Public Interest Disclosure Scheme
The purpose of the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PID Act) is to promote the integrity and accountability of the Commonwealth public sector by:
- encouraging and facilitating disclosures of wrongdoing by public officials
- ensuring public officials who make protected disclosures are supported and protected from adverse consequences relating to making the disclosure
- ensuring disclosures are properly investigated and dealt with.
A disclosure is information that tends to show, or that the public official reasonably believes tends to show, disclosable conduct. Disclosable conduct is conduct an agency, public official or contracted service provider engages in. Types of disclosable conduct include:
- illegal conduct
- abuse of public trust
- deception relating to scientific research
- waste of public money
- conduct that poses unreasonable danger to health and safety or to the environment
- conduct that could give rise to disciplinary action against the public official.
How can you make a public interest disclosure?
All public officials and former public officials are entitled to make a disclosure under the PID Act. Public interest disclosures can be made to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission in the following ways:
By email: PublicInterestDisclosures@acic.gov.au
By mail: (To protect your identity, it is important that your correspondence includes the words ‘to be opened by the addressee only’.)
Public Interest Disclosure Authorised Officer
c/o Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
GPO Box 1936
CANBERRA CITY, ACT 2601
By phone: 02 6243 6666 (Please ask to speak to an Integrity Assurance officer about a Public Interest Disclosure.)
What are your obligations?
You should not discuss the details of your disclosure with anyone who does not need to know. Such discussions with those people are not covered by the protections in the PID Act.
You are advised to be discreet about the fact that you have made a public interest disclosure, the information in your disclosure and any information that may identify someone you allege has acted wrongly. If the matter is investigated, the investigator must make sure that everyone involved is treated fairly and impartially. You should also be prepared to provide further information to help the investigator, as this is often required.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman has the responsibility for administering the Public Interest Disclosure Scheme across all Commonwealth agencies. Please refer to Commonwealth Ombudsman’s website for further information.