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Public Interest Disclosure Reform

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

The Albanese Government has delivered on our promise to the Australian people to strengthen protections for public sector whistleblowers with the passage of the Public Interest Disclosure Amendment (Review) Bill 2023 through Parliament today.

This legislation represents a significant milestone towards a best practice whistleblowing framework for the public sector, which will support the establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Key measures in the legislation will improve protections for public sector whistleblowers and witnesses through expanding the immunities and scope of the public interest disclosure scheme to those who ‘could make’ a disclosure.

The scheme will now also focus on serious integrity wrongdoing, such as fraud and corruption, and make the scheme easier for agencies to administer.

Additionally, the legislation enhances the oversight of the scheme by the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

This legislation ensures improvements to the public sector whistleblower scheme are in place before the National Anti-Corruption Commission commences on 1 July 2023.

This bill implements 21 of the 33 recommendations of the 2016 Review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act by Mr Philip Moss AM and is also informed by other parliamentary committee reports.

Following passage of this bill the Government will shortly begin consultations on a second stage of reforms.

This will involve redrafting the Public Interest Disclosure Act to address the underlying complexity of the scheme and provide effective and accessible protections to public sector whistleblowers.