The provides a legal framework for making a public interest disclosure. It encourages the reporting of corruption or other misconduct by providing a number of legal protections against reprisals for making a public interest disclosure (PID), like bullying, harassment or legal action.
The PID Act also provides a framework for protecting the confidentiality of your disclosure and your identity, to further protect you from potential reprisals for making a PID.
You can also submit your complaint online by clicking the button below.
Any person or group of people can make a PID. They can be an employee of a public body, a contractor or tenderer, a client or a member of the public.
A company or business cannot make a PID, but its officers or employees can.
You may make a PID about:
- improper conduct by a public body, public officer or person
- detrimental action taken by a public body or public officer against a person in reprisal for the making of a PID
Improper conduct includes:
- corrupt conduct
- conduct that would be a criminal offence
- serious professional misconduct
- dishonest performance of public functions
- intentional or reckless breach of public trust
- intentional or reckless misuse of information or material acquired in the course of the performance of the functions of the public officer or public body
- a substantial mismanagement of public resources
- a substantial risk to the health or safety of one or more persons
- a substantial risk to the environment
- conduct of any person that adversely affects the honest performance of a public body or public officer or that is intended to adversely affect the effective performance of a public body or public officer for a specified benefit, or conduct that constitutes a conspiracy or attempt to engage in improper conduct
Improper conduct does not include conduct which is trivial.
Detrimental action includes:
- action causing injury, loss or damage
- intimidation or harassment
- discrimination, disadvantage or adverse treatment in relation to a person’s employment, career, profession, trade or business, including the taking of disciplinary action
- inciting or permitting someone else to take the above action
A public interest disclosure may be made about:
Public bodies, including:
- public sector bodies (including public service bodies, public entities and special bodies)
- incorporated or unincorporated bodies established under an Act for a public purpose, including universities
- the Electoral Boundaries Commission
- a council (established under the )
- a body performing a public function on behalf of the State or a public body or public officer (for example, a regulatory function or a publicly funded function)
Public officers, including:
- public servants, including VI and IBAC officers
- local government councillors and council employees
- university employees and teachers
- Victoria Police personnel
- Members of Parliament, including Ministers
- ministerial officers, parliamentary advisers and officers, electorate officers
- judicial officers, including coroners, members of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), associate judges, judicial registrars
- statutory office holders, including the Auditor-General and the Victorian Ombudsman, and the Director of Public Prosecutions
- the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor or Administrator of the State
The conduct of any person:
- that adversely affects the honest performance of a public body or public officer
- that is intended to adversely affect the effective performance of a public body or public officer and results in that person or an associate of the person getting a specified benefit, or
- that could be a conspiracy or attempt to engage in improper conduct
A public interest disclosure cannot be made about:
- the former Office of the Special Investigations Monitor
- the former Special Investigations Monitor
- a court
- an investigating panel
- a member of an investigating panel
The table below provides details of who you may make your disclosure to.
The PID Act prescribes the bodies that you are able to make your PID to.
IBAC is able to receive all PIDs except for disclosures about:
- IBAC or IBAC officers
- Victoria’s Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) or OSI officers
- members of Parliament
- the VI or VI officers
- a Public Interest Monitor
A public service body is able to receive all PIDs made to it by its members, officers or employees, except for disclosures about members of Parliament.
If your disclosure is about IBAC, or IBAC officers, a Public Interest Monitor, or the OSI or OSI officers, you must make your disclosure to us (the VI).
If your disclosure is about the VI or VI officers, you must make your disclosure to the Victorian Parliament's Integrity and Oversight Committee, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, or the President of the Legislative Council.
If your disclosure is about a member of Parliament, you must make your disclosure to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly or the President of the Legislative Council.
The table below provides more information about who you can make a PID to.
If the subject of your PID is not listed above you may make your PID to:
- the Victorian Ombudsman
- a public service body (if you are a member, officer or employee of that public service body)
- a Council (if you are a member, officer or employee of that Council)
It is important to make your PID to the correct body in order to receive the protections that are provided under the PID Act.
If your PID is made to a person or entity that can't receive your PID, in most cases it will not qualify to receive the protections under the PID Act.
We can receive a PID about the following entities:
- IBAC or an IBAC officer
- the OSI or an OSI officer
- a Public Interest Monitor
- a Victorian Ombudsman (VO) officer
- a Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) officer
- the Chief Examiner or an Examiner appointed under section 21 of the Major Crime (Investigative Powers) Act 2004
- a Judicial Commission of Victoria officer, other than a judicial member of the Board of the Judicial Commission of Victoria
- a Council or a member of Council staff
- any other Victorian public officer or Victorian public body, unless required to be made to another entity under section 14 or 17 of the PID Act
We cannot receive PIDs about:
- the VI or a VI officer
- members of Parliament
- the (former) Office of the Special Investigations Monitor or the former Special Investigations Monitor
- a court
- an investigating panel or a member of an investigating panel
You will receive the following legal protections for making a disclosure that is a PID:
- protection from detrimental action taken or proposed to be taken against you or another person in reprisal for making a PID, including (where possible) the opportunity to request a transfer of employment
- protection from committing an offence or for breaching any confidentiality obligations you might have with respect to the information you have provided within your PID
- protection from civil or criminal liability or an action of defamation for making a PID
Limits on legal protections
You are still liable for any of your own conduct that you have disclosed.
