The department’s whistleblower hotline (1800 319 595) is a free call service for people to confidentially report information on bad practices in livestock export and breaches or suspected breaches of export conditions.
Please note that this is not a complaints or information service. For complaints or information, please phone 1800 900 090.
Whistleblower online form
Information to Include
When making a disclosure you should consider providing as many details as possible, to assist us to determine the best course of action, such as:
- The nature of the wrongdoing
- The details of the person you think committed the wrongdoing (if the person is a service provider, the provider details and location)
- When and where the wrongdoing occurred
- Any relevant events surrounding the wrongdoing
- Anyone else aware of or involved in the wrongdoing
- Anyone else who may verify the claims
- If you did anything in response to the wrongdoing
- If you are concerned about a possible reprisal
- Any supporting information (e.g. documents, file notes)
- Your name and contact details (recommended, however anonymous disclosures can be made)
Your information should be clear and factual. Avoid speculation, personal attacks and emotive language.
When making a disclosure you can elect to either identify yourself or make an anonymous disclosure. By identifying yourself, investigators will have the opportunity to clarify information or gather new information you may have.
Information provided is covered by relevant legislation that protects confidential information such as the Privacy Act 1988 and the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
The department has the discretion not to investigate if there are insufficient grounds on which to base an investigation. Where contact details are not provided, additional information cannot be obtained should that be necessary. Anonymous disclosures do not receive updates regarding the outcomes of investigations.
How we deal with the information provided
We value and assess all reports and information that we receive, but not every matter brought to our attention requires us to take regulatory action such as court action. Any inquiries we make will initially focus on the breaches you have disclosed. What is important is that we get the information you believe relates to potential misconduct so we can assess it because it is likely to be valuable to us.
We will contact you by phone (if you have given us those details) and follow up with you to obtain the information you have. We will keep that information and your identity confidential. However, in very limited circumstances – for example, if a court subpoenas us to do so – we may be compelled to provide it. If this happens we will speak with you about that ahead of time and always seek to protect your identity and disclosure.
When we will act on your information
All information, complaints or reports of alleged misconduct and breaches of legislation (including those from whistleblowers) are given an initial assessment by department’s enforcement team.
In the process of our assessment, we will need to take an objective view of the information provided and consider if the core allegation is something we need to make further inquiries about or take action on.
Public Interest Disclosure Act
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) encourages and facilitates the making of public interest disclosures by public officials.
All Australian government agencies, Commonwealth companies and prescribed authorities have an obligation to investigate public interest disclosures.
Protections under the PID Act
The PID Act provides certain protections to public officials who make public interest disclosures under the PID Act including:
- Immunity from civil, criminal and administrative liability in relation to making a PID
- Protection from a reprisal against the public official because of a public interest disclosure
These protections and immunities continue to apply after a PID investigation is finalised. However, the PID Act will not protect a public official who knowingly makes a statement that is false or misleading.
Learn more about the Public Interest Disclosure (PID) scheme.