Review recommends new Public Interest Disclosure Act

The report into the review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld) has recommended a new Act be created because the existing statute has so many flaws.

In November last year, the State Government commissioned a review of the Act by retired Supreme Court judge Alan Wilson KC, after concerns from stakeholders that the statute was not effective in facilitating and protecting the reporting of wrongdoing in the public sector.

A new Act was among 107 recommendations Mr Wilson made in his report released yesterday.

“Over the course of this review it has become apparent there are many public servants striving to use the existing legislation effectively to ensure wrongdoing in the public sector is exposed and remedied, and that whistleblowers receive appropriate and adequate protections – but their efforts are impeded or, sometimes, thwarted by deficiencies in the clarity of the legislation and technicalities in its operation,” he stated.

“The review has concluded necessary improvements to the legislation are of such significance and number as to call for a brand new Act with a new title and clarified objects; that it be simple to use, easier to understand, and readily accessible to the State’s large public sector. That new Act will repair myriad small defects and shortcomings identified by the Review and, more importantly, introduce significant reforms.”

Other recommendations included proposals for:

  • an expanded definition of public sector entity and class of people entitled to make a public interest disclosure;
  • a broader definition of serious or systemic wrongdoing which threatens the public sector, or public interest;
  • better support, protections and remedies for whistleblowers;
  • better management of public interest disclosures; and
  • better oversight and resourcing of the public interest disclosure scheme.

QLS was among 64 stakeholders to make a submission when public input was sought on an Issues paper earlier this year.

Read the report here.

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