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Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth) (PID Act) establishes a stand-alone whistleblower protection scheme for federal public sector employees, contractors and employees of contractors who report wrongdoing within the Commonwealth public sector.

About public interest disclosure

A public interest disclosure is the reporting of wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector. This may include conduct which you reasonably believe:

  • contravenes a law of the Commonwealth, a state or a territory, or
  • perverts, or attempts to pervert, the course of justice or involves corruption of any other kind, or
  • constitutes maladministration, including conduct that:
    • is based on improper motives
    • is unreasonable, unjust or oppressive, or
    • is negligent, or
  • is an abuse of public trust, or
  • is fabrication, falsification, or deception in relation to scientific research, or misconduct in relation to scientific work, or
  • results in the wastage of public money or public property or of the money or property of an authority covered by the PID Act, or
  • unreasonably results in a danger to the health and safety of a person or unreasonably results in or increases the risk of a danger to the health and safety of a person, or
  • results in a danger to the environment or results in or increases the risk of a danger to the environment, or
  • is engaged in by a public official that:
    • involves abuse of the public official's position, or
    • could, if proved, give reasonable grounds for disciplinary action against the public official.

Disclosures are about matters where investigation and correction is in the public interest. This does not include disagreements with government policy or expenditure.

How to make a public interest disclosure

Public interest disclosures can be made by a public official. A public official is:

  • any person who is, or was, employed by the Australian Government
  • individuals employed by any Commonwealth companies, authorities and statutory agencies, the Parliamentary service, statutory officeholders
  • service providers under contract to the Commonwealth and anyone employed by them

Public interest disclosures can be made orally or in writing:

  • by an employee to their manager
  • to an Authorised Officer
  • in very limited circumstances, to a person outside the government other than a foreign official

The MDBA is required to keep the identity of anyone disclosing information confidential. You can also report anonymously; however, this means the MDBA cannot ensure you are protected from reprisal, it can make further investigation difficult and it will be impossible to provide updates on the progress of the investigation.

You should provide as much information as possible, including:

  • your name and contact details (you can remain anonymous)
  • the nature of the wrongdoing
  • who committed the wrongdoing
  • when and where the wrongdoing occurred
  • relevant background information and events
  • if anything has been done in response to the wrongdoing
  • contact details for anyone else who is aware of the wrongdoing and has allowed it to continue
  • whether you believe the information is a public interest disclosure under the PID Act, however it does not need to be described this way for it to be treated as a public interest disclosure
  • if you are concerned about possible reprisal as a result of making a disclosure

Authorised Officers

Disclosures must be made to an Authorised Officer, these are set out below:


Phone number

Executive Director, Business Services Portfolio

02 6297 0490

Executive Director, Basin Strategy & Knowledge Portfolio

02 6279 0772

Executive Director, Basin Plan Regulation Portfolio

02 6279 0500

Protections offered under the PID Act

If you make a disclosure under the PID Act:

  • you cannot be made subject to any criminal, civil or administrative liability, or action for breach of contract, because you made the disclosure
  • a person cannot take an action against you because you made the disclosure, otherwise they will be subject to criminal penalty
  • unless you consent to your identity being disclosed, your identity will be protected
  • your workplace rights will be protected under the Fair Work Act 2009.
Updated: 24 Feb 2022