Procedures for public interest disclosures

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The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) promotes integrity and accountability in the Australian public sector by encouraging the disclosure of information about suspected wrongdoing, protecting people who make disclosures and requiring agencies to act.

Treasury encourages the reporting of wrongdoing under the PID Act and will act on disclosures where appropriate and protect disclosers from all reprisal action or threats of reprisals because of making a disclosure.

Purpose

The purpose of the PID Act is to:

  • encourage and facilitate public interest disclosures by public officials
  • ensure public officials who make public interest disclosures are supported and protected from adverse consequences
  • ensure disclosures by public officials are properly investigated and dealt with.

What is a internal public interest disclosure

 

When a public official (s69)
(current or former)
discloses information (s26) about disclosable
conduct (s29)
to an authorised
internal recipient (s34)
they receive
protection
  • public servants and parliamentary service officers
  • service providers under a Commonwealth contract
  • Defence Force members
  • Australian Federal Police appointees
  • statutory office holders
  • staff of Commonwealth companies
  • individuals taken to be public officials
The information tends to show, or the public official believes on reasonable grounds that the information tends to show disclosable conduct
  • conduct engaged in by an agency, public official or contracted service provider

   and

  • involves illegal conduct, corruption, maladministration, abuse of public trust, deception relating to scientific research, waste of public money, unreasonable danger to health or safety, danger to the environment, or abuse of position or grounds for disciplinary action
  • principal officer or authorised officer of own agency, agency where the public official previously belonged, or agency to which the disclosable conduct relates
  • supervisor or manager
  • Commonwealth Ombudsman
  • IGIS (if the matter relates to an intelligence agency)
Protection from:

  • reprisal (ss 14-16 and 19)
  • exposure of their identity (ss 20 and 21)
  • civil, criminal or administrative liability (s10)

 

It does not matter whether disclosable conduct occurred before or after 15 January 2014, when the PID Act came into force.

Who can make a PID

The following people can make a public interest disclosure:

  • a person who is a current or former 'public official' can make a PID, including:

    • all current and former Australian Public Service employees, members of the Defence Force, Australian Federal Police appointees, Parliamentary Service employees, directors or staff members of a Commonwealth company, statutory office holders or other persons who exercise powers under a Commonwealth law
    • contracted service providers and their employees.

Managing disclosures

The PID Act focuses on the reporting and investigating of wrongdoing within government. It covers internal, external and emergency disclosures and disclosures to legal practitioners.

Pursuant to subsection 59(1) of the PID Act, to assist in managing any occurrences in the Treasury that fall within the definition of public interest disclosures, the Secretary established the Procedures for Public Interest Disclosures.

These procedures relate only to internal disclosures, that is, disclosures to authorised internal recipients of disclosures or supervisors or managers of disclosers.

Treasury’s process for managing public interest disclosures is outlined in the How to assess a potential Public Interest Disclosure flowchart.

Download the How to assess a potential Public Interest Disclosure flowchart [156KB].

Avenues to disclose

To gain the protections available under the PID Act disclosures must be made to an appropriate person.

Treasury’s authorised officers under the PID Act are:

  • The Secretary
  • Deputy Secretary, Corporate and Foreign Investment Group
  • Assistant Secretary, Executive Coordination and Governance
  • Director, Risk and Governance

You can email disclosures and enquiries to Treasury’s authorised officers at PID@treasury.gov.au.

Alternatively, you can send your public interest disclosure to:
Director, Risk and Governance
The Treasury
Langton Crescent
Parkes ACT 2600
Australia

Portfolio agencies

Treasury’s procedures apply to the following portfolio agencies, and if you have information about suspected wrongdoing in these agencies you should contact:

Other Commonwealth entities

If you have information about suspected wrongdoing in a Commonwealth entity other than Treasury, you should contact an authorised officer in that agency.

Additional information

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is responsible for administering the PID scheme across all Commonwealth agencies.

The PID Act focuses on the reporting and investigating of wrongdoing within government but allows for reporting outside government in specified limited circumstances.

Additional information is available at: