The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019 (Cth) has been passed which has significant implications for companies in Australia from 1 July 2019.
What are the changes?
Public and large propriety companies must ensure they have a compliant Whistleblower Policy in place as soon as possible (no later than 1 January 2020) to avoid penalties. They are also required to provide training to employees to ensure that eligible recipients of disclosures from whistleblowers know how to identify such a report and, what to do if or when they receive one.
Is my business required to have to have a Whistleblower Policy?
The Act provides that it will be mandatory for all public companies, large (defined below) proprietary companies or corporate trustees of registrable superannuation entities to have a Whistleblower Policy, and to make that policy available to officers and employees of the company.
In accordance with section 45A(3) of the Corporations Act, a business will be a ‘large proprietary company’ if it satisfies at least two of the following criteria:
- the annual consolidated revenue of the company and its related entities exceeds $25 million
- the value of consolidated gross assets that the company and its related entities control exceeds $12.5 million
- the company and its related entities have 50 or more employees.
When does the Policy have to be implemented by?
The amendments will come into effect from 1 July 2019 and will apply to disclosures made on, or after commencement, but may relate to conduct which occurs or “occurred before, at or after commencement”. Public companies and proprietary companies that are trustees of a superannuation entity must have a compliant Whistleblower Policy in place by 1 January 2020. Large proprietary companies have a deadline that is dependent on their financial year.
There are significant penalties for mandatory companies that do not comply.
Do you have any questions or require any assistance?
If your company satisfies at least 2 of the above criteria, and you don’t currently have a Whistleblower Policy in place or you would like us to review your existing policy to ensure compliance, please contact me for assistance.