Public Interest Disclosures

Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act, current and former public officials can report suspected wrongdoing in the public sector. You can make a disclosure anonymously.

Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (the Act) is a legislative scheme for the reporting and investigation of allegations of serious wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector.

The objectives of the 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
  • to ensure that disclosures by public officials are properly investigated and dealt with.

See the Department of Health’s Public Interest Disclosure Procedures.

What is a Public Interest Disclosure (PID)

A PID is a disclosure:

  • by a current or former public official
  • of information that tends to show ‘disclosable conduct’
  • made to an Authorised Officer or your supervisor.

What is ‘disclosable conduct’

Disclosable conduct is defined in s 29 of the Act and includes conduct that:

  • contravenes a law
  • is corrupt
  • wastes public funds
  • abuses public trust
  • unreasonably endangers health, safety and/or the environment
  • could, if proved, give reasonable grounds for disciplinary action.

Who can you make a disclosure to?

Disclosures can be made to your supervisor (if you work for the department) or an Authorised Officer (AO) at the Department of Health, if the conduct relates to the Department of Health.

How to make a disclosure

You can make a disclosure to the department by either:

  • emailing the most appropriate Authorised Officer to receive your disclosure
  • writing to the Authorised Officer at GPO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
  • emailing PID [at] health.gov.au and the PID Unit will forward the email to the most appropriate Authorised Officer.

Subject lines or envelopes should be marked “Confidential - Health PID - For the Attention of (insert AO name, if known), Authorised Officer

Disclosure to the Ombudsman

If you are concerned about making a disclosure to the department, you can make a disclosure to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

What information to include

You may wish to use the notification form, to ensure you include as much detail as possible.

In general, to assist us in assessing and properly investigating your PID, you should include:

  •  your name and contact details, unless you want to be anonymous
  •  details of the alleged wrongdoing
  •  who committed the alleged wrongdoing
  •  when and where the alleged wrongdoing occurred
  •  relevant events surrounding the issue
  •  if you did anything in response to the wrongdoing
  •  others who know about the wrongdoing and have allowed it to continue
  •  if you’re concerned about possible reprisals as a result of making your disclosure
  • any supporting documentation and/or any witnesses.

Further information

For further information, you can visit the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s website or contact the Department of Health’s PID Coordination Unit at PIDCoordination [at] health.gov.au

Last updated: 
27 November 2020

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