Protected disclosures

The Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria (Vetboard Victoria) encourages people to report improper conduct that involves the Board or its employees. The Protected Disclosure Act 2012 protects people from reprisal for reporting improper conduct or detrimental action in the Victorian public sector. The law aims to ensure openness and accountability by encouraging people to make disclosures and protecting them when they do.

Vetboard Victoria itself is not able to receive protected disclosures. Improper conduct or detrimental action should be reported directly to the Independent Broad-Based Anti‑Corruption Commission (IBAC).

On this page

What is a protected disclosure?

A protected disclosure is a report about the improper conduct of public bodies or public officers that a person can make to the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commision or other organisations listed in the Protected Disclosure Act 2012.

A protected disclosure can also be made about detrimental action that a public officer or public body takes against a person in reprisal for them (or another person) having made a protected disclosure or cooperated with the investigation of a protected disclosure.

The conduct that is disclosed must be performed as a person's function as a public officer or a body’s function as a public body. There must be a link between the alleged improper conduct and/or detrimental action and the person’s or body’s functions as a public officer or public body.

What is improper conduct?

Improper conduct is corrupt conduct as defined in the IBAC Act or specified conduct as defined in the Protected Disclosure Act 2012. It must be either criminal conduct or conduct serious enough to result in a person’s dismissal. More information on definition of improper conduct: Guidelines for making and handling protected disclosures [IBAC PDF]. 

Examples of improper conduct
  • A public officer takes a bribe or receives a payment other than his or her wages in exchange for the discharge of a public duty.
  • A public officer sells confidential information.
  • A public officer favours job applications from friends and relatives even though the applications have no merit.

What is detrimental action?

It is an offence under the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 for a public officer or body to take detrimental action against another person in reprisal for a protected disclosure. The detrimental action could have been taken against any person, not just a person who disclosed improper conduct. 
Detrimental action by a person is defined as:
  • 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).

The public officer or body need not have actually taken the detrimental action, but can just have threatened to take the action. They need not have taken or threatened to take the detrimental action against the person themselves, but can have incited or permitted someone else to take the action.

Examples of detrimental action:
  • A public body demotes, transfers, isolates or changes the duties of a person for making a disclosure.
  • A person threatens, abuses or carries out other forms of harassment directly or indirectly against the person who makes a disclosure and his or her family or friends.
  • A public body discriminates against the person who makes a disclosure or his or her family and associates in subsequent applications for jobs or tenders.

How do I report improper conduct or detrimental action?

You can make a protected disclosure about the Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria (Vetboard Victoria) or its Board members, officers or employees by contacting the Victorian Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC). Vetboard Victoria itself is not able to receive protected disclosures. All protected disclosures must be made to the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission. You can make a protected disclosure in person, by phone (including just by leaving a voicemail message), in writing by email, post or personal delivery, by any other form of electronic communication.

You can make a protected disclosure anonymously.

Contact the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission:
  • IBAC address: IBAC | Level 1, North Tower | 459 Collins Street | Melbourne VIC 3000
  • IBAC postal address: IBAC | GPO Box 24234 | Melbourne VIC 3001
  • IBAC telephone: 1300 735 135
  • IBAC website: www.ibac.vic.gov.au
  • IBAC email: go to www.ibac.vic.gov.au for a secure email disclosure process which also allows anonymous disclosure.

Protection of persons from detrimental action

Vetboard Victoria has an obligation to create a safe working environment. Vetboard Victoria recognises that it is essential for the effective implementation of the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 to protect the welfare of:
  • persons making protected disclosures, and
  • persons who have cooperated or intend to cooperate with an investigation of a protected disclosure.

Vetboard Victoria will take precautions to prevent Board members or employees from taking detrimental action in reprisal for a protected disclosure. Precautions include identifying, assessing, controlling and monitoring potential risks of reprisals faced by persons who make disclosures and witnesses.

Persons who experience an incident of harassment, discrimination or adverse treatment that may amount to detrimental action should report the incident directly to the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission. If a Vetboard Victoria Board member or employee receives a complaint about detrimental action, they must:
  1. record details of the incident
  2. advise the person to report it directly to IBAC
  3. notify the incident to IBAC themselves, and
  4. take steps to maintain the confidentiality of all parties.

A disclosure of detrimental action is itself a protected disclosure and will be assessed by IBAC in accordance with its procedures.

Alternatives to making a protected disclosure

The information on this page is a complement to other methods of submitting complaints to Vetboard Victoria:
  • Members of the public are encouraged to contact Vetboard Victoria about any complaints or concerns they have with the services provided by the Vetboard Victoria. More information: Vetboard Victoria's Service Charter.
  • Vetboard Victoria employees are encouraged to raise matters with their managers at any time.