Public Interest Disclosures (Whistleblower)

Hepburn Shire Council is a public body subject to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 (Act). The purpose of the Act is to facilitate the making of disclosures of improper conduct by public officers and public bodies, including the Hepburn Shire Council, its staff, employees and councillors.

​Hepburn Shire Council is committed to the aims and objectives of the Act. It recognises the value of transparency and accountability in its administrative and management practices and supports the making of disclosures that reveal improper conduct. It does not tolerate improper conduct by the organisation, its employees, officers, or Councillors, nor the taking of reprisals against those who come forward to disclose such conduct.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012

Under the Act, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) has a key role in receiving, assessing and investigating disclosures about improper conduct and detrimental action taken in reprisal for a disclosure by public bodies or public officers.

The 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.

What is a Public Interest Disclosure?

A complaint or allegation that is already in the public domain will not normally be a public interest 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 the 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.

How to make a Public Interest Disclosure

Hepburn Shire Council encourages and supports the disclosure of improper conduct by public officers or public bodies

If you wish to report corruption or misconduct of Council staff, please contact:

Disclosures regarding Councillors must be made directly to:

IBAC

Hepburn Shire Council

Ms Krysten Forte, Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator

By telephone: 03 5348 2306

By email: publicdisclosures@hepburn.vi.gov.au

By post:   Confidential: Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator,

PO Box 21 Daylesford 3460

By telephone: 1300 735 135
Online:     IBAC secure online form

 

By post:   download a complaint form from IBAC and mail to                   GPO Box 24234, Melbourne Vic 3001

By email: download a complaint form from IBAC and send to                    info@ibac.vic.gov.au

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IBAC

By telephone: 1300 735 135
Online:     IBAC secure online form

By post:   download a complaint form from IBAC and mail to

GPO Box 24234, Melbourne Vic 3001

By email: download a complaint form from IBAC and send to                    info@ibac.vic.gov.au

 

Victorian Ombudsman

By telephone: 03 9613 6222

Online:     www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au
By email: ombudvic@ombudsman.vic.gov.au

 

Public Interest Disclosure Procedures

Council’s Public Interest Disclosure Procedures explain in detail the system for reporting disclosures of improper conduct by Council or its employees.

If Council believes a disclosure may be a Public Interest Disclosure made in accordance with the Act, it will notify the disclosure to the IBAC for assessment. The IBAC will then deal with the disclosure.

Public Interest Disclosure Procedures for Hepburn Shire Council

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