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Completed but delayed

1.1 - Improve whistleblower protections in the tax and corporate sectors


1.1 - Improve whistleblower protections in the tax and corporate sectors

This commitment will ensure Australia has appropriate protections in place for people who report corruption, fraud, tax evasion or avoidance, and misconduct within the corporate sector. This will be achieved by:

  • introducing whistle-blower protections for people who disclose information about tax misconduct to the Australian Taxation Office; and
  • strengthening and harmonising corporate whistleblower protections with those available in the public sector.

In the 2016-17 Budget, the Government announced the introduction of new arrangements to better protect tax whistleblowers as part of its commitment to strengthening the integrity of Australia’s tax system. Currently, there are no specific protections for tax whistleblowers and the current range of tax secrecy and privacy provisions are incapable of guaranteeing absolute protection.

This commitment will advance the OGP values of public accountability and transparency by:

  • encouraging, protecting and compensating whistle-blowers whose information reveals artificial tax structures and misconduct; and
  • reducing other forms of corruption, fraud and misconduct by ensuring corporate whistle-blowers are encouraged to come forward, are protected and are compensated.

Steps to implementation

Implementation Step Period Status

Establish Parliamentary inquiry

Nov 2016 Completed

Treasury to release a public consultation paper covering both tax whistle-blower protections and options to strengthen and harmonise corporate whistle-blower protections with those in the public sector.

Dec 2016 Completed
May-Jul 2017 Completed but delayed
  • Recommendation to Government on reforms to strengthen and harmonise whistle-blower protections in the corporate sector with those in the public sector (informed by consultation).
May-Jul 2017 Completed

Finalise and introduce legislation for tax whistle-blower protections. 

Aug-Dec 2017 Completed

Introduce legislation to establish greater protections for whistle-blowers in the corporate sector, with a parliamentary vote no later than 30 June 2018.

Dec 2017-Jun 2018 Completed but delayed

Status updates for commitments are provided approximately every two months. With each update, agencies are encouraged to provide further and better particulars of the commitment and its steps to implementation, which may result in changes to timelines outlined in Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18.

Updated date: 10 July 2020