The purpose of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2003 (the Act) is to provide legal protection from civil, criminal or disciplinary action to those people who expose improper or corrupt behaviour in the course of their duties. For protection to be granted under the Act, the "whistleblower" must believe on reasonable grounds that the information provided was true or might be true. It is also important to note the Act is retrospective, i.e. there is no time limit to the Act and disclosures may relate to matters which occurred prior to 1 July 2003.
Further details about the Act can be obtained from the Public Sector Commission (PSC).
The Act places stringent requirements on the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) to investigate complaints, take remedial action where necessary and keep whistleblowers informed of the action taken, or to be taken, and ensure that whistleblowers are free from victimisation.
The Act does not confer additional powers upon DFES to investigate or take action in relation to public interest disclosures. Instead, it provides protection to persons who make disclosures that may result in DFES exercising its existing powers to investigate and take action in relation to such a disclosure.
Responsibility for the administration of the Act and policy resides with the Office of the Commissioner.
The DFES Public Interest Disclosure Officers are:
How do I make a public interest disclosure?
Anyone wishing to make a public interest disclosure is encouraged to complete a Public Interest Lodgement Disclosure form (see below) and forward it in a sealed envelope, to the Director, Professional Standards, DFES Emergency Services Complex Level 2, 20 Stockton Bend Cockburn Central WA 6154, PO Box P1174 Perth WA 6844. Once received, the disclosure will be investigated in accordance with the prescribed procedures and guidelines. It is important that you read and fully understand your rights and obligations of the Act before you make such a disclosure. Advice on this can be obtained by contacting the Director, Professional Standards, on (08) 9395 9309.
The following forms are available to download from the PSC website under Public Interest Disclosure Resources - Forms and Templates, if you wish to lodge a public interest disclosure:
The following documents are provided for your information: