Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblowing)
A Public Interest Disclosure (PID) is a report of a suspected wrongdoing or danger. For the report to be considered as a PID and attract the protections under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2010 (PID Act), it must be an appropriate disclosure about public interest information made to a proper authority.
If you have an honest and reasonable belief your information demonstrates the suspected wrongdoing or danger or it actually does show the suspected wrongdoing or danger, your report is likely to be an appropriate disclosure.
Whether the information you are reporting is public interest information will depend on whether you are a public officer or a member of the public.
A PID can be made by any person (whether or not the person is a public officer) to a proper authority 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 of the PID Act, if the commission of the offence is or would be a substantial and specific danger to the environment; or
- a contravention of a condition imposed under a provision mentioned in Schedule 2 of the PID Act, if the contravention is or would be a substantial and specific danger to the environment; or
- the conduct of another person that could, if proved, be a reprisal.
What is a reprisal?
A reprisal occurs when any person causes or attempts or conspires to cause detriment to another person because or in the belief that a person has made or may make a PID. A public officer who is found to have taken a reprisal commits a criminal offence.
Is council the proper authority for my PID?
To identify whether Council is the proper authority to make your report to, you need to consider who and what the report is about. Etheridge Shire Council would be authorised to receive a PID where:
- the disclosure is about the conduct of council or its employees; or
- Council is responsible for investigating particular issues (eg. the Crime and Corruption Commission can receive PIDs about corrupt conduct).
Does council have a process for PIDs?
Council applies our Public Interest Disclosure Process to any PID made about council operations.
How do I make a PID?
Contact us to make a public interest disclosure.
All written public interest disclosures must be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Etheridge Shire Council, PO Box 12, Georgetown Qld 4871. Clearly mark the sealed envelope as Public Interest Disclosure - Private and Confidential.
Making an anonymous PID?
You can make an anonymous PID. Remaining anonymous means you do not identify yourself as the discloser at any stage to anyone.
However, anonymous PIDs are often more difficult to investigate. We strongly encourage disclosers to identify themselves if possible. If you do identify yourself to the person who receives your PID, we will make every effort to keep your identity confidential.
Remember that we will not be able to inform you of any action we take if you remain anonymous.
What are my responsibilities as a discloser?
When making a PID, you have a responsibility to:
- provide honest and accurate information - deliberately providing false or misleading information is an offence
- provide all information currently in your possession - you must not seek to investigate the matter yourself
- make the disclosure to someone you reasonably believe is the proper authority to receive the disclosure.