Guidance material

What is a public interest disclosure?

Protection of people who make genuine disclosures about improper conduct in the public sector is critical for an effective integrity and anti-corruption system.

The Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (Vic) (the Act) ensures that people who report improper conduct and corruption in the Victorian public sector (whistleblowers) 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.

How to report corruption and misconduct

Reports about corruption and misconduct can be made directly to IBAC.

People can also report corruption and misconduct to the Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator of the public sector body or agency they are complaining about.

All Victorian state government departments, administrative offices and local councils have a Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator who is responsible for receiving and handling reports of improper conduct from employees or members of the public, and ensuring that support and welfare protection is provided to them.

A Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator must keep all potential public interest disclosures confidential and refer them to IBAC for assessment.

Some government agencies are not able to receive public interest disclosures. The agencies that can accept public interest disclosures are listed on this fact sheet. Any agency not in this list is unable to receive public interest disclosures. Disclosures about these agencies should be made directly to IBAC.

How are potential public interest disclosures assessed?

In assessing whether a complaint should be given public interest disclosure status, IBAC uses the specific criteria set out in the Act.

A complaint should clearly show or suggest ‘improper conduct’ or ‘detrimental action’ by a public officer.

Improper conduct must be either criminal conduct or other conduct specified under the Act. Examples include serious professional misconduct, intentional or reckless breach of public trust and conduct adversely affecting the honest performance of a public officer.

Detrimental action includes harassment or discrimination, or other adverse action taken against the discloser in reprisal for having reported the alleged improper conduct.

People seeking protection under the Act should carefully consider whether their complaint meets these basic thresholds before reporting.

  • State government departments:

    • Department of Premier and Cabinet
    • Department of Education and Training
    • Department of Health and Human Services
    • Department of Treasury and Finance
    • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
    • Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
    • Department of Justice and Community Safety
    • Department of Transport.

    Administrative offices:

    • Family Safety Victoria
    • Latrobe Valley Authority
    • Local Government Inspectorate
    • Major Transport Infrastructure Authority
    • Office of Projects Victoria
    • Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel
    • Office of the Governor
    • Office of the Victorian Government Architect
    • Public Record Office Victoria
    • Safer Care Victoria
    • Service Victoria
    • Victorian Agency for Health Information
    • Victorian Government Solicitors Office.

    All local councils

    Victorian Public Sector Commission