The new whistleblower protection provisions in the Corporations Act may apply to many NSW Councils. The new provisions also apply to organisations that are ‘trading corporations’ for the purposes of paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution. Current case law suggests that all it takes for a corporation (which councils are) to be classified as a ‘trading corporation’ is that it is engaged in trading that is ‘a substantial and not merely peripheral activity’, ‘a substantial, in the sense of non-trivial element, albeit not the predominant element of what the [entity]does’. Trading could include buying/selling renting of property, revenue from parking, sporting facilities, child care centres, etc. Should a council be subject to the Corporations Act whistleblower provisions, they could be compliant with the NSW PID Act and at the same time committing an offence under the Corporations Act. This would be a significant issue should there be a breach of the very strict confidentiality obligations or a duty to protect a whistleblower. Such a breach can incur a significant criminal penalty as well as a potentially massive civil penalty.
23 OCTOBER 2019
10:30am - 11:15am
PRESENTER: CHRIS WHEELER PSM | CHRIS WHEELER CONSULTING
Former NSW Deputy Ombudsman for 25 years, responsible for the Ombudsman’s public administration jurisdiction and oversight of the implementation of the NSW PID Act.
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