Australia’s top listed companies, government organisations and civil society groups have joined forces to launch the country’s Bribery Prevention Network.
Hosted by the local network of the United Nations Global Compact and curated by some of Australia’s leading anti-bribery experts, the network offers a free online portal of accessible, relevant and reliable resources for Australian companies.
This is to assist them to manage bribery and corruption risks in both domestic and international markets.
Acute challenges overseas
Knowing how to address bribery and corruption risks while succeeding in business can be challenging, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the network says.
When entering international markets, in particular, Australian companies are faced with a myriad of bribery and corruption laws that can sit in contrast to local customs, expectations and competitive pressure to bribe.
Executive Director of the Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA), Kylie Porter notes: “We know that corruption is a significant obstacle to economic and social development globally, and disproportionately affects poor communities.
Must set a positive example
“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.”
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 (AAMEG).
A Contributing Organisation of the network, the AFP has 17 active investigations into foreign bribery and has pursued more than 130 such cases over the last decade.
Superintendent for Crime Strategy at the AFP, Greg Hinds said: “The Australian Government works on a number of fronts to fight bribery and corruption in Australia and overseas; with both remaining significant threats to the global community, hindering the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), undermining the rule of law and eroding trust between governments and citizens.”
Be fair and competitive
The network also enables big business to help small organisations build fair and competitive markets here and overseas for Australian providers.
“We are pleased to play our part in its development,” said the Chief Compliance Officer at BHP, Tim Robinson.
“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.”