Corporate Lobbying Policy

This policy (PCY380) is in place to ensure that Water Corporation conducts its business in accordance with the Integrity (Lobbyist) Act 2016 and ensure transparency for all lobbying activities.

This is a Board approved Policy.

Policy statement

To ensure that the Corporation conducts its business in accordance with the Integrity (Lobbyist) Act 2016 (the Act), this Board policy directs the Corporation to:

  1. comply with the Act and other supporting instruments in regards to all its lobbying activities; and
  2. ensure that the process surrounding lobbying activities are transparent and fully documented.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure compliance in substance and in the spirit of the Act and ensure transparency for all lobbying activities. Lobbying activities include both inbound activities where a lobbyist acts on behalf of a third party as well as outbound activities where the Corporation chooses to engage a lobbyist. 

This policy also seeks to promote and enhance public confidence in the integrity and honesty of dealings between the Corporation and people who undertake lobbying activities on behalf of others. 

Scope

This policy applies to Board members, all employees of the Corporation, Alliances and Contractors (employees) who undertake or are approached to lobby government representatives. A government representative is defined by the Contact with Lobbyists Code as “a Minister, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministerial Staff Member or person employed, contracted or engaged by a public sector agency”. This policy does not apply to the lobbying of non-government representatives as this is covered by our Code of Conduct and rules of probity and procurement.

The Act defines ‘lobbying’ as communicating with a government representative for the purposes of influencing, whether directly or indirectly, State Government decision making.  A “lobbyist” can be a person, body corporate, unincorporated association, partnership or firm whose business includes being contracted or engaged to represent the interests of a third party to a Government Representative. For an activity to be a lobbying activity, it is not essential that the activity be undertaken for any commission, payment or other reward (whether pecuniary or otherwise).

A “lobbyist” does not include:

  1. An association or organisation constituted to represent the interests of its members;
  2. A religious or charitable organisation; or
  3. An entity or person, whose business is a recognised technical or professional occupation which, as part of the services provided to third parties in the course of that occupation, represents the views of the third party who has engaged it to provide their technical or professional services.

A comprehensive list of activities that does not constitute lobbying can be found in Section 4 of the Act.

The Act provides a legislative framework around the current administrative regime of registering and listing lobbyists to State Government. The Public Sector Commissioner will continue to be responsible for administering the Register of Lobbyists. The Act makes it an offence for individuals or firms to lobby government on behalf of third parties without being registered. Doing so may attract a fine of up to $10,000. In addition, the Commissioner has established a code of conduct for registered lobbyists as enabled by the Act. 

Requirements of Engagement (Inbound)

If a lobbyist seeks contact with the Corporation on behalf of a third party, they must be registered and listed on the Public Sector Commissions’ Register of Lobbyists (publicly available at www.lobbyists.wa.gov.au). It is the responsibility of the engaged Corporation employee to ensure that the lobbyist is on this Register and that the information provided by the lobbyist is accurate. Any suspected unregistered lobbyists are to be reported to the Public Sector Commission. This policy creates no obligation for an employee to have contact with a particular lobbyist or lobbyists in general.

If approached by a lobbyist, an employee must:

  1. Confirm that the lobbyist is registered and listed on the Public Sector Commissions’ Register of Lobbyists (www.lobbyists.wa.gov.au);
  2. Obtain the consent of General Manager to have dealings with the lobbyist;
  3. Complete the Corporation’s internal Corporate Register of Lobbying Activities (#15642784) (owned by Manager Legal Services and Company Secretary); and
  4. Maintain an accurate record of all communications with the lobbyist.

Requirements of Engagement (Outbound)

If the Corporation chooses to engage a lobbyist it must:

  1. Obtain the consent of the Chief Executive Officer;
  2. Ensure that the lobbyist has completed registration as required and all lobbyist information is up to date;
  3. Enter into a consultancy contract; and
  4. Enter the required information in the Corporate Register of Lobbying Activities (#15642784).

To ensure this policy is implemented successfully into the business, reminders will be periodically sent out in various internal communications. Senior Management will also need to affirm they have complied with this policy and related processes in their annual Letter of Representation.

The Act has been added to the Corporation’s Legislation Register and process controls will be reviewed annually with Manager Legal Services and Company Secretary.