The Review of tax and corporate whistleblower protections in Australia consultation paper is seeking public comments to assist the Government with the introduction of appropriate protections for tax whistleblowers and in assessing the adequacy of existing whistleblower protections in the corporate sector.
In the 2016-17 Federal Budget the Government announced the introduction of new arrangements to better protect tax whistleblowers as part of its commitment to tackling tax misconduct. In addition, as part of the Open Government National Action Plan, the Government has committed to ensuring appropriate protections are in place for people who report corruption, fraud, tax evasion or avoidance, and misconduct within the corporate sector. This consultation paper is also intended to complement the work of the recently established Parliamentary Inquiry into whistleblower protections in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors. The consultation paper will assist members of the public in making submissions to either or both processes as it:
- gathers together information about existing whistleblower provisions already operating in Australia, including those under the recent amendments to the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Act 2016, and overseas in major comparable jurisdictions;
- includes critiques of existing Australian provisions;
- canvasses a range of options for reform of existing protections under the Corporations Act 2001 and similar provisions under other financial system legislation administered by ASIC and APRA which apply to corporations;
- canvasses a proposal for tax legislation to introduce specific protections for whistleblowers; and
- identifies the variety of legislative approaches that may be taken by the Government to broader reform in this area generally.
The results of this consultation process and any public submissions received in response to this paper will be made available to the Parliamentary Inquiry. Members of the public are invited to address any matter raised in this paper and should not feel obliged to address each and every question. Submissions for this consultation will close on 10 February 2017.
October 23 update: The Government is currently consulting on exposure draft legislation to improve whistleblower protections.