Additionally, a number of the protections in the PID Act do not apply if you knowingly provide false or misleading information within your PID.
Also, a person who makes a disclosure is not protected against legitimate management action being taken in relation to them. Management action will not be legitimate if it is taken or proposed to be taken in revenge for the making of a public interest disclosure.
The PID Act imposes a number of confidentiality requirements in relation to the receipt and handling of assessable disclosures in an attempt to minimise the risks of revenge for making a PID.
Breaching these confidentiality restrictions, without lawful excuse, is an offence.
The confidentiality restrictions and their exceptions are set out in section 52, 53 and 54 of the PID Act.
The 2 main confidentiality restrictions are:
1. The content of a PID must be kept confidential
The PID Act prohibits the disclosure of the content, or information about the content, of any disclosure that has been assessed as a PID.
This confidentiality restriction applies to a person or body that receives a PID, or that is provided with information about a PID by an investigating body who is assessing or investigating the disclosure.
This restriction does not apply to the discloser.
2. The identity of a person making a PID must be kept confidential
The PID Act prohibits the disclosure of information that would be likely to lead to the identification of a person who has made a PID.
This restriction applies to any person or body, other than the discloser.
Exceptions to confidentiality requirements
The above confidentiality restrictions/requirements do not apply where:
- a person or body discloses the confidential information for the purposes of exercising their functions under the PID Act
- the confidential information is disclosed by an investigating entity for the purpose of the exercise of functions under the Act that authorises that investigating entity to investigate the PID
- IBAC, the Victorian Inspectorate or the Integrity and Oversight Committee determines that the disclosure is not a PIC
- the disclosure of confidential information is made by an investigating entity to Victoria Police where relevant to a Victoria Police investigation of criminal conduct
- the disclosure of confidential information is for the purpose of a proceeding for an offence or a disciplinary process under a relevant Act
- the disclosure of confidential information is necessary for the discloser to obtain legal advice or representation, interpretive services, the advice of a parent or guardian (for disclosers under 18 years), the advice of an independent person (for disclosers who are illiterate or have mental or physical impairments)
- the disclosure of confidential information is for the purpose of assisting the discloser to seek advice or support from a registered health practitioner or trade union or employee assistance program
- the disclosure of the confidential information is to WorkCover for a workers compensation claim or for an application to the Fair Work Commission
- the content, or information about the content of a PID is disclosed in accordance with a direction or authorisation from the investigating entity that is investigating the PID after it has been determined to be a PIC
- the content, or information about the content of a PID is disclosed for the purpose of taking lawful action (including a disciplinary process) in relation to the conduct that is subject of the disclosure
- the discloser gives prior written consent to disclose information that would be likely to lead to their identification as the person who made the PID
There are a number of offences (including criminal offences) for breaching obligations under the PID Act. In order to ensure that you comply with the PID Act and other laws, it is important that you are aware of your legal obligations under the PID Act.
Making a false disclosure
It is a criminal offence under section 72 of the PID Act to provide information that you know is false or misleading with the intention that the information be acted on as a PID.
Making false claims
It is an offence under section 73 of the PID Act to claim that a matter is the subject of a PID or has been determined by IBAC, the VI or the Integrity and Oversight Committee to be a PIC, when you know that claim is false.
These offences carry a fine of up to 120 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment, or both.
Under section 19 of the PID Act you can choose to stop your PID from being treated or considered as a PID by writing to the entity that you made your PID to and formally stating that your disclosure is not a PID.
Formal notification must be made within 28 days of making your PID.
Part of these reforms included the PD Act being renamed the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (PID Act).
Other key reforms included:
- Adopting the terms public interest disclosure (PID) and public interest complaint (PIC) in place of protected disclosure and protected disclosure complaint.
- Clarifying, simplifying and increasing the pathways for making a PID.
- Expanding and clarifying the types of public sector improper conduct that a person can disclose in a PID.
- Making it easier to make a public interest disclosure about detrimental action in reprisal for a PID.
- Protecting PIDs made to people and bodies outside of the integrity system (i.e. external disclosures) in limited circumstances.
- Simplifying confidentiality obligations that apply to people who make and handle PIDs, including access to support services.
Reviewed 26 July 2023