Public Interest Disclosures


Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 (PID Act) creates a statutory scheme to encourage the disclosure of improper conduct or wrongdoing. The PID Act contains provisions for the protection of people (including ACTPS employees) who report fraud, corruption, abuse of office, waste or endangering the health of safety of the public.

Every ACTPS Directorate is obliged to put in place procedures for receiving and dealing with disclosures made under the Act. This is achieved by identifying a contact officer/s for the receipt of disclosures.

Major Projects Canberra is applying ACT Government Public Interest Disclosure Guidelines 2017, which can be found at http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/.

What is a Public Interest Disclosure (PID)?

Sometimes matters raised are of a nature that is very serious and sit outside the normal complaint or feedback system. Serious and/or substantial issues are treated as a ‘Public Interest Disclosure’ (PID).

In broad terms, a PID might arise when someone reports substantial wrongdoing in the ACT Public Sector. The PID Scheme aims to encourage those in a position to report such wrongdoing and protect them when they come forward.

A PID might relate to events which are happening now, in the past, or that may happen in the future.

A PID can be about the actions of staff and employees of the Public Sector and ACT Legislative Assembly, including Members of the Legislative Assembly.

It can also be about the actions of contractors, sub-contractors and volunteers. This might include not-for-profit or other non-governmental organisations providing a public service to the community under a contract with an ACT Public Sector entity.

Disclosable conduct includes activity by an individual or an ACT Public Sector entity that:

Who Can Make a PID?

Any person with information that indicates substantial mismanagement or misuse of public resources can make a PID. This includes members of the public, contractors who work with ACTPS entities and ACTPS employees.

A person may make a PID even if they are not able to identify a particular person who is responsible for the activity.

The Directorate will also accept anonymous disclosures. However, where an anonymous disclosure is made, the discloser should be aware that it will not be possible to keep them informed about the way the disclosure is handled nor will the ACTPS entity be able to provide them with protection.

Initial Contact

A PID can be made by anyone in any way – orally or in writing. It does not have to be a formal complaint or report.

ACT Public Sector employees are able to make a PID to their supervisor or manager.

A PID can also be made to a public official of an ACT Public Sector entity, for example:

Once the PID is disclosed, the supervisor or other public official becomes a Receiving Officer. The Receiving Officer does not have the authority to make decisions about a PID. They must forward the PID to the Designated Disclosure Officer.

Whether a person has witnessed disclosable conduct personally or someone has told them about it, they should pass that information to a Designated Disclosure Officer (DDO).  This is especially important for those receiving second hand information that indicates potential disclosable conduct, including supervisors and managers receiving information from their staff.

The DDO is the person in the respective ACTPS entity who will make a decision relating to a PID.

The role of the DDO is to:

The MPC DDOs are:

The DDO were appointed under Notifiable Instrument 2019-642.

For PIDs that relate to the Chief Projects Officer or other Directors General, the DDO could be any of the following:

For a PID which relates to the Legislative Assembly, a DDO is any of the following:

Employees in the Public Sector who have information which is so serious that they cannot discuss it with someone within their entity should inform the Commissioner for Public Administration, ACT Ombudsman or the ACT Auditor-General.

How Am I Protected If I Make A Disclosure?

Under the PID Act, a person who acts honestly and reasonably in making a PID receives protection from attacks or reprisal that results from the disclosure (reprisal is called detrimental action in the PID Act).

If a person retaliates against the discloser by directly or indirectly punishing them for reporting information; that person will be held accountable for their behaviour. Under section 40 of the PID Act, the person who has undertaken detrimental action has committed an offence. This person may be disciplined or pursued for damages in court (section 41).

For more information regarding what happens after making a disclosure please refer to the Guidelines.

Contacts

If you are concerned that you have information that should be investigated under the Public Interest Disclosure Act, or have any other queries about the legislation, these should be directed in the first instance to the Major Projects Canberra (MPC) Senior Executive Responsible for Business Integrity and Risk (SERBIR).

MPC SERBIR contact details

Nikki Pulford, Executive Branch Manager, Ministerial, Governance and Corporate Support

Major Projects Canberra

Mail: GPO Box 158 CANBERRA ACT 2601

Telephone: (02) 6207 5466

Email: Major Projects Canberra SERBIR

MPC DDO

MPC’s Designated Disclosure Officers are:

Position

Name

Email

Phone Number

Notifiable Instrument

Executive Group Manager, Project Development and Support

Damon Hall

damon.hall@act.gov.au

02 6207 0058

NI2019-642

Executive Group Manager, Infrastructure Delivery Partners

Adrian Piani

adrian.piani@act.gov.au

02 6207 8944

NI2019-642

Project Director, Light Rail

Ashley Cahif

ashley.cahif@act.gov.au

02 6207 1515

NI2019-642

Project Director, Canberra Hospital Expansion

Martin Little

martin.little@act.gov.au

02 6207 9322

NI2019-642

Executive Branch Manager, Ministerial, Governance and Corporate Support (SERBIR)

Nikki Pulford

nikki.pulford@act.gov.au

02 6205 5466

NI2019-642

Senior Officer Grade A, Governance
(Senior Director, Governance)

Lily Mulholland

lily.mulholland@act.gov.au

02 6207 1786

NI2019-642

Relevant links

Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012

Public Interest Disclosure Guidelines

Notifiable Instrument 2019-642