Protected disclosures

What is a protected disclosure?

Protected disclosures used to be known as whistleblowing.

A protected disclosure is a disclosure made in line with the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (this act replaced the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001).

Purpose of the Protected Disclosure Act

The purpose of the Protected Disclosure Act is to:

  • Encourage and facilitate disclosures of improper conduct and detrimental action made in reprisal by public officers and public bodies
  • Provide protection for people who make disclosures or who may suffer detrimental action in reprisal for those disclosures
  • Provide confidentiality of the content of disclosures and the identity of people who make them.

What kind of protections do protected disclosers have?

Once an allegation has been formally assessed as a protected disclosure, the discloser receives:

  • Immunity from civil and criminal liability and disciplinary action for making the disclosure
  • Immunity from liability for breaching confidentiality provisions
  • Protection from actions in defamation for making the disclosure
  • The right to sue for damages or to seek an injunction to stop actions in reprisal
  • Protection of your identity and any information that would lead to your identification.

Who can make a disclosure?

Any individual or group of individuals may make a disclosure.

What can I make a disclosure about?

You may make a disclosure about the improper conduct and/or detrimental action taken by public bodies or public officers performing public functions. This includes the department, its offices and agencies as well as statutory authorities in the portfolio of the department.

Improper conduct is defined as:

  • Corrupt conduct or
  • Specified conduct that is not corrupt conduct but that, if proved, would constitute:
    • a criminal offence
    • reasonable grounds for dismissing or dispensing with, or otherwise terminating, the services of the officer engaged in the conduct.

How do I make a disclosure?

Protected Disclosures (formerly Whistleblowers)


  • Your manager, team leader, Director or Deputy Secretary
  • Any manager, Director or Deputy Secretary
  • The Secretary

Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC)

If your disclosure is about a ministerial officer or a statutory entity or office within the department's portfolio, you should contact IBAC.

More information

You can contact the department’s Protected Disclosure Coordinator by email or by calling 1300 131 431.

Visit the IBAC website for more information on protected disclosures.

Request more information about this topic.

For more information:

Contact us.