Public Interest Disclosures (Whistleblowing)

Report improper conduct with public interest disclosure

Victoria's public interest disclosure scheme is vitally important in ensuring that people who report improper conduct and corruption in the Victorian public sector (disclosers) can do so in the knowledge that they will be protected.

Protections include keeping the identity of the person reporting improper conduct confidential and protecting them from reprisals including bullying, harassment or legal action.

We are committed to the aims and objectives of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 (formerly known as the Protected Disclosure Act 2012). We do not tolerate improper conduct by our elected representatives or employees, nor taking reprisals against anyone who comes forward to disclose this conduct.

Anyone can make a public interest disclosure (previously known as 'whistleblower' complaints) to report improper conduct by Council, its staff, employees and Councillors.

What is a public interest disclosure?

Where a person believes there are reasonable grounds to support that a Council officer, employee or Councillor is engaging or has engaged in improper conduct or detrimental action, that person may report the conduct (public interest disclosure) to the appropriate person or entity and be assured of confidentiality and protection from reprisal as a result of making the disclosure. 

What is improper conduct?

Improper conduct is defined in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 to include:

  • Corrupt conduct and/or
  • Any of the following conduct by a public officer or public body in their capacity as a public officer or public body:
  • A criminal offence
  • Serious professional misconduct*
  • Dishonest performance of public functions
  • An intentional breach or reckless breach of public trust
  • An intentional or reckless misuse of public tr5uset
  • An intentional or reckless misuse of information or material acquired in the course of the performance of public functions
  • A substantial mismanagement of public resources
  • A substantial risk to the health or safety of one or more persons
  • A substantial risk to the environment.

* The Act does not define serious professional misconduct.

What is detrimental action?

Detrimental action is action in reprisal for a Public Interest Disclosure and can include:

        (a)     action causing injury, loss or damage;

        (b)     intimidation or harassment;

        (c)     discrimination, disadvantage or adverse treatment in relation to a person's employment, career, profession, trade or business, including the taking of disciplinary action;

How to make a disclosure

A person may make a disclosure orally, in writing (disclosures cannot be made by fax), or electronically (email only).

Who to contact

Disclosures of improper or corrupt conduct or detrimental action regarding Indigo Shire Council employees (excluding Councillors) may be made to the following officers:

The Public Interest Disclosures Coordinator (PDC)

Manager Organisational Development – Ms Dalene Voigt 

In writing – marked Confidential to Public Interest Disclosures Coordinator (PDC) PO Box 28 Beechworth Vic 3747

Via email: Dalene.voigt@indigoshire.vic.gov.au

Via Phone 0357 288 011

If the disclosure relates to the Public Interest Disclosures Coordinator, the disclosure should be made to the Chief Executive Officer.  If the disclosure relates to the Chief Executive Officer, the disclosure should be made to the Public Interest Disclosures Coordinator.

The Ombudsman/IBAC

A disclosure about improper conduct or detrimental action by an Indigo Shire employee may also be made directly to the Ombudsman or IBAC.

Disclosures relating to Councillors can only be made directly to the Ombudsman or IBAC.

Victorian Ombudsman

Level 2, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

Internet: www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au

Online: www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/Complaints/Make-a-Complaint

Phone: (03) 9613 6222 Toll Free (regional only): 1800 806 314

IBAC

Level 1, North Tower, 459 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Internet: www.ibac.vic.gov.au

Online: www.ibac.vic.gov.au/reporting-corruption/complaints-form

Phone: 1300 735 135

Confidentiality

All disclosures by internal and external disclosers will be kept strictly confidential. Disclosures can be made anonymously.

Council’s Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower) Policy can be viewed here.