From 10 February 2013, the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001 was replaced with the Protected Disclosure Act 2012.
This reform included the creation of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC). IBAC’s role is to reinforce integrity and accountability across the Victorian public sector.
What is a Protected Disclosure?
A Protected Disclosure is a complaint of corrupt or improper behaviour by a public officer or organisation.
What is the Protected Disclosure Act?
The Protected Disclosure Act 2012 lets people expose improper conduct within the public sector without fear of retaliation. By encouraging people to make disclosures and protecting them when they do, the Act promotes openness and accountability.
How does Swan Hill Rural City Council treat Protected Disclosures?
Council does not tolerate corrupt or improper conduct by its employees, officers or members. It also does not tolerate retaliation against those who come forward to expose such behaviour.
Employees and members of the public are encouraged to report known or suspected corrupt or improper conduct.
Council will take all reasonable steps to protect people who make disclosures without the fear of retaliation.
Council will also provide natural justice to the person who is the subject of the disclosure.
How does Swan Hill Rural City Council protect those who make a Protected Disclosure?
All correspondence, phone calls and emails from persons making disclosures are referred to the Protected Disclosure Co-ordinator.
The Co-ordinator will take the necessary steps to ensure:
- The identity of the person making a protected disclosure is kept confidential.
- The identity of the person subject to the disclosure remains confidential.
Where necessary, the Protected Disclosure Co-ordinator will arrange suitable welfare support for the person making a protected disclosure.
What if I want to make a Protected Disclosure?
Protected Disclosures can be made by employees or members of the public.
Part 2 of the Act says a person may make a disclosure:
- In writing
Protected Disclosures may relate to corrupt or improper conduct by:
- The organisation
- Employees of Council
- Member of a special committee of Council
Council can only address disclosures that relate to Swan Hill Rural City Council.
Protected Disclosures about Councillors must be addressed by IBAC or the Ombudsman.
Who do I Contact?
Disclosures relating to Council should be made to the Protected Disclosures Co-ordinator:
Protected Disclosure Co-ordinator
Swan Hill Rural City Council
PO BOX 488
Swan Hill Vic 3585
Phone: (03) 5036 2315
Mobile: 0408 563 250
Disclosures can also be made directly to IBAC.
Protected Disclosures regarding Councillors must be made to IBAC or the Victorian Ombudsman.
GPO Box 24234
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Phone: 1300 735 135
Level 1, 459 Collins Street (North Tower)
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Phone: 1800 806 314
What happens next?
When a complaint is determined to be a Protected Disclosure, Council will investigate to determine if it is an Assessable Disclosure. IBAC must be notified of an Assessable Disclosure.
The person making the complaint will be kept informed of any action taken and the timeframes.
Alternatives to making a Protected Disclosure
These procedures complement everyday ways of submitting complaints to Council and communication between supervisors and employees.
Members of the public are encouraged to contact Council with any complaints or concerns about Council or Council employees.
Employees are encouraged to raise matters at any time with their supervisors.