Date of issue: 10 October 2023
Date of effect: Immediate
Reference Number: IAN 2023-06
Who does this notice affect?
This notice is applicable to any individual or entity that performs work for, or on behalf of, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. This includes contractors, consultants, third-party providers, Export Industry Participants and Approved Arrangements.
What has changed?
Commencement of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC)
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) commenced on 1 July 2023 and is an independent Commonwealth agency responsible for detecting, investigating, and reporting on ‘serious’ or ‘systemic’ corrupt conduct in the Commonwealth public sector. The NACC is a Whole of Australian Government initiative and impacts all government agencies and their providers.
The NACC will be able to investigate the conduct of Commonwealth public officials, as well as any individual or entity that performs work for, or on behalf of the department. This includes all Australian Public Service staff, contractors, consultants, third-party providers, Export Industry Participants, and Approved Arrangements. The NACC will also be able to investigate any person, even if they are not a public official, if they do something that might cause a public official to act dishonestly or in a biased way.
What is corrupt conduct?
While corrupt conduct can take many forms, the NACC Act defines it to mean situations where a public official:
- does something that breaches the public trust which may include exercising official powers for an improper purpose
- abuses their office as a public official, where a public official engages in improper acts in an official capacity to gain a benefit or cause a detriment, or
- misuses information or documents they have access to in their capacity as a public official, including the disclosure of confidential or classified information for an improper purpose.
It also applies to any person (whether they are a public official or not) who does something, or tries to do something, that could adversely affect a public official’s honesty or impartiality in their official capacity.
The terms ‘serious’ and ‘systemic’ are not defined in the NACC Act and will take their ordinary meaning.
How can I report corrupt conduct?
Any individual can report corrupt conduct directly to the NACC via their website from 1 July 2023.
What does this mean for industry?
Anyone who falls under the definition of a ‘public official’ within the NACC Act and is suspected of or commits an act of serious or systemic corrupt conduct, can be investigated by the Commission. As such, all individuals or entities that conduct work for, or on behalf of, the department should be mindful of their integrity responsibilities, behaviour, and reporting obligations. All individuals, including those that aren’t directly employed by the department, are encouraged to report suspected incidents of corruption to the NACC.
You can also contact the department’s Integrity Hotline on 1800 99 88 80 for further information.
The information provided in this advice is current at the time of writing and is intended for use as guidance only and should not be taken as definitive or exhaustive. The Commonwealth endeavours to keep information current and accurate, however, it may be subject to change without notice.