The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) came into effect on 15 January 2014. The purpose of the Public Interest Disclosure Scheme is to provide an avenue for public officials to report suspected wrong doing in the Australian public sector.

The scheme provides for employees (including former employees) of the ANAO and contracted service providers to the ANAO, to make a public interest disclosure of suspected wrongdoing relating to any public official, and provides for any public officials and former public officials to make a public interest disclosure of suspected wrongdoing relating to ANAO activities or ANAO officials, either anonymously or openly, in writing or verbally, to an authorised officer in the ANAO. The ANAO has an obligation to assess the disclosure and decide whether to investigate the matter or not.

Who can make a disclosure?

A person must be a current or former ‘public official’. The definition of a public official under the PID Act includes any person who is or has been:

  • Australian Public Service (APS) employee
  • Parliamentary Service employee
  • Directors and staff of Commonwealth companies
  • Statutory office holder
  • Staff of Commonwealth contracted service providers

What type of wrongdoing can be reported?

A public official can disclose information they believe on reasonable grounds is ‘disclosable conduct’. This means any conduct by an agency, a public official or a contracted Commonwealth service provider (in connection with the Commonwealth contract) that:

  • Contravenes a law
  • Is corrupt
  • Perverts the course of justice
  • Results in wastage of public funds or property
  • Is an abuse of public trust
  • Unreasonably endangers health and safety or endangers the environment
  • Is misconduct relating to scientific research, analysis or advice
  • Is maladministration, including contact that is unjust, oppressive or negligent.

Disagreement with government policy, action or expenditure does not amount to disclosable conduct.

The ANAO has an obligation to assess the disclosure and decide whether to investigate the matter or not.

Who can the disclosable conduct be reported to?

The ANAO has appointed two authorised officers to manage public interest disclosures.

Name: Peta Martyn
Phone: (02) 6203 7824
Email: Peta.Martyn@anao.gov.au

Name: Jacquie Walton
Phone: (02) 6203 7501
Email: Jacquie.Walton@anao.gov.au

Public officials may also make a disclosure to their supervisor/manager, who must pass it to an authorised officer.

What protections are there for disclosing?

The identity of the person making the disclosure will remain as confidential as far as practicable. It is a criminal offence to take or threaten to take a reprisal, such as discriminatory treatment, termination of employment or injury, against someone because they make a disclosure.

More information

The Commonwealth Ombudsman has responsibility for the PID Scheme and has useful fact sheets and FAQs on their website.