The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2003 (the Act) came into effect on 1 July 2003. The Act facilitates the disclosure of public interest information by providing protection for those who make disclosures and those who are the subject of disclosures.
A public interest disclosure is made when a person discloses to a proper authority information that tends to show past, present or proposed future improper conduct by a public body in the exercise of public functions. In order to be a disclosure to which the Act applies, a disclosure must be:
- made by an informant who believes on reasonable grounds that the information is or may be true
- a disclosure of public interest information
- made to the appropriate proper authority.
The Act deals with disclosures made by anyone (not just Governance employees) but the information must be specific to the following areas:
- improper conduct
- irregular or unauthorised use of public resources
- an offence under State law, including corruption
- substantial unauthorised or irregular use of, or substantial mismanagement of, public resources
- administration matter(s)
- conduct involving a substantial and specific risk of injury to public health, prejudice to public safety or harm to the environment.
If your information falls outside of the above areas then you may still be able to make a complaint to a public authority, but this will not be a public interest disclosure under the Act.
Before making a disclosure it is important that you are aware of the rights and responsibilities imposed on informants and others under the Act. These are:
- it is an offence to make a disclosure if you know it is, or are reckless about it being, false and misleading
- with some exceptions, the public authority will investigate your information and in doing so you will be expected to cooperate
- you will have to keep your information confidential, or you may lose protection under the Act and may commit an offence under the Act.
The Act only confers protection where a disclosure is made to an appropriate proper authority. The identity of the appropriate proper authority will vary according to the kind of information to be disclosed.
The department’s PID Officers are responsible for receiving disclosures of public interest information relating to matters falling within the sphere of responsibility of the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.
To contact a PID Officer for the department, please call 6551 8002 (between 8:30am and 5:00pm, Monday to Friday) and ask to speak to a PID Officer.
Further information about the legislation and how to make a disclosure is available at the Public Sector Commission website or contact the Public Sector Commission's Advisory line on 1800 676 607 (metro and country callers).