A public interest disclosure is a disclosure made in line with the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (this act replaced the Protected Disclosures Act 2012).
What is a public interest disclosure?
Public interest disclosures used to be known as protected disclosures or whistleblowing.
A public interest disclosure is a disclosure made in line with the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (this act replaced the Protected Disclosure Act 2012).
Purpose of the Public Interest Disclosures Act
The purpose of the Public Interest Disclosures Act is to:
- Encourage and facilitate disclosures of improper conduct and detrimental action made in reprisal by public officers and public bodies
- Provide protection for people who make disclosures or who may suffer detrimental action in reprisal for those disclosures
- Provide confidentiality of the content of disclosures and the identity of people who make them.
What kind of protections do public interest disclosures have?
Once an allegation has been formally assessed as a public interest disclosure, the discloser receives:
- Immunity from civil and criminal liability and disciplinary action for making the disclosure
- Immunity from liability for breaching confidentiality provisions
- Protection from actions in defamation for making the disclosure
- The right to sue for damages or to seek an injunction to stop actions in reprisal
- Protection of your identity and any information that would lead to your identification.
Who can make a disclosure?
Any individual or group of individuals may make a disclosure.
What can I make a disclosure about?
You may make a disclosure about the improper conduct of and detrimental action taken by public bodies or public officers performing public functions. This includes the department, its offices and agencies as well as statutory authorities in the portfolio of the department.
How do I make a disclosure?
Public Interest Disclosures (formerly Protected Disclosures or Whistleblowers)
- Call the Public Interest Disclosure Hotline on 1300 131 431
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Write to DHHS Public Interest Disclosures, GPO Box 4057, Melbourne VIC 3001.
- Your manager
- The Secretary.
Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC)
- Use the IBAC online complaint form
- Call 1300 735 135
- In person: level 1, North Tower, 459 Collins Street, Melbourne.
If your disclosure is about a ministerial officer or a statutory entity or office within the department's portfolio, you should contact IBAC.
You can contact the department’s Public Interest Disclosures Coordinators or visit the IBAC website for more information on public interests disclosures.