In brief - Whistleblower policies prepared prior to the release of ASIC's Regulatory Guide will need to be reconciled and updated against the Guide's detailed requirements

All public companies (including charities and NFPs) with a gross consolidated revenue in excess of A$1M, "large" proprietary companies* and trustees of "registrable superannuation entities" (not trustees of SMSFs) must have a specific whistleblower policy in place by 1 January 2020.

In our recent article, Mandatory whistleblower policies must be in place by 1 January 2020, we outlined the areas a whistleblower policy should address which include:

  • the protections available to a whistleblower
  • how a whistleblower can make a disclosure
  • how the company will support and protect a whistleblower
  • how the company will investigate a disclosure, arrangements for fair treatment of employees mentioned in a disclosure
  • how the policy is to be published 

Since then, ASIC has released a Regulatory Guide which includes updated requirements and a number of "non-mandatory" good practice tips beyond what is required by the Corporations Act. 

Any whistleblower policies prepared in advance of the issue of the Regulatory Guide will have to be reconciled and updated against the Guide's detailed requirements.

Affected companies should be planning to complete or update, and adopt by Board resolution, an appropriate whistleblower policy by 1 January 2020.

*From financial years commencing on or after 1 July 2019, a proprietary company is defined as 'large' for a financial year if it satisfies at least two of the below criteria:

  • the consolidated revenue for the financial year of the company and any entities it controls is $50 million or more
  • the value of the consolidated gross assets at the end of the financial year of the company and any entities it controls is $25 million or more, and
  • the company and any entities it controls have 100 or more employees at the end of the financial year.

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2019.

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