What is The Public Interest Disclosure Act?
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2002 commenced operation on 1 January 2004. It was substantially amended by the Public Interest Disclosures Amendment Act 2009, following a major review of the Act, after which the amendments took effect on 1 October 2010.
In colloquial terms, the Act is about “whistle-blowing” in the Tasmanian public sector. The Act is based on the concept that it is in the public interest for whistle-blowing to occur, and that this will be encouraged and facilitated by providing due protection for whistle-blowers. The Act also functions to ensuring that disclosures made by whistle-blowers are properly investigated and dealt with.
In brief, the Act works to give certain people the right to disclose improper conduct or detrimental actions committed against agencies, people or bodies. It protects those who come forward and dictates how the person to whom the disclosure is made must deal with the information.
The main aims of the Act are:
- to encourage and facilitate disclosures of improper conduct by public officers and public
- to protect persons making those disclosures, and others, from reprisals
- to provide for the matters disclosed to be properly investigated and dealt with, and
- to provide all parties involved in the disclosures with natural justice.
In the case of an investigation from the Ombudsman, the Act gives the Ombudsman the power to recommend that action be taken.
In the case of an investigation by a public body (such as Metro Tasmania) which finds that the alleged conduct did occur, the Act compels the public body to take action to prevent that conduct from continuing or happening again, and to take action to remedy any harm or loss which may have arisen as a result of the conduct. Basically, the public body must fix what happened and take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
How does this relate to Metro?
Metro Tasmania has implemented procedures for the reporting, receiving and handling of disclosures of improper conduct or detrimental action by Metro or its employees, in accordance with Part 7 of the Public Interest Disclosure Act.
This procedure, which includes a more detailed description of the Act and how it applies to citizens and Metro, can be viewed or downloaded by clicking the link below: