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Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 – 5 May 2016

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If a person has information about: a substantial and specific danger to the health or safety of a person with a disability; or the commission of an offence against a provision mentioned in schedule 2 (where the commission of the offence is or would be a substantial and specific danger to the environment); the person may make a (public interest) disclosure of the information to a proper authority. A member of the Legislative Assembly is in most cases a proper authority to whom a person may make disclosure. A ‘public sector entity’ (defined in section 6 of the Act) may be a proper authority pursuant to section 15. A chief judicial officer of a court or tribunal is in most instances the only proper authority for a disclosure relating to a judicial officer. A person may make a disclosure to a proper authority in any way, including anonymously. Note: If a proper authority has a reasonable procedure for making a public interest disclosure to the proper authority, the person must use the procedure.

  • Sections 5, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 66, Schedule 2

If a person who is a public officer has information about: the conduct of another person that could, if proved, be official misconduct; or maladministration that adversely affects a person’s interests in a substantial and specific way; or a substantial misuse of public resources; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or a substantial and specific danger to the environment; the person may make a (public interest) disclosure of the information to a proper authority. For the definition of ‘public officer’, refer to section 7 of the Act. A member of the Legislative Assembly is in most cases a proper authority to whom a person may make disclosure. A ‘public sector entity’ (defined in section 6 of the Act) may be a proper authority pursuant to section 15. A chief judicial officer of a court or tribunal is in most instances the only proper authority for a disclosure relating to a judicial officer. A person may make a disclosure to a proper authority in any way, including anonymously. If a proper authority has a reasonable procedure for making a public interest disclosure to the proper authority, the person must use the procedure.

  • Sections 4, 5, 7, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 66, Schedule 4

The chief executive officer of a public sector entity must establish reasonable procedures to ensure that: public interest disclosures made to the entity are properly assessed and, when appropriate, properly investigated and dealt with; and that appropriate action is taken in relation to any wrongdoing that is the subject of a public interest disclosure made to the entity. The procedures established are to be published on the website of the public sector entity.

  • Sections 26, 27, 28, 29

A public sector entity may decide not to investigate or deal with a public interest disclosure if: the substance of the disclosure has already been investigated or dealt with by another appropriate process; or the entity reasonably considers that the disclosure should be dealt with by another appropriate process. For the full listing of when no action is required, refer to section 30 of the Act. If an entity decides not to investigate or deal with a public interest disclosure, the entity must give written reasons for its decision to the person making the disclosure.

  • Section 30

A public sector entity to which a public interest disclosure is made must give the person who made the disclosure: confirmation that the disclosure was received by the public sector entity; a description of the action proposed to be taken, or taken, by the public sector entity in relation to the disclosure; and if action has been taken, a description of the results of the action. Note: The public sector entity need not comply with this requirement if giving the information would be likely to adversely affect: (a) anybody’s safety; (b) the investigation of an offence or possible offence; or (c) necessary confidentiality about an informant’s existence or identity.

  • Section 32

A person who makes a public interest disclosure is not subject to any civil or criminal liability or any liability arising by way of administrative process, including disciplinary action, for making the disclosure. Note: Despite immunity, a person remains liable for their own conduct (that is not public interest disclosure) pursuant to section 39 of this Act.

  • Sections 36, 37, 38, 39

A person must not cause, or attempt or conspire to cause, detriment to another person because, or in the belief that, the other person or someone else has made, or intends to make, a public interest disclosure.

  • Sections 4, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, Schedule 4

The Office of the Ombudsman may make standards about the way in which public sector entities are to deal with public interest disclosures.

  • Sections 58, 59, 60
Reason for law

To promote the public interest by facilitating public interest disclosures of wrongdoing in the public sector. (Section 3)

Relevant links

Queensland Ombudsman
Public Interest Disclosures (PIDs)
PID Resources

Whistleblowers and public interest disclosures [Crime and Misconduct Commission]

Media article

Despite business’ best efforts whistleblowers still lack protection under Australian law

Critique

The Long Title to the Act makes references to a Schedule 3 that is no longer in existence.

Section 20 may need to be rethought in the interests of freedom of speech.

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PLEASE NOTE: The information published on this webpage may be out-of-date. Please compare the currency date of the Act/Regulation against that published on the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website. If you require access to Commonwealth statute law, please visit the ComLaw website. If you require access to the local council laws (by-laws), please visit the Local laws database.

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