Whistleblowers play an important role in identifying and calling out misconduct and harm to consumers and the community. To encourage whistleblowers to come forward with their concerns and protect them when they do, the Corporations Act 2001 gives certain people legal rights and protections as whistleblowers.
From 1 July 2019, the whistleblower protections in the Corporations Act have been expanded to provide greater protections for whistleblowers. This will include requiring public companies, large proprietary companies, and corporate trustees of APRA-regulated superannuation entities to have a whistleblower policy from 1 January 2020.
This means that by 1 January 2020, large charities that are companies limited by guarantee will need to have a Whistleblower Protection Policy which meets the requirements set out in the Corporations Act.
Small and medium charities that are companies limited by guarantee are exempt from meeting the requirement to have a whistleblower policy but are required to manage whistleblowing in accordance with the Corporations Act.
ASIC has released Regulatory Guide 270 Whistleblower policies (RG 270) to help companies and other entities establish a whistleblower policy that complies with the legal obligations. It also contains good practice guidance on implementing and maintaining a whistleblower policy.
ASIC has also released two information sheets that describe who is eligible to access the whistleblower rights and protections under the Corporations Act and how they will respond to reports of misconduct from whistleblowers: