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National Anti-Corruption Commission

On July 1, 2023, the National Anti-Corruption Commission officially commenced its work acting as a powerful corruption watchdog, strengthening our democracy and public institutions and delivering accountability and transparency that is rightly expected by the Australian public.  Anyone may refer a matter they believe constitutes corruption to the Commission. It is then up to the Commission to determine what to investigate. The Commission is set to have its hands full, with 2152 referrals being already made since its inception.  

The Hon Paul Brereton AM RFD SC has agreed to serve as the inaugural Commissioner, with Nicole Rose PSM and Dr Ben Gauntlett and Kylie Kilgour as Deputy Commissioners. Ms Gail Furness SC has been appointed as the independent Inspector to oversee the Commission.

The Commission is endowed with strong powers to detect,  investigate and prevent serious or systemic corrupt conduct across the entire federal public sector. 

The National Anti-Corruption Commission will have:

  • Broad jurisdiction: The Commission will have broad jurisdiction to investigate serious or systemic corrupt conduct across the Commonwealth public sector by ministers, parliamentarians and their staff, statutory officer holders, employees of all government entities and government contractors.
  • Independent: The Commission will operate independent of government, with discretion to commence inquiries into serious or systemic corruption on its own initiative or in response to referrals, including from whistleblowers and the public.
  • Oversight: The Commission will be overseen by a statutory Parliamentary Joint Committee, empowered to require the Commission to provide information about its work. It will also be overseen by an independent Inspector who will investigate corruption issues and complaints about the Commission itself, and ensure the Commission is exercising its powers appropriately.
  • Retrospective powers: The Commission will have the power to investigate allegations of serious or systemic corruption that occurred before or after its establishment.
  • Public hearings: The Commission will have the power to hold public hearings in exceptional circumstances and where it is in the public interest to do so.
  • Findings: The Commission will be empowered to make findings of fact, including findings of corrupt conduct, and refer findings that could constitute criminal conduct to the Australian Federal Police or the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
  • Procedural fairness: The Commission will operate with procedural fairness and its findings will be subject to judicial review.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission can investigate: 

  • Conduct of any person that adversely effects a public officials honest or impartial exercise of powers or performance of official duties. 
  • Conduct of a public official that involves a breach of public trust.  
  • Conduct of a public official that involves abuse of office. 
  • Conduct of a public official or formal public official that involves the misuse of documents or information they have gained in their capacity as a public official.  


The Government committed $33.2 million in 2022-23 to establish the Commission, with a further has   $295.6 million over four years from 2023-24 for ongoing operation of the Commission and oversight by the Inspector.

This funding will ensure the Commission has the staff, capabilities and capacity to properly consider referrals and allegations, conduct timely investigations and undertake corruption prevention and education activities.


The Commission will operate independently of government.

The Commissioner and Inspector will have discretion in how they perform their roles. This includes whether to commence an investigation, and how they will conduct their investigations.

Similar to a federal judge, the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners and Inspector will have security of tenure. Their appointment will be approved by a Parliamentary Joint Committee, and the Commissioner will be appointed for a single, non-renewable, fixed 5-year term.

The legislation also provides strong protections for whistleblowers and exemptions for journalists to protect the identity of sources.

Making a referral to the National Anti-Corruption Committee  

Under the National Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2022 (NACC Act), the NACC will only be able to investigate corrupt conduct that involves a public official in some way. People who can be investigated by the NACC are ‘in the NACC’s jurisdiction’. 

Here are some considerations before making a referral: 

  1. Did the corrupt conduct involve a current or former public official? 
  1. Do you suspect this conduct could be serious or systemic? A suspicion is enough. 

To understand who is a ‘public official’ under the NACC Act, please see Who can the NACC investigate? 

To understand what could be ‘serious or systemic’ corrupt conduct, see What is corrupt conduct? 

For further information on making a referral to the Commission, see How to make a report. 

Commonwealth Fraud and Corruption Control and Framework 

The Minister for Finance and the Attorney-General have announced the new Commonwealth Fraud and Corruption Framework which will come into effect on 1 July 2024.

This follows the recent amendments to section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (PGPA) Rule 2014 (the Fraud Rule) to include corruption, and strengthen the requirements for Commonwealth entities to prevent, detect and deal with fraud and corruption. These amendments will become the Fraud and Corruption Rule.

The new measures, which build on existing counter fraud obligations, will complement the work of the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Centre in preventing fraud and corruption in the Commonwealth public sector.

The amendments will take effect from 1 July 2024 and complement the Government’s ongoing work to improve integrity and maintain public trust which includes:

  • establishing the National Anti-Corruption Commission (which commenced operations on 1 July 2023)
  • establishing a Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme, agreeing or agreeing in principle to all recommendations and taking action to implement them
  • strengthening protections for public sector whistleblowers
  • establishing and enforcing a robust Code of Conduct for Ministers and for Ministerial staff
  • establishing an APS Integrity taskforce to identify gaps and opportunities to deliver system wide integrity improvements in the APS, and
  • delivering a new Third National Action Plan under the Open Government Partnership.

The Albanese Government is committed to integrity, honesty and accountability in government. We are delivering a significant integrity reform agenda to restore public trust in government and strengthen standards of integrity in the federal public sector.

 “The NACC is the cornerstone of the Albanese government's overarching integrity agenda. It will be a legacy reform, and it is a key election commitment that, unlike the previous government, we are actually delivering.” – Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah MP, speech to parliament 22nd November 2022.