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Make a public interest disclosure

For: Claimants Employers and managers Service providers Advocates Information seekers

If you are a current or former public official and you suspect wrongdoing, you are encouraged to disclose information about the wrongdoing, under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.


Purpose of disclosure legislation

The legislation covering public interest disclosures:

  • encourages and facilitates disclosures by public officials
  • supports public officials who make a disclosure and protects them from negative consequences
  • ensures that agencies properly investigate disclosures
  • supports the Australian public sector to be accountable and operate with integrity.

See the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.

Who can make a disclosure

To make a disclosure you must be a current or former public official. This includes:

  • Australian Government public servants and parliamentary service employees
  • members of the Defence Force
  • staff and directors of Commonwealth companies
  • statutory office holders
  • staff of Australian Government contracted service providers
  • a person deemed to be a public official.

Wrongdoing that can be reported

You can report conduct by an agency, a public official or a contracted Australian Government service provider if you believe, on reasonable grounds, that the conduct:

  • breaks the law
  • is corrupt
  • perverts the course of justice
  • results in public funds or property being wasted
  • is an abuse of public trust
  • unreasonably endangers health and safety or the environment
  • is misconduct relating to scientific research analysis or advice
  • is maladministration, including conduct that is unjust, oppressive or negligent.

Information to include

If you make a public interest disclosure, we recommend you include:

  • your name and contact details (although you can make an anonymous disclosure)
  • the nature of the wrongdoing
  • who you think committed the wrongdoing
  • when and where the wrongdoing occurred
  • relevant events related to the issue
  • if you did anything in response to the wrongdoing
  • others who know about the wrongdoing and have allowed it to continue
  • names of people who witnessed the conduct or who may be able to verify what you are saying
  • if you are concerned about possible reprisal as a result of making your disclosure
  • any other information that may assist us to decide how to proceed.

Be clear and factual and include copies of documents which support your disclosure.

How to make a disclosure

To make a public interest disclosure to Comcare:

  • email publicinterestdisclosure@comcare.gov.au
  • call the Comcare Director Statutory Oversight on (02) 6276 0882
  • mail in a sealed envelope to:

    Confidential for addressee only
    Director Statutory Oversight
    Comcare, GPO Box 9905, Canberra ACT 2601.

We prefer that disclosures are emailed.

Protection of people who disclose

If you disclose information, your identity is kept confidential if it is practical to do so. You can make a disclosure anonymously.

It is an offence to disclose identifying information about a person who makes a disclosure without their consent, unless authorised by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.

You are generally protected from civil, criminal and administrative liability, including disciplinary action, for making a disclosure.

It is generally a criminal offence to retaliate against someone because they disclosed information. This includes discriminatory treatment, termination of employment, or injury.

To gain this protection you must comply with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013. This means if you disclose wrongdoing to someone who is not authorised to receive the information, your disclosure may not be covered.


More information

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is responsible for administering the public interest disclosure scheme across Australian Government agencies. See information for people who disclose.

For more information on how we administer the Act, call the Comcare Director Statutory Oversight directly on (02) 6276 0882 or call Comcare on 1300 366 979.

Page last reviewed: 14 November 2019
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Comcare
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 31 Oct 2020

https://www.comcare.gov.au/about/contact/public-interest-disclosure