NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has revealed a hacker gained unauthorised access to a senior departmental executive's email account, using it to send a message to all staff.
Piccoli raised the alleged hack in a response to an unrelated question in state parliament yesterday.
"The email account of the Director General of the Department of Education and Communities [Dr Michele Bruniges] has been hacked and an email has been sent to all staff in the department under her name, although clearly the email was not sent by her," Piccoli said.
"I am angry about the matter. If we find the person or people who did this, I assure members [of parliament] that the full force of the law will be brought down on them."
Piccoli repeatedly referred to the incident as a "crime" and issued a warning that the alleged perpetrator or perpetrators "should not underestimate my determination to find them and have them punished severely".
He said he was "offended" that someone had tried to misrepresent Dr Bruniges, whom he described as "one of the most highly respected educational leaders in the world".
A report by the Sydney Morning Herald alleges the unauthorised email sent from Dr Bruniges account advised staff on how to indirectly fight $1.7 billion in planned cuts to the Education budget announced last month.
The report quoted the department's acting director-general that the email was fake.