Some charities will be affected by upcoming reforms to whistleblower protection laws in Australia. Will you be impacted by the upcoming changes?

From 1 July 2019, the whistleblower protections in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) will be expanded. It will provide greater protections for whistleblowers who report misconduct about companies and company officers.

The reforms, which will be enforced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), are designed to broaden the definition of whistleblower, extend whistleblower protections and create provisions for civil penalties. For more information, visit the ASIC website at asic.gov.au.

The reforms to the whistleblower protection regime in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) will apply to companies registered with ASIC (public companies, including companies limited by guarantee). It will also apply to incorporated associations that are significantly or principally engaged in trading or financial activities. Charities that are incorporated associations will need to decide if this applies to them.

Also from 1 July 2019, whistleblower protections will be available for individuals who make eligible disclosures in relation to the tax affairs, including tax avoidance arrangements, of another entity. These protections are separately administered by the ATO. To find out more about the ATO whistleblower protection regime, visit the ATO website at ato.gov.au.

All charities should consider whether whether they have an appropriate plan for managing any whistleblower disclosure. Charities should also familiarise themselves with their requirements and obligations under the new whistleblower rules.