The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (the PID Act) creates a framework for reporting and investigating allegations of serious wrongdoing in the public sector.

About the PID Act

The PID Act allows public officials to report concerns of wrong doing and receive protections against reprisals. The PID Act was created to:

  • promote integrity and accountability in the Commonwealth public sector
  • encourage public officials to report suspected wrongdoing
  • protect and support public officials who make reports of wrongdoing
  • ensure disclosures are properly investigated and dealt with.

Who can make a disclosure

You must be a current or former public official to make disclosure under the PID Act. This includes:

  • public servants (ongoing, non-ongoing and casual)
  • parliamentary service employees
  • contracted service providers and anyone employed by them
  • statutory office holders
  • any other person deemed by the authorised officer to be a public official for the purposes of the PID Act.

What can be reported

A public official can disclose information they reasonably believe shows wrongdoing:

  • in an Australian Government agency
  • by a public official
  • by a Commonwealth contracted service provider.

This includes conduct that:

  • breaches a law
  • is corrupt
  • perverts the course of justice
  • wastes public funds
  • abuses public trust
  • endangers health, safety or the environment
  • falsifies scientific research
  • is an abuse of a public official's position
  • could give reasonable grounds for disciplinary action if proved.

Complaints about government, Clean Energy Regulator policies or personal work-related conduct (unless it could constitute reprisal or is otherwise significant) are not public interest disclosures. Public interest disclosures are for matters where investigation and correction are in the public interest. For some matters, it may be more appropriate to deal with a disclosure under another process.

Make a disclosure

If you are a public official, you can make a disclosure to an Authorised Officer by:

If you have concerns about disclosing to our Authorised Officers, you can make a disclosure directly to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Information to include

To help us assess and investigate your disclosure, you should include:

  • 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 or any witnesses
  • your name and contact details unless you want to be anonymous.

We have appointed Authorised Officers who deal with all public interest disclosures.

Their role is to accept, process and manage these disclosures. Authorised Officers who become aware of corrupt conduct that is serious or systemic must report the matter to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Protections provided

The PID Act ensures that you’re safe from civil, criminal and administrative liability (including disciplinary action) which could otherwise arise from making a disclosure.

The PID Act also ensures there’s no:

  • disclosure of your identity without consent
  • reprisal action or threats of reprisal.

You aren’t protected from liability, including disciplinary action, if you:

  • knowingly make a false or misleading statement
  • knowingly make a disclosure that breaches a designated publication restriction without a reasonable excuse
  • are also guilty of wrongdoing.

Find out more about making disclosures

To find out how the Public Interest Disclosure Scheme operates in the Clean Energy Regulator, read our procedures for handling public interest disclosures.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is responsible for administering the Public Interest Disclosure Scheme. You can find out more on the Commonwealth Ombudsman website.