Whistle Blower Policy


About this policy

Version as at 1 July 2019

The expanded whistleblower protections in the Corporations Act 2001 require Federal Group to have a Whistleblower Policy available to provide information about the protections available to whistleblowers and how disclosures can be made.

Overview

Federal Group is a privately owned family company that operates significant tourism, hospitality, retail, casino and gaming assets in Tasmania, a gaming technology and software company in Queensland, and a national sensitive freight company.

We recognise that the scope and scale of our company means that we touch many lives. As a family business, this is not something that we ever take lightly.

Our vision for the future is to be Australia’s most respected service business through an unwavering commitment to our principles. We believe that earning the respect of our employees, our customers, our industry partners and our communities will continue to ensure the long-term success of our company.

Federal Group recognises that any genuine commitment to detecting and preventing illegal and other undesirable conduct in our businesses must include a way for employees and others to report their concerns freely, anonymously and without fear of reprisal, disadvantage or intimidation. The purpose of this Policy is to provide such a mechanism and encourage the reporting of such conduct.

Who does this Policy apply to?

This Policy applies to those who are or have been an employee or officer of any business in the Federal Group, a supplier of goods or services (paid or unpaid) and their employees, and the relatives of any of the above.

Definitions used in this Policy

Detrimental Treatment

Any conduct done to a Discloser or suspected Discloser that causes or is a threat to cause any detriment to the Discloser.

Disclosable Matter

Information that a Discloser has reasonable grounds to suspect concerns misconduct or an improper state of affairs, which would include conduct that:

  • is dishonest, fraudulent or corrupt activity, including bribery;
  • is illegal activity (such as fraud, theft, drug sale or use, violence, bullying, harassment, discrimination or intimidation, criminal damage to property or other breaches of state or federal law);
  • is unethical or in breach of Federal Group’s policies or Code of Conduct;
  • is potentially unsafe or damaging to Federal Group, a Federal Group employee or a third party, such as unsafe work practices, environmental damage, health risks or abuse of property or resources;
  • amounts to an abuse of authority; or
  • may cause financial loss to Federal Group or damage its reputation or be otherwise detrimental to its interests.

It is NOT information that is about a personal work-related grievance, which is about a Discloser’s employment or further employment that has implications for that Discloser personally. For example:

  •  an interpersonal conflict between the Discloser and another employee;
  • a decision relating to the engagement, transfer or promotion of the Discloser;
  • a decision relating to the terms and conditions of engagement of the Discloser; or
  • a decision to suspend or terminate the engagement of the Discloser, or otherwise to discipline the Discloser.

Discloser

A person who, whether anonymously or not, discloses wrongdoing in accordance with this Policy.

Disclosure Officer

Disclosure Officers:

  • Executive General Manager Corporate Finance and Company Secretary
  • Corporate Senior People and Culture Advisor
  • Change & Planning Manager
  • Group Legal Counsel

Eligible Recipient

Disclosable Matters can be disclosed to a Federal Group employee who is either a:

  • Disclosure Officer;
  • Officer – a director or company secretary or person who makes, or participates in making, decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part of the business; or
  • Senior Manager – a person other than a director or company secretary who makes, or participates in making, decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the business of the corporation; or who has the capacity to significantly affect the financial standing of the business.

This will include, for example, all members of Business Unit leadership groups, as well as those controlling a location or site such as a Vantage Hotel Manager or a State Manager for COPE.

Whistleblower Committee

A committee of the Disclosure Officers who will, when a disclosure is made:

  • determine if it is a Disclosable Matter;
  • decide how a Disclosable Matter is to be investigated and by whom;
  • consider the findings of any investigation; and
  • make recommendations on actions from findings to the Federal Group Audit and Risk Committee.

Whistleblower protection

Quick Reference – see diagram at end of document.

When is protection available?

Protection is available to Disclosers who disclose information that is a Disclosable Matter to an Eligible Recipient.

What is not a Disclosable Matter?

A disclosure is not a whistleblowing Disclosable Matter when the disclosure is:

  • trivial in nature with no substance;
  • unsubstantiated allegations that are found to have been made maliciously, or knowingly to be false; or
  • a personal workplace grievance.

Non-current employees may disclose directly to an Eligible Recipient.

An issue may be more appropriately disclosed under:

  • other reporting structures such as those for dispute resolution, discrimination, victimisation or matters relating to workplace bullying or harassment;
  • standard complaint mechanisms for non-employees; and
  • any exercising of rights under the terms of their contract by contractors and suppliers.

