The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblowing Protections) Act 2019 received Royal Assent in early March 2019 and will be taking effect, to strengthen the whistle-blower protection regime covering corporate Australia. Once it becomes law as of 1st July 2019 it will bring many significant changes.
McGrathNicol Law says, “It will:
- require all public companies and large proprietary companies to have a whistleblower policy in place by 1 January 2020;
- broaden the definition of ‘disclosable matters’ which will in turn expand the types of reports where whistleblower protection provisions will apply;
- broaden the classes of people a corporation must protect (to include family members of eligible whistleblowers and suppliers);
- provide for protection of a whistleblower even if the whistleblower seeks to remain anonymous;
- make corporations liable to pay compensation in defined circumstances if there is detrimental conduct against a whistleblower by an employee of the corporation; and
- provide a defense for corporations who are sued by a victimised whistleblower if the corporation ‘took reasonable precautions, and exercised due diligence, to avoid the detrimental conduct’.”
It is very crucial companies are thinking now about what they need to do to ensure they are compliant by 1 July 2019.
McGrathNicol Law says, changes for whistleblowers will:
- encourage more people to come forward with reports of corporate wrongdoing;
- encourage people who would have come forward in due course to come forward earlier;
- more effectively protect people who come forward as part of the company’s Human Resources and Occupational Health and Safety obligations.
Does your business have the correct whistleblower policy in place? All public companies and large proprietary companies must have one in place by 1 January 2020.
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