As part of the whistleblower protections introduced into the Corporations Act from 1 July 2019, public companies, large proprietary companies, and corporate trustees of APRA-regulated superannuation entities must have a compliant whistleblower policy from 1 January 2020. Among other things, the whistleblower policy must include information about the legal protections available to whistleblowers, and how a company will investigate whistleblower disclosures and protect whistleblowers from detriment.
These very recent changes to Part 9.4AAA of the Corporations Act coupled with the ASIC Regulatory Guide 270, make it unlikely that existing whistleblowing policies will comply. It is important to ensure that if your organisation is subject to these new whistleblower laws that your corporate policies are up to date.
The ASIC Regulatory Guide 270, mentioned above, not only gives guidance to subject organisations on how to comply with their legal obligations, but it also assists entities that are not required to have a whistleblower policy but are required to manage whistleblowing in accordance with the Corporations Act. Ensuring that companies, company officers and company auditors are aware of these changes and what they must do when they receive a report from a whistleblower will reduce the risk of breaches of their Corporation Act obligations.
More information and fact sheets can be found here on the ASIC website. https://asic.gov.au/about-asic/asic-investigations-and-enforcement/whistleblowing/
Feel free to get in touch with our office to arrange a review of your existing whistleblower policies.