Whistleblower director duties and responsibilities

Whistleblowers play an important role in exposing corporate misconduct and cultural or systemic issues. In this context, there is increasing recognition of the significance of whistleblowing to good governance.

It is clear that boards have a strong interest in ensuring that information about such issues is brought to light early, so that they can be detected, addressed and, ideally, prevented. Cultivating an environment where whistleblowers feel safe to come forward is critical to achieving this and assisting the board to effectively discharge its oversight of financial and nonfinancial risks.

Whistleblowing laws under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) were reformed with effect from 1 July 2019 to provide significantly strengthened protections to whistleblowers. The laws apply across sectors and require, among other things, that public and large proprietary companies, as well as corporate trustees of APRA-regulated superannuation entities, have a compliant whistleblowing policy in place (there are exemptions from policy requirements for smaller not-for-profits).

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