Review of whistleblower protections launched

Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer has today launched a consultation on reforms of whistleblower protections in the corporate and taxation areas.

“Whistleblowing plays a critical role in uncovering corporate and tax misconduct,” the Minister says. “Active protection of whistleblowers to encourage them to make disclosures is essential and the government is determined to ensure it has the right legislative settings in place to achieve this, while at the same time ensuring disclosures can be fully investigated and that procedural fairness is provided to those who may be the subject of a disclosure.”

The consultation paper, Review of tax and corporate whistleblower protections in Australia, seeks comment on whether corporate sector protections and similar provisions under financial system laws should be harmonised with whistleblower protections in the public sector.

The paper canvasses a range of options for reform and identifies a variety of approaches that the government might take.

Minister O’Dwyer says whistleblowing is a key means of combating poor compliance cultures, by ensuring that companies, officers and staff know that misconduct will be reported.

It complements a Parliamentary Inquiry into whistleblower protections in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors that was recently established.

Results from this consultation process will be made available to the inquiry which is due to report by 30 June 2017.

The consultation period for this set of reform proposals close on 10 February 2017.