Australian organisations from across business, civil society, academia and government have launched a public-private partnership that aims to help businesses tackle bribery and corruption risks and promote a culture of compliance.
Launched in Australia on Wednesday, the Bribery Prevention Network offers free online resources for companies to help them manage bribery and corruption risks in domestic and international markets.
Members of the network include the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Attorney-General’s Department, Transparency International Australia, BHP, Westpac, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank, KPMG Australia, Allens and the Australia-Africa Minerals & Energy Group.
The AFP currently has 17 active investigations into foreign bribery and has pursued more than 130 cases over the past decade. AFP superintendent for crime strategy Greg Hinds said it can often be difficult for businesses to know which anti-bribery and corruption resources are relevant and reliable, and the network aims to address this.
“The Australian government works on a number of fronts to fight bribery and corruption both in Australia and overseas; with both remaining significant threats to the global community, hindering the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, undermining the rule of law and eroding trust between governments and citizens,” he said.
“The Bribery Prevention Network is committed to providing a central repository of trusted resources to mitigate bribery and corruption risks within businesses and their supply chains so that they operate successfully, legally and responsibly.”
Australian companies face myriad bribery and corruption laws when entering international markets. These laws can “sit in contrast to local customs, expectations, and competitive pressure to bribe”, the network said.
BHP chief compliance officer Tim Robinson said the network offers important support to Australian businesses to achieve best practice.
“This hub will offer Australian businesses, including those within the resources industry and supply chain, the opportunity to equip themselves with the knowledge and tools they need to protect their growth and play their part in the fight against corruption,” he said.
Global Compact Network Australia executive director Kylie Porter noted that corruption is a significant obstacle to economic and social development globally, and disproportionately affects poor communities. She argued businesses must act responsibly and set a positive example in society.
“The Bribery Prevention Network assists businesses to detect, prevent and address bribery and corruption. In doing so, businesses can reduce the risk of facing high ethical and operational risks and associated costs, whilst protecting their own business, the interests of their stakeholders and society as a whole,” she said.