Public interest disclosures

Overview

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) is the legislative scheme for the reporting and investigation of allegations of serious wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector. The PID Act also provides protections for public officials who make disclosures in accordance with the PID Act. 

The objectives of the PID Act are:

  • to promote the integrity and accountability of the Commonwealth public sector;
  • to encourage and facilitate the making of public interest disclosures by public officials;
  • to ensure that public officials who make public interest disclosures are supported and protected from adverse consequences relating to the disclosures; and
  • to ensure that disclosures by public officials are properly investigated and dealt with.

Who can make a public interest disclosure?

Current and former public officials may make a public interest disclosure.  This relevantly includes:

  • APS employees;
  • individuals employed by any Commonwealth companies, authorities, statutory agencies and the Parliamentary service;
  • statutory officeholders; and
  • contracted service providers to the Commonwealth and anyone employed by them.

Types of wrongdoing covered by the PID Act

Under the PID Act, disclosers may disclose information that tends to show or they believe on reasonable grounds tends to show the following types of alleged wrongdoing: 

  • contravention of a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory;
  • perverting or attempting to pervert the course of justice;
  • corruption;
  • maladministration;
  • abuse of public trust;
  • fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or deception in scientific research;
  • conduct that results in the wastage of public money or property;
  • unreasonable danger (or risk of danger) to health or safety;
  • danger (or risk of danger) to the environment;
  • abuse of position; and
  • conduct which could, if proved, give reasonable grounds for disciplinary action against a public official.

Conduct is not disclosable conduct if it relates only to a disagreement with policies or proposed policies of the Government or expenditure relating to such a policy or action taken or proposed to be taken by a Minister.

How to make a public interest disclosure

Public interest disclosures can be made orally or in writing:

  • by an employee to their supervisor; or
  • to an Authorised Officer of the department (if the discloser belongs, or belonged, to the department or the disclosure relates to the department).

There are only very limited circumstances in which public interest disclosures can be made to other persons. 

If you are a current or former public official and wish to make a public interest disclosure to an Authorised Officer you can do so by emailing PID@infrastructure.gov.au. Please note, this inbox is only for emails related to public interest disclosures and should not be used for other purposes.   

Alternatively, you can call 1800 075 001 and ask to be transferred to one of the Authorised Officers listed below.

The department's Authorised Officers are:

  • David Mackay
  • Jessica Hall
  • Daniel Caruso
  • Adam Stankevicius
  • Melissa Cashman
  • Tiffany Karlsson

If you wish to make a disclosure by mail, please address the correspondence as follows:

‘CONFIDENTIAL – for addressee only’

To the Authorised Officer [or insert name of nominated Authorised Officer]

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts

GPO Box 594

CANBERRA ACT 2601

If you wish to direct the public interest disclosure to a particular Authorised Officer, please ensure your correspondence is addressed to, or you request to be transferred to, that officer.

You can make a disclosure anonymously if you wish.  However, if you do not provide a point of contact, it may be difficult to investigate the disclosure and communicate with you.

PID procedures

Read more

You can read more about public interest disclosures, including about responsibilities and protections for disclosers on the Commonwealth Ombudsman's website.