Disclosure of Interest Framework

Innovation Australia (the Board) and its committee members are drawn from industry and academia with qualifications and experience covering broad commercial and technical areas of expertise. Due to the nature of their role, on occasion a member may have an interest with a matter under consideration. As such, the Board has adopted robust and conservative best practice disclosure of interest procedures to ensure that its customers, the general public, and the Minister for Innovation Industry Science and Research can be confident in the integrity of its decision making processes.

Overview

The following provides an overview of this disclosure of interest framework and the Board's procedures.

Conflicts of Interest

Under general law, a person acting in a position of trust or obligation must not allow his or her interest and duty to conflict, and must not profit from a position of trust or obligation. A conflict of interest can be:

  • An actual conflict where an individual's personal interest affects the way they behave in their role.
  • A perceived conflict where it may appear to others that the individual's personal interest could affect the way they behave in their role.
  • A potential conflict where an individual's personal interest could affect the way they behave in the future.

In running its programs the Board observes statutory requirements as set out in the Industry, Research and Development Act 1986 IR&D Act) and generally applicable standards concerning the management, handling and recording of relevant interests.

Managing Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

Conscious that the perception of a conflict of interest may be as important as an actual conflict, the Board has developed policies that not only address direct and indirect pecuniary interests as required under the IR&D Act, but has broadened the scope of member disclosure requirements to also cover other personal or family interests.

A pecuniary interest simply means a financial interest, or a financial benefit or disadvantage. An "indirect pecuniary interest" may be because an individual has a close relationship with some one that has a financial interest in the matter under consideration. Examples of "pecuniary interests" include:

  • increased or decreased sales or profits for a business - or something that might lead to this, such as a decrease in competition or an increase in the number of customers
  • employment benefits (offers of paid employment, increases in salary, commissions, bonus payments, promotions etc)
  • provision of labour or services
  • increased or decreased value of an asset (e.g. property or shares).

A non-pecuniary interest could be a bias or predisposition towards a certain outcome based on some personal or other interest.

Board Policies

The two primary Innovation Australia policies dealing with disclosures and management of pecuniary and non-pecuniary interest are Innovation Australia's Code of Conduct and Disclosure of Interest Guidelines. All members are expected to observe these policies when dealing with Board/Committee related matters. As statutory office holders Board and Committee members are also bound by the Australian Public Service Act 1999 Section 13, Code of Conduct, in the same way as Australian Public Service employees.

In addition, Innovation Australia has developed a set of 'Customer Contact Principles' to guide and assist members in appropriately dealing with customers in their capacity as Board and/or Committee members.

Each disclosure of interest made by a Board member is assessed and documented on a case by-case basis applying the policies and guidelines set out above.

 
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