Public Interest Disclosures
The Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (formerly known as the Protected Disclosure Act 2012) enables people to make a "disclosure" about improper conduct by Councillors and Council officers. The Act also provides protection to people who make a disclosure, and provides for such matters to be properly investigated. Disclosures may also be made about “detrimental action” taken (or suspected may be taken) in reprisal against a person in connection with a disclosure made about improper conduct.
Corangamite Shire has established procedures to facilitate and encourage the making of disclosures, and advising people how the Council handles any disclosures received by it.
The Council’s Public Interest Disclosure Procedures also contain detailed information about what might constitute improper conduct by a Council officer or Councillor.
What is a 'Public Interest Disclosure'?
Any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that improper conduct by Council officers or Councillors has occurred or is going to occur, can make a disclosure. A disclosure about a Council officer can be notified either to Council or directly to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC). The IBAC is Victoria’s anti-corruption agency responsible for investigating, exposing and preventing public sector corruption and misconduct. Public Interest Disclosures made to Council will be referred to the IBAC for assessment. The IBAC will then deal with the disclosure.
Council cannot receive complaints about Councillors, which must be referred directly to the IBAC or Victorian Ombudsman.
Disclosures regarding Corangamite Shire staff should be made to the Chief Executive Officer, Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator or the manager of the person about whom the complaint is made.
When making a disclosure it is important for the person to state that it is their intention to lodge a Public Interest Disclosure.
Disclosures must be made privately and can be made orally, in writing, electronically or anonymously to:
Corangamite takes its obligations under the Act seriously. This includes the requirement to protect the identity of the discloser and the matters disclosed by a discloser. Maintaining confidentiality in relation to public interest disclosure matters is crucial, among other things, in ensuring reprisals are not made against a discloser. It is a criminal offence under the Act to disclose information connected with a disclosure made in accordance with the Act, including the identity of the discloser. The penalties for breaching confidentiality obligations include financial penalties and imprisonment.