The Public Interest Disclosure Act
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (the Act) aims to make the Commonwealth public sector more accountable and promote integrity.
- encourages public officials to report suspected wrongdoing in the public sector
- protects those who make disclosures from negative consequences (such as bullying and harassment)
- makes sure disclosures are properly investigated
What can you disclose?
Disclosable conduct includes conduct that:
- is against a law
- is corrupt
- wastes public funds or property
- abuses public trust
- unreasonably endangers health, safety and the environment
- is unjust, oppressive or negligent
It also includes misconduct related to scientific research, analysis or advice.
Who can make a disclosure?
Any current or former public official can make a disclosure.
Public officials include:
- Australian Government public servants and parliamentary service employees
- members of the Defence force
- staff and directors of Commonwealth companies
- statutory office holders
- staff of service providers under contract to the Commonwealth
How to make a disclosure
Public interest disclosures can be made in person, by phone or in writing to:
- the secretary (or principal officer) of an agency
- an authorised officer in the department (we have appointed about 20 authorised officers to manage the disclosures we receive)
- a supervisor or manager
- the Commonwealth Ombudsman
You can stay anonymous. We will not give your identifying information to anyone without your consent, unless it is authorised by the Act.
What happens next?
When we receive a public interest disclosure, an authorised officer assesses whether:
- the person making the disclosure is a current or former public official
- the disclosed information reasonably shows disclosable conduct
Read more about the Public Interest Disclosure scheme on the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s website.
Contact us if you have any questions or want to make a public interest disclosure.