Protected disclosure act 2012

The Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (‘Act’) provides for the disclosure of improper conduct by public officers and public bodies and protection for those who come forward with a disclosure. It replaces the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001.

The main objectives of the Act are to:

  • promote a culture in which individuals feel safe to make a disclosure
  • protect makers of protected disclosures from adverse consequences
  • provide a framework for investigating disclosed matters, and
  • ensure that investigated matters are dealt with properly.

Central Highlands Water is a public body subject to the Protected Disclosure Act 2012. Our organisation is committed to the aims and objectives of the Act. We recognise the value of transparency and accountability in our administrative and management practices, and support the making of disclosures that reveal improper conduct by our organisation, our staff, members and employees.



What can a disclosure be about?

Disclosures may be made about improper conduct by a public body or its staff, employees or members. Disclosures can also be made about ‘detrimental action’ taken (or suspected may be taken) in reprisal or in connection with a disclosure made about improper conduct.

The conduct or action being disclosed may have taken place, still be occurring, or is believed will occur or be engaged in.

The Act makes it clear that protected disclosures are about serious wrongdoing. 'Improper conduct' is defined as corrupt conduct, or specified conduct that is not corrupt conduct but that if proved, the conduct would constitute:

  • a criminal offence, or
  • reasonable grounds for dismissing dispensing with, or terminating the services of an officer who was, or is, engaged in that conduct.

Who can make a disclosure?

Anyone (eg. not organisation or company) can make a disclosure under the Act. They might be a person within our organisation, or a member of the public.

Disclosures may be made in a number of ways set out in the Act, including anonymously, in writing or orally. A discloser doesn’t need to identify the person or body about whom the disclosure is made.

How to make a disclosure

According to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), we are not permitted to receive disclosures made under the Act. Therefore, if someone wishes to make a disclosure about our organisation, our officers, members or employees, they’ll need to make that disclosure directly to the Commission using the following methods:

In person: Level 1, North Tower, 459 Collins St Melbourne VIC 3000
Mail: GPO Box 24234, Melbourne, VIC 3001
Phone: 1300 735 135
Fax: 03 8635 6444

If Central Highlands Water believes a disclosure may be a protected disclosure made in accordance with the Act, we will ask the person to make their disclosure to IBAC who will then deal with it.

What is IBAC?

The primary purpose of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is to:

  • provide for the identification, investigation and exposure of serious corrupt conduct, and police personnel misconduct
  • assist in the prevention of corrupt conduct, and police personnel misconduct
  • facilitate the education of the public sector and the community about the detrimental effects of corrupt conduct and police personnel misconduct on public administration and the community, and the ways in which corrupt conduct and police personnel misconduct can be prevented
  • assist in improving the capacity of the public sector to prevent corrupt conduct and police personnel misconduct.

IBAC's jurisdiction extends across the whole of the Victorian public sector, including members of Parliament, the judiciary, statutory authorities and state and local government.

It must:

  • investigate serious corrupt conduct, or
  • refer a complaint or notification to another appropriate body for action, or
  • dismiss a complaint or notification (with reason).

IBAC is independent of the government of the day and is accountable to the people of Victoria through the Victorian Parliament.