A new era for whistleblowers in Australia

  • New whistleblowing laws will commence on 1 July 2019.
  • Under the changes to the Corporations Act there will be a broader range of whistleblower conduct which can be reported and receive protection.
  • Businesses will need to start developing a policy or update existing policies and officers and employees are familiar with the policy.

Dangling whistle

Changes to Australia’s whistleblowing laws are now one step closer to implementation. Amendments to the Corporations Act 2001 and Taxation Administration Act 1953 to provide for an expanded corporate whistleblowing scheme and a new tax affairs whistleblowing scheme have now passed both Houses of Parliament and will commence on 1 July 2019.

Public companies and large proprietary companies will then have until 1 January 2020 to implement a compliant whistleblowing policy. It is unlikely that existing whistleblowing policies will comply with the proposed legislative requirements.

The amended laws will apply to disclosures even if the disclosed conduct occurred before the commencement date. The amended victimisation and compensation provisions apply to protected disclosures made at any time, if the victimisation in respect of the disclosure occurs after the commencement date. (This earlier commencement of the victimisation provisions means that entities ought to update their whistleblower policies and processes now to ensure they comply with the new laws).

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