Public Interest Disclosures

The Pyrenees Shire Council is a public body subject to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 (the Act).  The purpose of the Act is to facilitate the making of disclosures of improper conduct by public officers and public bodies, including the Pyrenees Shire Council, its offices and Councillors, and to protect those who make such disclosures.

Pyrenees Shire Council is committed to the aims and objectives of the Act in the reporting of improper conduct, including corruption, and recognises the value of transparency and accountability in its administrative, management, and decision-making practices. 

Pyrenees Shire Council does not tolerate improper conduct by the organisation, its employees / officers or Councillors, nor the taking of reprisals against those who come forward to disclose such conduct.

Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012

Under the Act, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) has a key role in receiving, assessing and investigating disclosures about improper conduct and detriment action by public bodies or public officers.

The Act provides certain protections for people who make disclosures and created obligations of confidentiality preventing the disclosure of the identity of the person who has made a disclosure and the content of the disclosure, unless it is done under certain specified circumstances.  Disclosure of either the identity of a discloser, or the content of their disclosure that is not covered by any of those specified exceptions is a criminal offence.

What is a Public Interest Disclosure?

A complaint, report or allegation regarding improper conduct by a public body or public officers.

A complaint or allegation that is already in the public domain will not normally be a public interest disclosure, for example if the matter has already been subject to media or other public commentary.  The term ‘disclosure’ is interpreted within the Act as a ‘revelation’ to the person receiving it.

People making a disclosure must believe, on reasonable grounds, that the Councillor or Council Officer / employee has engaged in, or proposes to engage in, improper conduct.  The conduct must be serious enough to constitute a criminal offence or reasonable grounds for dismissal. 

Examples of such conduct may include:

  • An officer taking a bribe to grant a permit.

  • A Council officer selling or revealing confidential information to enable some to gain advantage, such as information about a tender.

  • An officer ignoring or concealing evidence of an illegal activity being conducted in the workplace or shire.

  • A substantial mismanagement of public resources.

  • A substantial risk to public health and safety.

  • A substantial risk to the environment.

How to make a Public Interest Disclosure

Disclosures can be made anonymously.

Disclosures about Councillors must be made directly to the IBAC or the Victorian Ombudsman:

IBAC: Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission:

Telephone: 1300 735 135 to request a form be sent to you.

Complete the IBAC secure online form.

Download a complaint form from IBAC for completion.

Victorian Ombudsman:

Telephone: 03 9613 6222

Email: ombudvic@ombudsman.vic.gov.au

Postal address:

Ms Deborah Glass OBE, Ombudsman

Ombudsman Victoria

Level 2, 570 Bourke Street

MELBOURNE VIC 3000

 

Disclosures about Council employees / officers can also be made IBAC or made to any of the following Council Officers appointed to receive disclosures:

By telephone:

Kathy Bramwell, Director Corporate & Community Services
Phone: 03 5349 1105

Michelle Richards, Manager Governance Risk & Compliance
Phone: 03 5349 1110

By email:

kathy.bramwell@pyrenees.vic.gov.au

By post:

Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator: Confidential
Director Corporate & Community Services
Pyrenees Shire Council
5 Lawrence Street
BEAUFORT VIC 3373

If Council believes a disclosure may be a Public Interest Disclosure made in accordance with the Act, it will notify the disclosure to the IBAC for assessment.  The IBAC will then deal with the disclosure.