What is Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is the act of disclosing information by an individual, typically an employee, about illegal or unethical activities within an organization, to the public or to those with the power to take corrective action. The goal of whistleblowing is to expose wrongdoing and hold organizations accountable for their actions. In many countries, laws protect whistleblowers from retaliation, although in practice, whistleblowers often face negative consequences for their actions.


For Employers

We can act as the link between your business and your employees for the reporting of fraud & unacceptable behaviour in the workplace. As an unbiased third party, we provide employers with a platform for employees to report any incidents of fraud or unacceptable behaviour securely and confidentially in the workplace.

Our Whistleblower hotline service provides a cost-effective solution that ensures your business:

  • follows good governance principles; and
  • is compliant with the Australian Whistleblower laws that came into effect on 1st July 2019.

Lodestar Legal can provide an independent and external whistleblowing hotline service that meets the functional & compliance needs of your organisation, which is easy for your employees to use.

Compliant and Secure Whistleblowing

The Hotline provides an alternative reporting mechanism for employees who have challenges with reporting directly to their employer or wish to remain anonymous when they report.  These are necessary components in an effective corporate governance program. This service provides a reliable and secure process for your employees to make anonymous reports, which will be managed according to best practice standards. 

Our Whistleblower hotline service provides a solution that ensures your business is compliant with the new Whistleblower law, which came into effect on 1st July 2019. With the introduction of this new law, it is important for businesses to ensure that they have a system in place to manage whistleblower reports.

Our cost-effective programs are suited to organisations of all sizes. We used trained personnel to ensure that vital information is obtained and that callers experience the sensitivity and professionalism they expect.

The Treasury Laws Amendment Act 2019

New Whistleblower laws came into effect on 1st July 2019 and require that all corporate, financial and credit sectors as well as ‘Regulated Entities’ comply with the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019.

Whistleblowers play an important role in uncovering and reporting wrongdoing within organizations. However, without proper protection, whistleblowers can be at risk of retaliation and loss of employment.  The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019, also known as the Enhancing Whistleblower Protections Act, was enacted to improve the protection of whistleblowers and to encourage more people to come forward and report misconduct. 

Balancing Whistleblower Protections and Company Defense

While the Protecting the Whistleblowers Act 2021 provides enhanced protections for whistleblowers, it is important to note that the law also includes provisions to protect companies from frivolous or vexatious disclosures. In this way, the act strikes a balance between protecting whistleblowers and protecting companies from malicious or false disclosures. The law recognizes the importance of encouraging people to come forward and report misconduct, while also ensuring that companies are not unfairly impacted by frivolous or malicious disclosures.

Who does the legislation apply to?

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019 applies to a wide range of regulated entities including banks, insurance companies, superannuation trustees, and other financial service providers. They are also: 

  • public companies; and
  • large private companies who have at least two of the following criteria –
    • Have more than 50 employees within the company and the entities it controls
    • Consolidated revenue of at least $25 million
    • Consolidated gross assets of at least $12.5 million.

Are the Whistleblower requirements only relevant to Regulated Entities?

No. While not covered by the legislation, it is good corporate governance for all companies (large and small) to have a Whistleblower Policy, and a process for handing whistleblowing. It is particularly important for companies that tender for and do government work.

Are your procedures in place?

Establishing a whistleblower policy is one of the most important responsibilities for any business owner or employer as it is mandated by this act. To ensure compliance with Whistleblower Policy under the Treasury Laws Amendment Act 2019, you must: 

  1. Appoint a Whistleblower Officer- Appoint an official who will be responsible for receiving and investigating whistleblower complaints.
  2. Define Eligible Disclosures- Clearly define what constitutes a reportable disclosure under the policy, including types of conduct that can be reported and the processes for making a report.
  3. Provide Protection for Whistleblowers- Ensure that whistleblowers are protected against retaliation and provide clear guidelines on how retaliation will be dealt with.
  4. Establish a Reporting Channel or External Whistleblower Hotline-
  5. Provide a secure and confidential reporting channel for whistleblowers, such as a designated email address or hotline.
  6. Training and Awareness- Provide training to employees on the whistleblower policy, including the types of conduct that can be reported, the reporting process, and the protection afforded to whistleblowers.
  7. Review and Improvement- Regularly review the policy and procedures to ensure they are effective and up to date and make improvements where necessary.
    Communication and Publication – Clearly communicate the policy to all employees and make it publicly available.

So, when do you need to be compliant?

Starting January 1st, 2020, public companies, big proprietary companies, and trustees of registered pension entities must establish and make accessible to their officers and employees a Whistleblower Policy. 

Compliance Made Easy, Get Expert Help with Whistleblower Policy and Hotline Services from Lodestar Legal

While it is not legally required to have a lawyer to develop a whistleblower policy, it can be helpful to consult with one. Lodestar Legal has lawyers that are familiar with relevant laws and regulations, such as the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019, and can provide guidance on how to comply with these laws.

Contact us and we will work with you efficiently and cost effectively to:

  • Develop a Whistleblower policy or update your existing policy to comply with the legislation; and
  • Implement an external Whistleblower hotline (including implementation/training tools).

We will ensure that the policy is comprehensive, clear, and fair, and that it protects the rights of both the company and whistleblowers. In addition, our experts can provide advice on how to handle and investigate whistleblower complaints and can assist in responding to any legal claims that may arise. Overall, consulting with Lodestar Legal when developing a whistleblower policy can help minimize legal risk and ensure that the policy is effective and compliant with the law.

Give us a call and we’ll help you develop something relevant to your business.
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