Six key issues have been raised in the review of
Queensland's Public Interest Disclosure Act.
The enactment of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld)
(PID Act) in 2010 was part of a package of
integrity based reforms that were announced by the then Queensland
Government. The PID Act includes a requirement that the
"oversight agency", being the Queensland Ombudsman, is to
undertake a review into the operation of the PID Act within five
years after the commencement of the PID Act.
The review of the PID Act is currently underway and is now at
the half-way point. Six key issues have recently been identified by
the Ombudsman as requiring further consideration.
The review process
When announcing the review of the PID Act in November 2015, the
Ombudsman released an issues paper which sought submissions from
stakeholders and interested parties by 15 January 2016. This raised
a series of questions of relevance to the operation of the PID Act,
the objects of the PID Act remained valid and whether the PID
Act was effective;
the definition of the term "public officer" under the
PID Act and whether that term should be broadened to include
contractors and volunteers;
the scope of the PID Act to deal with complaints of wrongdoing
that were essentially workplace complaints and whether a public
interest test should be included as an additional criteria;
the confidentiality and reprisal protections for
whistle-blowers under the PID Act remains appropriate.
At the halfway point
The review of the PID Act is now at the halfway point with the
Ombudsman having received 26 submissions from a range of
stakeholders including State Government Departments, Local
Governments, statutory authorities and universities. The six key
issues raised by stakeholders and interested parties are:
how to more clearly define "public interest
information" under the PID Act;
reconsidering who can make a PID and the definition of
"public officer" (for example, volunteers and contractors
working within a public sector entity are not currently considered
the processes for managing confidentiality;
the requirements for providing protection to disclosers and
others who support a PID investigation;
giving appropriate consideration and protection to an officer
who is the subject of a PID; and
the options for increasing the effectiveness of the PID
The final outcome of the Ombudsman's review of the PID Act
will be revealed by 31 December 2016 when the final report is to be
presented by the Ombudsman to the Attorney-General and the Speaker
of the Queensland Parliament.
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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