The Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (the Act) facilitates the making of disclosures about serious improper conduct by public bodies or public officers or even members of the public who incite public bodies or officers to commit serious improper conduct.  The Act provides for a system for these matters to be confidentially disclosed and impartially investigated.  The Act also provides protection from detrimental action to the discloser and welfare support during the process.

Who can make a disclosure?

Any individual or group of individuals may make a complaint and they can remain anonymous. It is helpful to have some evidence or sufficient reason to believe the action you are complaining about has occurred. A disclosure cannot be made by a business or company.

What can I make a disclosure about?

You can make a disclosure about seriously improper conduct engaged in, and/or detrimental action taken by, public bodies or public officers performing public functions, or members of the public who incite public officers to commit serious improper or corrupt conduct.

Serious improper conduct is conduct that is unlawful, corrupt or fraudulent it is also conduct that is dishonest, whereby an individual uses their position or information available to them in their position to personally benefit.

Complaints can also be made about the department's portfolio entities. However, disclosures about portfolio entities must be made directly to the IBAC.

Who can I make a disclosure to?

If you wish to make a protected disclosure about this department or any of its employees and/or officers, you can write to:

PRIVATE and CONFIDENTIAL for addressee only
Protected Disclosure Coordinator
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
PO Box 500
East Melbourne 8002
protected.disclosures@delwp.vic.gov.au

If you would like to discuss the matter first, you may contact Protected Disclosure Coordinator, Kim Reeves or Protected Disclosure Officer, Stuart Atkins on 1800 903 877.

Alternatively, you may take your matter directly to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), the body responsible for determining whether a complaint is a protected disclosure and how it should be investigated. IBAC can be contacted at:

Level 1, North Tower
459 Collins Street
Melbourne  Vic  3000
GPO Box 24234, Melbourne, VIC 3001

1300 735 135
www.ibac.vic.gov.au

Guide to making a Protected Disclosure

In certain circumstances a complaint of corrupt or improper conduct by a public officer or body, including police, will be a protected disclosure.

The Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (PD Act), enables people to make disclosures about improper conduct within the public sector without fear of reprisal. The PD Act aims to ensure openness and accountability by encouraging people to make disclosures and protecting them when they do.

The PD Act provides certain protections for people who make disclosures, and creates certain obligations of confidentiality preventing the disclosure of the identity of the person who has made a disclosure and the content of the disclosure, unless it is done under certain specified circumstances. Disclosure of either the identity of a discloser, or the content of their disclosure that is not covered by any of those specified exceptions is a criminal offence.

The PD Act:

  • encourages and assists individuals in making disclosures of improper conduct by public officers and public bodies
  • establishes a system for such matters to be confidentially disclosed and impartially investigated
  • provides the discloser with protection from detrimental action as a result of making the disclosure.

Serious, improper conduct includes corrupt conduct, fraudulent conduct, conduct that is unlawful, a substantial mismanagement of public resources or a substantial risk to public health, safety or the environment.

If you submit your complaint to DELWP, we will assess it against the criteria provided by the Independent Broadbased Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) to determine whether it is a Protected Disclosure. If so, your complaint will be referred to IBAC for investigation and you will be appointed a welfare manager.

Once IBAC received the referral it may decide to investigate the matter itself or refer it to another body (most likely the Victorian Ombudsman) to investigate further. It may determine that the complaint does not meet the criteria of a Protected Disclosure, and refer it back to DELWP to be investigated.

A person who makes a disclosure that becomes a protected disclosure is assured confidentiality and protection from reprisal or detrimental action.

The department may assign a Welfare Manager to a discloser once the disclosure is assessed as a protected disclosure. The Welfare Manager will provide advice and support.

It is in your best interests to keep your disclosure confidential to minimise your risk of detrimental action such as discrimination or other adverse treatment. Only discuss it and related matters with authorised persons in DELWP such as the Protected Disclosure Co-ordinators, or the Welfare Manager.

If you wish to make a disclosure about any other statutory entity or office, you should make your disclosure to IBAC.

If you wish to make a protected disclosure about the Freedom of Information Commissioner or the Privacy and Data Protection Commissioner you must make your disclosure to IBAC, or:

The Victorian Ombudsman
Level 9, North Tower
459 Collins Street
Melbourne Vic  3000
Telephone: (03) 9613 6222 / 1800 806 314
Website: www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au

If you wish to make a disclosure about any of the following public bodies or public officers, you must make your disclosure to IBAC:

  • The Chief Commissioner of Police
  • The Director of Public Prosecutions
  • The Chief Crown Prosecutor
  • The Solicitor-General
  • A judicial officer
  • A member of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
  • A judicial employee
  • A ministerial officer

If you wish to make a disclosure about a member of police personnel (other than the Chief Commissioner of Police), you must make your disclosure to IBAC or prescribed members of police personnel.