Guidance material

Frequently asked questions about the Integrity and Accountability Legislation Amendment

Frequently asked questions about the Integrity and Accountability Legislation Amendment (Public Interest Disclosures, Oversight and Independence) Act 2019. Key changes commence on 1 January 2020

Protected Disclosure Act 2012 becomes the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012

What terminology is changing?

  • Under the new legislation, the terms 'protected disclosure' and 'protected disclosure complaint' have been replaced with:
    • public interest disclosure (PID): disclosure by a natural person of information that shows / tends to show or information that the person reasonably believes shows / tends to show improper conduct or detrimental action (previously a protected disclosure) and
    • public interest complaint (PIC): a public interest disclosure that has been determined by IBAC, the Victorian Inspectorate or the Integrity and Oversight Committee (IOC) to be a public interest complaint (previously a protected disclosure complaint).
  • Where a matter is determined to be a PIC, additional rules apply as to how it must be handled. These include a restricted list of bodies which can be referred the matter for investigation, what notifications must be given to the discloser and a restriction on withdrawing the complaint.

Why is the legislation changing?

  • The changes are intended to make it easier to make a disclosure. The changes allow a broader range of disclosures to be made, provide for more independent expert bodies to investigate disclosures and introduce a flexible ‘no wrong door’ approach to ensure disclosures aren’t excluded because of non-compliance with complex procedures.
  • The changes also introduce new flexibility for IBAC to determine, with the discloser’s consent, that a matter would be better dealt with outside of the public interest disclosure system. The new provisions allow disclosers to give details about their disclosure to additional specified bodies (such as health practitioners or WorkCover where necessary for support or a claim) or more broadly where a public interest complaint has not been adequately addressed within a specified amount of time.