Public Accounts and Estimates Committee

The Victorian Parliament is responsible for scrutinising the actions of the government.

One way it does this is through a joint investigatory committee called the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC). Its members represent the main political parties from both houses of parliament. They’re responsible for scrutinising public accounts and budget estimates.

More information can be found in the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003 or at

Victorian Auditor-General’s Office

The Auditor-General is an independent officer of the Victorian Parliament and monitors how effectively Victorian public sector agencies manage resources and provide services.

The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) recommends the appointment of the Auditor-General. It also reports to Parliament on the budget estimates and annual plan of the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office.

Read more at and

Victorian Ombudsman

The Ombudsman is an independent officer of the Victorian Parliament and is responsible for investigating complaints about administrative actions and decisions taken by government authorities.

The Ombudsman’s powers to conduct investigations are deliberately broad. Unlike specialist review tribunals or commissions, the Ombudsman reviews organisations’ actions and decisions for:

  • lawfulness
  • reasonableness
  • fairness.


IBAC Commissioner

The IBAC Commissioner is an independent officer of the Victorian Parliament.

IBAC investigates and exposes corruption and police misconduct and has jurisdiction over:

  • Members of Parliament
  • state and local government
  • the judiciary.


Other specialised commissioners

Victoria has a number of public commissioners whose role is to:

  • receive complaints
  • improve services
  • strengthen protections for the Victorian community.

Examples include:

Protecting human rights

The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (the Charter) protects the human rights of everyone in Victoria.

The Charter requires all public authorities and their employees to:

  • act compatibly with human rights
  • consider human rights when making decisions.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission plays a role in supporting human rights by:

  • providing information and education
  • conducting reviews
  • reporting annually on the Charter’s operation.

The Ombudsman also considers whether administrative actions are consistent with the Charter. This includes:

  • providing an independent assessment of how well state and local government comply with the Charter
  • investigating particular human rights issues and concerns.

Read more at and

Protecting privacy and data

The secure management of information is critical to government service delivery, public trust and confidence.

The Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 provides for the responsible collection and handling of personal information in the Victorian public sector.

It does this by setting standards for the way Victorian government organisations, statutory bodies and local councils collect and handle personal information.

The Information Commissioner and the Privacy and Data Protection Deputy Commissioner are responsible for:

  • promoting an understanding of information privacy principles and data security standards
  • monitoring compliance with information privacy principles and data security standards
  • receiving complaints about alleged breaches of privacy by public sector organisations.


Freedom of information (FOI)

Victoria’s Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) promotes public accountability. It does this by giving people the right to access documents held by government agencies.

Under the FOI Act, documents can be obtained from:

  • ministers
  • departments
  • local councils
  • most semi-government agencies and statutory authorities
  • public hospitals and community health centres
  • universities, TAFE institutes and schools.

Requests are made directly to the public body holding the documents. Some documents may be exempt from the Act, such as Cabinet documents.

Agencies have 30 days to respond to requests under the Act. In some cases, this period may be extended.

The Information Commissioner and the Public Access Deputy Commissioner are responsible for:

  • promoting an understanding of the objects of the FOI Act
  • reviewing organisations’ FOI decisions
  • receiving and handling complaints
  • monitoring compliance with professional standards
  • providing guidance to organisations and the public on Victoria’s FOI regime.


Public interest disclosures

The Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 encourages the disclosure of corruption and improper conduct in the Victorian public sector.

It helps protect people who disclose such information from reprisals, including bullying, harassment or legal action.

A public interest disclosure can be made to:

  • departments
  • administrative bodies
  • local councils
  • the Victorian Public Sector Commission.

Disclosures can also be made directly to IBAC and other integrity bodies.

In most cases, IBAC will be notified about a public interest disclosure. IBAC will assess whether the matter is a public interest disclosure.

If it is, IBAC may:

  • investigate the complaint
  • refer the complaint to another agency, such as the Victorian Ombudsman
  • dismiss the complaint.


Maintaining public records

The Public Record Office Victoria supports best practice records management across the public service through training and advice on records management. It was established under the Public Records Act 1973.

It aims to improve standards for the efficient management, security and preservation of public records.

Public records include any records made or received by a person employed in a public office in the course of their duties. It can take many forms, including:

  • a document
  • email
  • file
  • picture
  • register
  • plan
  • book
  • film
  • recording
  • website.

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office has released a Records Management Checklist to improve the management of government records.

Read more and

Public sector governance and administration

The Public Administration Act 2004 provides a framework for good governance in the Victorian public sector and for public administration generally.

The Act:

  • establishes the Victorian Public Sector Commission
  • provides a framework for good governance in the Victorian public sector
  • defines values to promote the highest standards of integrity and conduct
  • outlines principles to underpin public sector employment
  • provides for the employment of ministerial officers, parliamentary advisers and judicial employees.

Read more about the Public Administration Act 2004.

Annual reporting

Victorian public sector organisations are required by the Financial Management Act 1994 (or other Acts) to prepare an annual report at the end of each financial year.

The report is tabled in Parliament by the relevant minister. Each annual report completed under the Financial Management Act includes a report of operations and an audited financial statement by the Auditor-General.

The Department of Treasury and Finance provides clear guidelines about what needs to be included.