27 September 2023

New whistleblower rules tuned in

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The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) has declared it is now easier and safer for whistleblowers to disclose wrongdoing and misconduct in the public sector with improved protections in place for those who do.

According to IBAC, Victoria’s integrity system received a major boost forward following reforms to the State’s public interest disclosure legislation which came into effect in January.

“People who make genuine public interest disclosures will receive improved protections, in addition to the existing protections,” the Commission said.

“[The protections will] keep their identity confidential and safeguard them against bullying, harassment or legal action,” it said.

IBAC said there was now a broader definition of improper conduct, including serious professional misconduct, meaning that a wider range of conduct could now be reported as a public interest disclosure.

It said a new feature of the scheme was a ‘no wrong door’ approach.

“This means that if a complaint is made to an Agency that is not responsible for handling that particular public interest disclosure, the complaint will be referred to the appropriate Agency without the process having to start again,” it said.

“Most Government Agencies have an appointed representative, known as a public interest disclosure coordinator, trained to provide information and support for persons making a public interest disclosure.”

It said it provided information seminars to help public sector agencies understand the changes and put in place appropriate public interest disclosure policies.

More information, including fact sheets on disclosures and how to report them can be accessed on the IBAC website at this PS News link.

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