christmas party, as Green’s senator Peter Whish-Wilson had suggested in his question.

She said it had occurred “in a private capacity not at a work function”.

Croft admitted other staff had raised it with her, but it had not been the subject of a formal complaint.

“I understand that the people directly involved wanted me to be aware of the matter. There was no official complaint made,” Croft said.

She confirmed there had been discussions with HR and that the staff member – a member of the executive team – resigned soon after the event.

Whish-Wilson asked Croft whether there had been complaints of sexual harassment or bullying. Croft said she was not aware of any formal complaints or of three female staff making sexual harassment complaints.

The agriculture minister, Murray Watt, said he would be “seeking an urgent briefing”.

“These are obviously very concerning questions. It is certainly the first time I have heard about it,” he said.

The APVMA is the federal government agency responsible for approving registration of pesticides and other agricultural and veterinary chemicals.