Protected disclosure

Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) supports disclosures that reveal mismanagement of public resources, corrupt conduct and conduct that risks public health and safety. At the same time we aim to be transparent, professional and accountable for how we conduct our business.

Background

On 10 February 2013, the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (Vic) (the Act) came into effect and replaced the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001 (Vic).

The Act allows 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.

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

The Act provides certain protections for people who make protected disclosures. It also creates certain obligations of confidentiality that prevent the disclosure of the identity of the person who has made a protected disclosure, and the content of the disclosure, unless it is done under certain specified circumstances.

What is a protected disclosure?

A protected disclosure is a report made by a person about improper conduct of public bodies or public officers to any of the organisations specified in Part 2 of the Act.

A protected disclosure can also be made about detrimental action against a person by public bodies or public officers in reprisal for the making of a protected disclosure by any person. Please refer to the Act for what is 'improper conduct' and 'detrimental action'.

To be protected under the Act, the disclosure must be made in accordance with Part 2 of the Act and in accordance with the prescribed procedure. Disclosures relating to the Director, Transport Safety must be made to IBAC.
 
The protected disclosure can relate to improper conduct or detrimental action against a person that may already have taken place, may be occurring now, or the public officer or public body may be going to do it in the future. Protected disclosures can be made about conduct that occurred prior to the commencement of the Act on 10 February 2013.

More information can be found on the Protected disclosure page of the IBAC website.

What is not a protected disclosure?

A complaint or allegation is not a protected disclosure if:

  • It is made to an entity that cannot receive disclosures (such as the Director, Transport Safety and TSV), or notified to IBAC by such an entity, because such disclosures or notifications do not meet all of the requirements under Part 2 of the Act
  • The disclosure was made about the Public Interest Monitor, the Special Investigations Monitor (or his or her office), the Victorian Inspectorate and its officers, or a court
  • The discloser expressly states in writing that the disclosure is not a disclosure under the Act
  • It is made by an officer or employee of an investigating entity in the course of his/her duties or functions under the Act, unless this person expressly states in writing that it is a disclosure and the disclosure is otherwise made in accordance with the Act's requirements
  • The disclosure does not meet all of the requirements under Part 2 of the Act and the prescribed procedures in the Protected Disclosure Regulations 2013 (Vic).

Who can make a disclosure?

Any natural person can make a protected disclosure about improper conduct by public bodies and public officers or detrimental action taken in reprisal for making a protected disclosure. This includes a person who is a member, officer or employee of a public body or public officer.

A disclosure can be made anonymously. However, this creates potential difficulties in being able to assess whether a complaint is a protected disclosure.

How to make a protected disclosure

The Director, Transport Safety and TSV are not entities that can either receive or notify protected disclosures. Therefore, disclosures of improper conduct or detrimental action by the Director, Transport Safety must be made directly to the IBAC, either:

  1. Orally, which must be made in private, either in person or by telephone or some form of electronic communication not involving writing, or
  2. In writing, by either:
    • delivering personally to the office of IBAC
    • post to the office of IBAC
    • via email to IBAC
    • via the IBAC online reporting system.  

Disclosures in relation to our staff can either be made to IBAC directly, or alternatively to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR).
 
Complaints can be made anonymously. However, this may affect the outcome of the matter and you will not be notified of the outcome. To progress the investigation, details may be required from you or need to be verified.
 
Please refer to the Protected Disclosure Act page of the DEDJTR website for guidance on making a protected disclosure to the department. 
 
We will take all reasonable steps to protect people who make protected disclosures without the fear of reprisal. We will also afford natural justice to the person who is the subject of the disclosure.

IBAC contact details

Level 1, North Tower
459 Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
GPO Box 24234, Melbourne, VIC 3001
Telephone:  1300 735 135
Website: www.ibac.vic.gov.au

Alternatives to making a protected disclosure

Members of the public are encouraged to contact us with any complaints or concerns about TSV and its employees. In addition, we encourage employees to raise matters at any time with their managers.

The information provided here is intended as a guide and is not a substitute for the relevant legislation, legal or professional advice.