Protected Disclosures

The Borough of Queenscliffe Council is a public body subject to the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (Act) (formerly the Protected Disclosures Act 2012). The purpose of the Act is to encourage and facilitate the making of disclosures of improper conduct by public officers and public bodies, including the Borough of Queenscliffe, its officers, employees and Councillors.

The Borough of Queenscliffe 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 officers, employees or Councillors, nor the taking of reprisals against those who come forward to disclose such conduct.

What does the Public Interest Disclosures Act do?

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

Disclosures about Councillors must be made directly to the IBAC or the Victorian Ombudsman. Disclosure options are set out below:

Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC)

Victorian Ombudsman

Disclosures about Council staff can also be made to IBAC or made to any one of the following Council Officers appointed to receive disclosures, either orally or in writing:

Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator
General Manager Organisational Performance & Community Services
Borough of Queenscliffe
50 Learmonth Street, Queenscliffe VIC 3225
Telephone: 03 5258 1377
Email: protected.disclosure1@queenscliffe.vic.gov.au

Chief Executive Officer
Borough of Queenscliffe
50 Learmonth Street, Queenscliffe VIC 3225
Telephone: 03 5258 1377
Email: protected.disclosure2@queenscliffe.vic.gov.au

Council's Public Interest Disclosure Policy

Council's Public Interest Disclosure Policy is available from the policies page of this website.