On 12 March 2019, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Bill 2019 (Cth) received Royal Assent and marked the start of a new whistleblower regime for Australia. This new regime commences 1 July this year.
Who is impacted?
The new legislation applies to all companies (and now captures the corporate, financial and credit sectors) who fit the following profile:
- Public companies (including companies limited by guarantee)
- Proprietary companies that are the trustee of a registerable superannuation entities
- Large proprietary companies
Note: Failure to put in place a whistleblower policy is a strict liability offence
Expanded whistleblower protections
The Whistleblower Act expands the existing whistleblower framework by:
- extending the group of people who can make disclosures and be eligible for protection
- broadening the types of wrongdoing that can be the subject of a disclosure
- expanding who can receive a whistleblower’s disclosure
- allowing anonymous disclosures
- strengthening immunities for whistleblowers
- extending non-compliance or misconduct to include both corporate and taxation laws
What you need to do
New or existing organisations, previously impacted by the regime, will need to have a compliant whistleblower policy and framework in place as soon as possible, but no later than 1 January 2020 to avoid penalties.
- If your organisation currently has a whistleblower policy and framework in place, it will need to be reviewed and may need to be amended to conform with the new regime.
- If your organisation is subject to the legislation for the first time, you will need to develop and adopt a compliant whistleblower policy and framework.
Important to note: Other provisions relating to protection of whistleblowers commence immediately and there is a risk of exposure until such time revised or new whistleblower policies are in place. Organisations should therefore commence development or review of their policy and supporting processes as soon as possible.
We can help
The combined regulatory, legal and compliance expertise of our Governance, Compliance and Regulation practice enables our team to develop comprehensive but practical tools to assist you in implementing a new whistleblower framework or enhancing existing frameworks.
We will be releasing three whistleblower essentials packages on Wednesday, 29 May.
Reach out to Catherine Tomic on +61 2 8651 8700 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.