What is the purpose of the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (the Act)?
The Act facilitates the disclosure of corrupt or improper conduct by public officers and public bodies, including Wellington Shire Council, its staff, employees and Councillors. It also provides protection to people who disclose this information.
The Act commenced operation on 19 February 2013, replacing the Whistleblowers Protection Act and established the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) as part of a new integrity system for Victoria.
What is a Protected Disclosure?
A complaint or allegation that is already in the public domain will not normally be a protected disclosure, for example if the matter has already been subject to media or other public commentary. The term 'disclosure' is interpreted under the Act in the ordinary sense of the word as a 'revelation' to the person receiving it.
People making a disclosure must believe, on reasonable grounds, that a Councillor or Council employee has engaged in, or proposes to engage in, improper conduct. The conduct must be serious enough to constitute a criminal offence or reasonable grounds for dismissal.
Examples of such a disclosure may include:
- An officer taking a bribe to grant a permit.
- An officer ignoring or concealing evidence of an illegal activity being conducted in the municipality.
- A Council officer selling or revealing confidential information to enable someone to gain advantage such as information about a tender.
- A substantial mismanagement of public resources.
- A substantial risk to public health or safety.
- A substantial risk to the environment.
Please note that disclosures can be made anonymously.
Who is the Act Applicable to?
The Act applies to all Victorian public bodies and public officers including:
- Government departments and agencies
- Statutory authorities
- Universities and hospitals
- Councillors and Council staff
- Members of the Victorian Police Force
- Members of Victorian Parliament
Who can make a disclosure?
Any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that improper or corrupt conduct has occurred can make a disclosure.
Who handles these disclosures at Wellington Shire Council?
Disclosures regarding Wellington staff should be made to the General Manager Corporate Services, alternatively in his absence the Chief Executive Officer may receive disclosures.
If Council believes a disclosure may be a protected disclosure made in accordance with the Act, it will notify the disclosure to IBAC for assessment. IBAC will then deal with the disclosure.
Disclosures regarding Wellington Shire Councillors should be made directly to IBAC.
How do I contact Wellington Shire Council with a disclosure?
General Manager Corporate Services
- Telephone: (03) 5142 3181
- Email: email@example.com (Note: This email address is solely accessed by the General Manager Corporate Services).
- In writing: Enclosed within an envelope clearly marked:
“CONFIDENTIAL - Attention General Manager Corporate Services”
Wellington Shire Council
PO BOX 506
SALE VIC 3850
How do I contact IBAC with a disclosure?