As of 11 February 2013, new legislation implementing recent integrity reforms in Victoria came into effect. As a consequence the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 has replaced the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001.
The reform includes the creation of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), a body established to promote integrity and accountability across the Victorian public sector, the Victorian Inspectorate, whose role is to oversee both the IBAC and the Ombudsman, and the new Accountability and Oversight Parliamentary Committee which has oversight over the Ombudsman.
The purpose of this State Government Act is to encourage and facilitate the reporting of conduct of public officers (including councillors and council employees) and public bodies (including councils) that is improper conduct.
It has also been designed to ensure that public organisations such as councils are responsible and accountable and protect the public by exposing serious public sector unlawful activity.
The Act provides protection to persons who make disclosures in accordance with the Act and establishes a system for these matters to be investigated and remedial action to be taken if necessary.
Guidelines have been developed and procedures adopted to manage compliance with the Act.
How do we treat protected disclosures?
We will not tolerate improper conduct of our employees or Councillors, nor the taking of reprisals against those who come forward to disclose such conduct.
Employees and members of the public are encouraged to report known or suspected incidences of corrupt conduct, conduct involving a substantial mismanagement of public resources or conduct involving a substantial risk to public health and safety or the environment.
We will take all reasonable steps to protect people who make disclosures from acts of reprisal for the making of disclosures.
We will also afford natural justice to persons who are the subject of disclosures.
How do we protect people who make protected disclosures?
All correspondence, phone calls and emails from persons making disclosures are referred to the Protected Disclosure Coordinator.
The Protected Disclosure Coordinator will take all necessary steps to ensure that the identity of persons making protected disclosures and persons who are the subject of disclosures are kept confidential. Where necessary, the Protected Disclosure Coordinator will arrange for appropriate welfare support for persons making protected disclosures or cooperating with the investigation of disclosures.
Disclosures can be made anonymously.
How do I make a disclosure?
Council can only receive disclosures that relate to the Rural City of Wangaratta or its employees. Disclosures relating to Council or Council employees can be made to Council’s Protected Disclosure Coordinator or IBAC.
Disclosures about Rural City of Wangaratta Councillors must be addressed to IBAC.
To Council’s Protected Disclosure Coordinator:
By phone 03 5722 0888.
If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment you can call through the National Relay Service (NRS):
TTY users can phone 133677 then ask for 03 5722 0888; and
Speak & Listen (speech-to-speech) users can phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 03 5722 0888
In person Wangaratta Government Centre, Corner of Ford and Ovens Streets, Wangaratta. Office hours are Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm.
By mail Postal address PO Box 238 Wangaratta, Vic 3676
By email email@example.com
By phone 1300 735 135
If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, please contact us through the National Relay Service (NRS):
TTY users phone 1800 555 677 then ask for 1300 735 135;
Speak and Listen users phone 1800 555 727 then ask for 1300 735 135;
Internet relay users connect to the NRS then ask for 1300 735 135.
In person Street address Level 1, North Tower, 459 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000. Office hours are Monday to Friday - 9.00am to 5.00pm.
By mail Postal address GPO Box 24234, Melbourne, VIC 3001
Further information and guidance on the new legislation or any other matters can be found at the IBAC website