The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has welcomed new legislation that significantly improves whistleblower protections.

ASIC reports that the reforms approved by the Federal Parliament will: change the definition of whistleblower to include current and previous employees, officers, contractors, their spouses and dependents; extend protections to matters involving any matter covered by financial sector law as well as many Commonwealth offences; create civil penalty provisions in addition to existing criminal offences related to causing detriment to a whistleblower; provide protections for disclosures to journalists and parliamentarians in some circumstances; provide easier compensation access as well as other remedies; and require public companies, large proprietary companies and corporate trustees of registrable superannuation entities to have a whistleblower policy.

In ASIC’s view, these protections in the new laws will encourage whistleblowers to report misconduct. ASIC’s Office of the Whistleblower will oversee the implementation of the reforms when they commence from 1 July 2019.

More information is available here.