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:
Hepburn Shire Council
Ms Krysten Forte, Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator
By telephone: 03 5348 2306
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 telephone: 1300 735 135
By post: download a complaint form from IBAC and mail to
GPO Box 24234, Melbourne Vic 3001
By telephone: 03 9613 6222
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.