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Whistleblower Policy

Version 1.1 Updated 3 Jun 2022
Policy Manage

Who can use this policy?

This policy is intended to be used by employers who are covered by the whistleblowing laws under Part 9.4AAA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). 
 
Employers that are companies or constitutional corporations (foreign corporations, or trading or financial corporations formed within Australia) will be covered by the whistleblowing laws under Part 9.4AAA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).  Therefore, this policy will be suitable for use by most businesses.
 
Please note that there is a separate industry-specific whistleblowing scheme for NDIS providers under the NDIS Act. Those businesses should consider that scheme and will likely need to bolster this policy to meet their needs.  

Commentary

For the purposes of this policy, a ‘whistleblower’ is used to describe a person who is eligible to make a disclosure that is protected by Whistleblower Laws. 
 
Protected disclosures include complaints about misconduct, or an improper state of affairs or circumstances, in relation to the Company or its related bodies corporate.  This includes illegal conduct, theft, fraud, money laundering or misappropriation of funds, corruption and/or breach of legal or regulatory requirements.
 
The term ‘whistleblower’ does not refer to anyone who makes a complaint or raises an issue of wrongdoing.  Workplace grievances generally do not meet the threshold of a ‘protected disclosure’.  Employers should have a separate workplace grievance policy or procedure to deal with those complaints.

Having a whistleblower policy is not a mandatory requirement except in certain circumstances in particular industries and for businesses of a particular size. For example, businesses covered by relevant provisions in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the relevant fraud, anti-competition and accounting whistleblower scheme overseen by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
 
Public and large proprietary companies are required to have a whistleblower policy.
 
A large proprietary company is one that has at least two of the following criteria: consolidated revenue of at least $50 million, consolidated gross assets of at least $25 million or at least 100 employees within the company and the entities it controls. You should seek legal advice if you are unsure whether you are covered by a mandatory whistleblower scheme.

Employers should endeavour to promote a supportive work environment in which employees and other workplace participants feel able to raise issues of legitimate concern without fear of victimisation, detriment or other retribution in connection with making a complaint. Employers should also provide suitable avenues for reporting of matters that may cause loss to or damage to an employer’s reputation.

This policy includes provisions dealing with how to report any wrongdoing, confidentiality of a whistleblower’s identity and reports, protection of whistleblowers as well as outlining the investigation stage.

The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), through the general protections provisions, provide protections for whistleblowers. If a whistleblower situation arises in the workplace, employers should obtain specific advice about their obligations under the relevant legislation.

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