What is a disclosure?

Reports made by people about improper or unlawful conduct are known as disclosures under the PID Act.

A disclosure must relate to a matter of public interest information. It must tend to show that a public authority, public officer or public sector contractor is, has been or may in the future be involved in wrongdoing in performing a public function.

A disclosure is more than a general complaint about dissatisfaction with a product or service or a decision by government. It is more than a personal grievance that can be resolved by agreement between parties. It is important to recognise the difference between a complaint or a grievance and a disclosure. This will help you decide if the PID Act is the right avenue for you to use.

Differences between a matter of personal interest (grievance) and a matter of public interest


  • Involves a personal interest matter
  • Process aims to resolve the person’s individual complaint or dispute
  • Process aims to deal with the complaint as close to the source as possible, that is, to resolve differences directly between the parties concerned
  • Usually a dispute between an employee and management, or between two parties
  • A complainant generally "owns" the complaint and can withdraw it at any stage
  • Generally may be resolved by agreement between the parties and may involve mediation

Public Interest Disclosure

  • Involves a matter of public interest as defined in the PID Act
  • Process aims to ensure public interest matters are investigated
  • Process follows formal investigative lines
  • More than a dispute between two parties – relates to a matter of public interest relating to the categories within the PID Act
  • The discloser doesn't "own" the disclosure once it has been made and cannot withdraw it
  • The aim is not to resolve the issue between two or more parties. The aim is to investigate public interest matters and take action where required 

If you are not sure the information you have is public interest information contact your PID officer for further advice.

If you don't know who you should speak to contact the PSC Advisory Line on 6552 8888.

Page last updated 21 September 2012