Page 2799 - Week 07 - Thursday, 7 June 2012

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2012-13 budget chapter can be found on the budget website, which is a page of the Treasury website. These corrections do not have any impact on the consolidated financial statements for the territory or the Appropriation Bill 2012-2013.

Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2012

Mr Barr, on behalf of Ms Gallagher, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (10.34): On behalf of the Chief Minister, I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present the Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2012. This bill plays a major role in the ACT public sector integrity framework that has been discussed in the Assembly recently.

The bill establishes public interest disclosures, or PIDs, as a form of complaint, and provides protections to the people—sometimes called whistleblowers—who make PIDs. The bill facilitates the disclosure of suspected wrongdoing in the ACT public sector. It outlines an administrative framework for the management of PIDs and provides legal protection to people who blow the whistle on public sector wrongdoing. The bill respects the strength of character required by people to make PIDs, acknowledges the resources that should be devoted to investigating and responding to PIDs and grants all those associated with the investigation the procedural fairness that they deserve.

In 2005-06 a review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1994 was undertaken and replacement legislation was introduced. However, that bill lapsed with the dissolution of the Sixth Assembly because, before it was debated, a national collaborative research project looking at whistleblowing behaviour was announced. The government saw the value of the project and gladly contributed to the early stages of the study. The team of researchers from across Australia, led by Professor AJ Brown and his team at Griffith University, undertook what has been called the most comprehensive study of whistleblowing ever conducted. The bill I am presenting on behalf of the Chief Minister today draws heavily on the findings of the whistling while they work team.

Late last year an exposure draft of this bill was released for public comment. We received four submissions. Each was supportive of improving the territory’s public interest disclosure laws, and each enhanced the bill that I present today. On behalf of the Chief Minister, I would like to thank the Ombudsman, the CPSU and the ACT Greens for their input. I would like to give particular thanks to Professor Brown and his colleagues who have contributed a great deal to the final shape of this bill.

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