The Treasury Law Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Bill 2017(Cth) (Whistleblower Law) has been passed and will be effective from 1 July 2019.

The Whistleblower Law establishes a framework for the protection of whistleblowers within companies.

Who does it apply to?

The Whistleblower Law applies to all public and large proprietary companies.

A large proprietary company is, in general terms, a company that alone or as part of a corporate group, meets any two of the following three criteria: revenues over $25 million; assets over $12.5 million; or more than 50 employees.

Complying with the Whistleblower Law

To comply with the Whistleblower Law, companies must have compliant whistleblower policies and procedures in place by 1 January 2020.

Whistleblower policies and procedures must address, amongst other things: (i) how the confidentiality of whistleblowing claims will be protected; (ii) how the company will investigate claims; and (iii) how the company will support whistleblowers following the making of a claim.

Consequences of failing to comply

The Whistleblower Law includes significant civil and criminal penalties for breaches. For example, individuals can be fined up to $1 million and companies can be fined up to $210 million.

GRT Lawyers is assisting clients with Whistleblower Law compliance. Please contact us on (07) 3309 7000 to discuss.