The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) has around 5000 staff working in diverse locations throughout Australia and in some overseas posts. All staff are expected to behave professionally, ethically and with integrity to exercise their powers in a fair, reasonable, proper and lawful manner. Departmental staff must uphold the Australian Public Service (APS) values, the APS Employment Principles and comply with the APS Code of Conduct, they also have obligations under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) to ensure the efficient, effective, ethical and economical use of public resources. Clients, contractors and service providers who do business with DAWR are also expected to behave ethically, honestly and in a professional manner.
To ensure we maintain our integrity, the department’s Fraud and Corruption Team is responsible for the receipt, assessment and investigation of fraud and corruption allegations within or against the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
- Fraud against the Commonwealth is defined as ‘dishonestly obtaining a benefit, or causing a loss, by deception or other means.’
- The department defines corruption as the ‘dishonest or biased exercise of Commonwealth public official functions’.
DAWR takes allegations of fraud and corruption seriously and will investigate any situation where inappropriate behaviours could affect the department’s reputation. If you are aware of alleged fraudulent or corrupt activity involving departmental officers, or businesses who interact with DAWR, you can notify the Fraud and Corruption Team by any of the following means:
02 6272 4477
Fraud and Corruption
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2600
All allegations of fraud and corruption will be treated confidentially, as far as the law allows.
Complaints relating to breaches of the APS Code of Conduct (for example, disrespectful behaviour) should be referred to the department’s Integrity Unit.
Public Interest Disclosure (PID)
What is a public interest disclosure?
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (the PID Act) commenced on 15 January 2014. Its purpose is to promote integrity and accountability in the Australian public sector by providing protection to public officials who report, in accordance with the provisions of the PID Act, allegations of serious wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector. It also ensures that Commonwealth agencies will properly investigate and respond to these allegations.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the department) is committed to the highest standards of ethical behaviour and accountable conduct. The department encourages the reporting of wrongdoing under the provisions of the PID Act, it will act on disclosures where appropriate and will protect disclosers from reprisal or threats of reprisal as a result of making a disclosure.
Public interest disclosure requirements
Under the PID Act, a disclosure of information is a public interest disclosure if it meets all three of the following requirements:
- The disclosure is made by someone who is, or has been, a ‘public official. ’A ‘public official’ for the purposes of the PID Actincludes all current and former Australian Public Service (APS) employees; individuals employed by any Commonwealth companies, authorities or statutory agencies; the Parliamentary service; statutory officeholders and service providers under contract to the Commonwealth and their employees.
- The information tends to show, or the discloser believes on reasonable grounds that the information tends to show, one or more instances of ‘disclosable conduct.’ ‘Disclosable conduct’ for the purposes of the PID Act includes a wide range of wrongful conduct engaged in by an agency, a public official in connection with their position as a public official, or by a contracted service provider for a Commonwealth contract in connection with entering into or giving effect to that contract. It includes, but is not limited to, conduct that:
- contravenes an Australian law (or a foreign law in some circumstances)
- is corrupt
- perverts the course of justice
- results in wastage of public funds or property
- is an abuse of public trust
- unreasonably endangers health and safety or endangers the environment
- is maladministration, including conduct that is unjust, oppressive or negligent.
‘Disclosable conduct’ does not include personal disagreements with a policy, proposed policy or expenditure related to a policy or proposed policy of the Commonwealth Government.
- The disclosure is made to an appropriate person for the purposes of the PID Act, such as to an Authorised Officer. Authorised Officers under the PID Act are appointed in writing. They have a wide range of decision-making, notification and other responsibilities in relation to the PID Act, including receiving and allocating disclosures relating to their agency.
How to make a public interest disclosure
Public interest disclosures can be made by:
PID which is accessed by Authorised Officers only
02 6272 4477 and request to speak with an Authorised Officer
Fraud and Corruption
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2600
Public interest disclosures may be made anonymously. Public interest disclosures may also be made without the discloser asserting that the disclosure is made for the purposes of the PID Act.
Information required when making a public interest disclosure
Disclosers should provide as much information as possible when making a public interest disclosure, including:
- their name and contact details, if choosing not to remain anonymous
- the nature of the wrongdoing
- who committed the wrongdoing
- when and where the wrongdoing occurred
- relevant background information and events
- if anything has been done in response to the wrongdoing
- contact details for anyone else who is aware of the wrongdoing
- if they are concerned about possible reprisal as a result of making a disclosure.
For more information, visit the Commonwealth Ombudsman website or view the department’s Public Interest Disclosure Procedures.