Wodonga Council
Public interest disclosure procedure

Page URL: https://www.wodonga.vic.gov.au/About-Council/Our-Organisation/Corporate-documents/Public-interest-disclosure-procedure

Public interest disclosure procedure

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If you have good reason to believe that a councillor or officer intends to or has engaged in improper conduct, we encourage you to speak up. 

The Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (the Act) encourages and facilitates people to make disclosures about improper conduct or detrimental action involving public officers or public entities. It also protects persons who make those disclosures.

Wodonga Council is committed to the aims and objectives of the Act. It recognises the value of transparency, integrity and accountability in its practices, and supports the making of disclosures. 

As required by the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012, we have established procedures for handling disclosures. The Act requires that disclosures are properly investigated, and that the people who make them are protected from reprisals.


Purpose of the Public Interest Disclosure Act

The purposes of the Act are to:

  • Encourage and facilitate disclosures of improper conduct involving public officers and public entities;
  • Provide the discloser with protection from detrimental action as a result of making a public interest disclosure; and,
  • Ensure the confidentiality of the content of public interest disclosures and the identity of persons who make those disclosures.


What is a public interest disclosure?

A public interest disclosure is a complaint or allegation made about improper conduct or detrimental action involving a public officer or public body. The conduct must be serious enough to constitute a criminal offence or reasonable grounds for dismissal.

Improper conduct includes:

  • Corrupt conduct;
  • Any of the following conduct by a public officer or public body in their capacity as a public officer or public body;
    • Criminal offence
    • serious professional misconduct
    • Dishonest performance of public functions
    • Intentional or reckless breach of public trust
    • An intentional or reckless misuse of information
    • A substantial mismanagement of public resources
    • A substantial risk to health or safety of one or more persons
    • A substantial risk to the environment
  • And, conduct of any person that adversely affects, or is intended to affect, the honest or effective performance by a public officer or public body of their functions.

Detrimental action is any adverse action that is taken against a person in reprisal for making or assisting with a disclosure. For further information, see section 4 of the Act.

Who can make a disclosure?

Any person or group of persons (but not businesses) can make a disclosure.

How do I make a disclosure?

We can only address disclosures that relate to Wodonga Council.

If your disclosure is made to a person or entity that is unable to receive your disclosure, it may not attract the protection of the Act.  It is therefore important to determine if you are making your disclosure to the correct entity or person.

Public interest disclosures about councillors of Wodonga Council can only be made to IBAC or the Ombudsman. Disclosures about Wodonga Council or its staff should be made to the Protected Disclosure Co-ordinator.

Debra Mudra
Deputy CEO
PO Box 923, Wodonga, VIC, 3690
T: 02 6022 9272
E: dmudra@wodonga.vic.gov.au


Disclosures can be made:

  • By phone (including leaving a voicemail message);
  • In person by arrangement; or,
  • In writing by email or letter (but not by fax). Any disclosures sent by email or letter should be marked ‘Confidential – for addressee eyes only’.

Disclosures may also be made directly to IBAC or the Victorian Ombudsman.

Disclosing to the IBAC

You can make a disclosure by:

  • Completing the IBAC secure online form;
  • Downloading a complaint form from IBAC and return by email, fax or post; or,
  • Phoning IBAC on 1300 735 135 to request a form be sent to you.

For additional information, visit the IBAC website at ibac.vic.gov.au

Disclosing to the Ombudsman

You can lodge a disclosure through the following methods.

You can visit the Ombudsmans website at ombudsman.vic.gov.au for additional information.

If in doubt, please direct any queries to IBAC at info@ibac.vic.gov.au or visit the IBAC website.


Council’s response to a disclosure

Protecting your confidentiality as a discloser

People who report improper conduct and corruption can do so in the knowledge that they will be protected. Protections include keeping the identity of the person reporting improper conduct confidential and protecting them from reprisals including bullying, harassment or legal action.

The council's normal complaint management process [insert link] should be used for all other complaints.

Where can I get more information?

The Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 enables people to make disclosures about improper conduct within the public sector without fear of reprisal. The Act aims to ensure openness and accountability by encouraging people to make disclosures and protecting them when they do so.

Go to AustLii: Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012

More information on the Act and IBAC's procedures are available on the IBAC website.

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