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Public Interest Disclosure (PID)

This page sets out information about internal public interest disclosures (PID), including what is disclosable conduct and how to make a disclosure.

About public interest disclosure 

Public officials (disclosers) who suspect serious wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector can raise their concerns under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act).

The PID Act ensures public interest disclosures (PIDs) are properly investigated and disclosers are protected from reprisal action.

The NIAA follows procedures for handling PIDs: NIAA PID Procedures. You may contact to request a copy in another format.


What is disclosable conduct

PID is the reporting of wrongdoing by a Commonwealth agency, or one of its employees or contractors. This may include conduct which you reasonably believe:

  • contravenes a law;
  • is corrupt;
  • perverts the course of justice;
  • results in a wastage of public funds or property;
  • is an abuse of public trust;
  • unreasonably endangers health and safety or endangers the environment;
  • is maladministration, including conduct that is unjust, oppressive or negligent;
  • is an abuse of a public official’s position; or
  • could, if proven, give reasonable grounds for termination.


What is not disclosable conduct

PIDs are about matters where investigation and correction is in the public interest. This does not include:

  • personal work-related conduct (such as bullying and harassment), unless it is reprisal or it would undermine public confidence in the NIAA;
  • employment actions and decisions, such as changing a person’s duties, taking disciplinary action or deciding to promote someone; 
  • disagreement with Australian Government policy or expenditure; or
  • actions of grant recipients, in most circumstances.


Making a report

A PID can be made by a public official. This includes any person who:

  • has worked for the NIAA;
  • is, or was, employed by the Australian Government;
  • is, or was, employed by a Commonwealth company, authority, statutory agency, or the Parliamentary Service; or 
  • provided a service to the Australian Government under a Commonwealth contract.

An Authorised Officer may accept a PID by other people, in certain circumstances.


How to make a report

A PID may be made in writing or verbally:

  • to;
  • to an Authorised Officer; or
  • by an employee to their supervisor (who must inform the Authorised Officer of the disclosure).

Authorised Officers have responsibility under the PID Act for receiving, assessing and allocating PIDs. 

A public official can make a disclosure to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Ombudsman may pass on the disclosure to the NIAA for investigation, if the disclosure relates to the agency.

Anonymous reports

A public official can report anonymously or using a pseudonym, however:

  • the NIAA cannot ensure you are protected from reprisal;
  • it can make further investigation difficult; and
  • the NIAA may not be able to provide you with updates on the progress of the investigation.

What information to include

A PID should include as much information as possible, including:

  • your name and contact details (although you may choose to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym);
  • details of the wrongdoing;
  • who committed the wrongdoing;
  • when and where the wrongdoing occurred;
  • how you became aware of the wrongdoing;
  • if anything has been done in response to the wrongdoing;
  • who else knows about the wrongdoing and any action they have taken;
  • all relevant background information and events;
  • if you believe the information is a PID, however it does not need to be described this way for it to be treated as a PID; and
  • any concerns about possible reprisal as a result of making a disclosure.


What happens next

An Authorised Officer will make a decision about whether or not to accept a PID. 

If the PID is accepted, a decision will be made about if the PID will be investigated, and how. A PID can be given to the NIAA, or to another appropriate department, to investigate.

A PID that could involve serious or systemic corrupt conduct must be notified to the NACC. This does not stop the NIAA, or other department, from investigating.

If the discloser gives their contact details, the Authorised Officer will contact them with more information about next steps.

Protections for NIAA staff

The PID Act protects the discloser’s identity. The discloser and NIAA staff who assist with a PID investigation are protected from:

  • civil, criminal and administrative liability for making a PID or helping with a PID investigation; and
  • reprisals or threats of reprisal including dismissal or discrimination.

Making a disclosure, or helping with a PID investigation, will not protect a person from the consequences of their own wrongdoing. 


More information

You can read more about PID on the Commonwealth Ombudsman website



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