This policy does not in any way restrict or diminish the right of any person to make disclosures directly to relevant regulators or under legislation such as the Corporations Act 2001.

Making a disclosure

All Disclosers can disclose to any Eligible Recipient but are encouraged to disclose to a Disclosure Officer by email, in writing or in person at any time.

Mail – PO Box 256 Sandy Bay, Tasmania, 7005

Email – whistleblower@federalgroup.com.au

Phone – 03 6225 7150

When a Discloser makes a disclosure of a Disclosable Matter:

  • They may do so anonymously;
  • Consent to identify will be sought by the Eligible Recipient;
  • They will be afforded confidentiality unless they indicate or the law requires otherwise;
  • Serious issues disclosed that require investigation will be investigated;
  • They will be informed about the outcome and any action taken as much as is practicable and allowed; and
  • All files and records created will be retained under strict security and unauthorised release of information to someone not involved in the investigation (other than directors or senior staff who may need to know or for governance purposes) without the Discloser’s consent will be a breach of this Policy.

Disclosers are requested to provide as much information as possible and any known details about the events underlying the report (e.g. date, time, location, name of person[s] involved, possible witnesses to the events, evidence of the events [e.g. documents, emails] and steps they may have already taken to report the matter elsewhere or to try to resolve the concern).

Making a disclosure may not protect the Discloser from the consequences flowing from involvement in the wrongdoing itself. A person’s liability for their own conduct is not affected by their report of that conduct under this policy. However active cooperation in the investigation, an admission will be taken into account when considering disciplinary or other action.

Investigation of a Disclosable Matter

Disclosures will go to the Whistleblower Committee who will determine whether the issue is a Disclosable Matter and if and how the disclosure will be investigated. If a disclosure is not a Disclosable Matter, the Discloser will be advised and an investigation may still take place, noting that the requirements and protections under this policy will not apply.

Any investigation will be conducted in an objective and fair manner and as is reasonable and appropriate regarding the nature of the Disclosable Matter, the circumstances, and whether the Discloser has consented to being identified.

If the Discloser wishes to remain anonymous, the issue will be investigated without identifying the Discloser or disclosing any information that may potentially or be likely to identify the Discloser. Maintaining a Discloser’s anonymity may impact the ability to adequately investigate the issue.

Federal Group recognises that individuals against whom a disclosure is made must also be supported during the handling and investigation. Where a person is identified as being suspected of possible wrongdoing, but preliminary inquiries determine that the suspicion is baseless or unfounded and that no formal investigation is warranted, then the Discloser will be informed of this outcome and the matter laid to rest.

The Whistleblower Committee will decide whether or not a person named in the allegation should be informed that a suspicion was raised and then found to be baseless upon preliminary review. This decision will be based on a desire to preserve the integrity of that person, so as to enable workplace harmony to continue unfettered and to protect the Discloser where it is a Disclosable Matter.

Where an investigation does not substantiate the report, the fact that the investigation has been carried out, the results of the investigation and the identity of the person who is the subject of the report will be handled confidentially.

Where issues of discipline arise the response will be in line with the relevant disciplinary policies.

Protection of Disclosers

Any Detrimental Treatment of a Discloser is prohibited. If a Discloser believes they have been subject to Detrimental Treatment, they should report the matter to an Eligible Recipient. Protection is also provided to the Discloser under relevant laws.

Any action by a Federal Group employee, director, contractor, partner, supplier or consultant that is, or could be perceived to be, Detrimental Treatment against a Discloser by reason of their status as a Discloser, will be subject to disciplinary measures.

Reporting Procedures

The Whistleblower Committee will report to the Federal Group Audit and Risk Committee on the number and type of disclosures annually and provide with recommendations on actions from the findings of any investigation or disclosure. These reports will maintain the confidentiality of matters disclosed under this Policy.

How to contact us

To make a disclosure or if you would like more information about this Policy, you may contact Federal Group by email, mail or phone:

Email:
whistleblower@federalgroup.com.au

Mail:
Group Legal Counsel
Federal Group
PO Box 256
Sandy Bay, Tasmania, 7005
Phone: 03 6225 7150

Changes in the future
We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time.

All changes will be notified by posting an updated version of this Policy on our websites.   Any changes to this Policy shall be deemed to take place on the date the changes are posted on our website(s).