Whistleblower Policy

Council House 2 (CH2), VIC. City of Melbourne. 6 Star Green Star – Office As Built v1.

1. Purpose

1.1.   The purpose of this Policy is to encourage, protect and support the reporting of misconduct or an improper state of affairs or circumstances relating to the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

1.2.   This Policy also seeks to ensure those people who report a concern can do so without being subject to detrimental treatment and to ensure the GBCA conducts itself to the highest standards of honesty and integrity in its business activities.

1.3.  This Policy is intended to comply with the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) (Whistleblower Laws), each of which provide for certain protections available to Eligible Whistleblowers (see Section 2) who report Reportable Conduct (see Section 3) to an Eligible Recipient (see Section 5).

1.4.  This Policy does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment or any other contract for services.

1.5.  This Policy is available on the GBCA's website here. Questions about this Policy should be directed to the Legal Counsel and Company Secretary.

2. Application of Policy

2.1.  This Policy applies to the following individuals:

  • current or former officers or employees of the GBCA;
  • current or former suppliers of goods or services (whether paid or unpaid) to the GBCA, including an individual who is or has been employed by such a supplier;
  • current or former associates of the GBCA (including the directors and secretary of the GBCA);
  • a relative, spouse or dependant of any of the above or a dependant of an individual's spouse.

2.2.  An individual identified as above is an Eligible Whistleblower for the purpose of this Policy and may have the benefit of certain protections under the Whistleblower Laws.

3. What can be reported?

3.1. It is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of the activities that should be reported for the purposes of this Policy. Reports which will be protected by this policy are reports made in relation to conduct which a person has reasonable grounds to suspect constitutes misconduct or an 'improper state of affairs or circumstances' in relation to the GBCA or a related body corporate (Reportable Conduct).  Examples of Reportable Conduct that would be covered by this Policy and protected under the Whistleblower laws (as long as they are made to an Eligible Recipient (discussed further below)) include:  

  • misconduct or an improper state of affairs or circumstances (for these purposes misconduct includes fraudulent activity), including in relation to the tax affairs of the GBCA or its associates;
  • dishonest, corrupt or illegal activity (including criminal damage against property, theft, violence or threatened violence, drug sale or use or other breaches of State or Federal law);
  • abuses of human rights including occurrences of modern slavery in GBCA’s operations;
  • intentional withholding or manipulation of information provided to an auditor or regulator or misleading or deceptive conduct including practices or representations which amount to improper or misleading accounting or financial reporting;
  • an offence under a law of the Commonwealth which is punishable by imprisonment for 12 months or more;
  • a contravention of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)
  • a contravention of anti-money laundering or anti-bribery legislation; or
  • conduct which poses a danger to the public or the financial system.

4. Personal work-related grievances

4.1. Personal work-related grievances are generally not covered by this Policy or protected under the Whistleblower Laws.

4.2. A personal work-related grievance is a grievance about a matter in relation to an individual's employment or former employment, which has implications for the individuals personally. For example, interpersonal conflicts or decisions relating to employment, transfer or promotion.

4.3. A personal work-related grievance may be covered by this Policy and protected under the Whistleblower Laws if it is about victimisation and detriment suffered by an Eligible Whistleblower because they disclosed Reportable Conduct (see below) or if it relates to a broader matter that is likely to have significant implications for the GBCA.

4.4. Personal work-related grievances should be referred to your Department Head or HR & Operations Manager.

5. Who should Reportable Conduct be reported to?

5.1 This Section 5 lists those individuals who are eligible to receive a report under this Policy and for the purpose of the Whistleblower Laws (Eligible Recipients).

5.1. The GBCA has appointed Whistleblower Protection Officers (WPO) for an Eligible Whistleblower to make a report of Reportable Conduct. The WPO are outlined below.

Chief Operating Officer, Stephen Thatcher E: stephen.thatcher@gbca.org.au

P: +61 2 8239 6200

Legal Counsel and Company Secretary, Lynne Harman, E: lynne.harman@gbca.org.au

P: +61 8239 6200

Chair of the Board, Adrian Pozzo E: apozzo@cbusproperty.com.au

P: 1300 319 890

5.2. The WPO to whom a whistleblower report is made will determine the appropriate action to be taken in respect of the report, including whether it should be subject to investigation under this Policy.

5.3. Whistleblower reports which require further investigation will be dealt with in accordance Section 7 of this Policy.

5.4. The GBCA encourages reports to be made to a WPO. However, Eligible Whistleblowers may also make a report of Reportable Conduct to an auditor or audit team member, or actuary, of the GBCA; or to ASIC, the Australian Federal Police, or another Commonwealth body prescribed by law.

5.5. In certain specific and limited circumstances, a report will also be protected under the Whistleblower Laws if it is made to a journalist or a member of Parliament. These circumstances are where a matter of public interest is concerned, or there is an emergency.

6. How to make a report

6.1. A whistleblower report can be reported by a meeting, email or phone call to an Eligible Recipient as listed in Section 5.

6.2. Where a report is made by email, the subject of the email should make it clear that the email is a report under this Policy. If a report is made in a meeting or by phone, the Eligible Whistleblower should inform the Eligible Recipient that the report is made under this Policy. However, failing to identify a report in this way will not stop a report from qualifying for protection under the Whistleblower Laws.

6.3. At the time of reporting, an Eligible Whistleblower should also indicate whether they consent to the Eligible Recipient disclosing their identity to other persons including the designated whistleblower investigation team (if established), the Chief Executive Officer and the Board. An Eligible Whistleblower may elect to make a report anonymously. However, if an Eligible Whistleblower chooses to make a report anonymously, it will mean that any investigation by the GBCA may be limited. It is recommended that anonymous reports are made in a way that allows for a channel of communication between yourself and GBCA, so that GBCA can request any follow up information, and you can be kept updated on the status of any investigation outcome, where appropriate.

7. Investigation

7.1. Where it has been determined that a whistleblower report should be subject to further investigation, it will be investigated as soon as practicable after the matter has been reported. In most instances, investigations will be undertaken by one or more of the WPOs. In certain circumstances, an external investigator may be appointed.

7.2. Where appropriate, the key person undertaking the investigation will provide updates to the Eligible Whistleblower regarding the investigation’s progress and/or outcome.

7.3. All investigations will be conducted in a thorough, fair and independent manner in accordance with best practice.

7.4. When investigating a whistleblower report, the GBCA may need to disclose information other than the Eligible Whistleblower's identity that could lead to their identification to the investigator and other persons who are assisting with the investigation because it is reasonably necessary for the purpose of the investigation. The GBCA will take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk that the Eligible Whistleblower will be identified in these circumstances.

7.5. Any person related to the GBCA may be investigated as a result of a whistleblower report. Investigations may occur without the knowledge of the people identified in the report, either to keep the identity of the person making the report confidential or to prevent people from suffering detriment as a result of the report. If, as a result of an investigation, the GBCA identifies an issue that indicates that an individual has engaged in misconduct, the individual will be given an opportunity to be heard before any further steps are taken, including any disciplinary action.

8. Confidentiality

8.1. The GBCA is committed to ensuring that whistleblower reports are managed with appropriate confidentiality and in accordance with statutory confidentiality regimes in the Whistleblower Laws.

8.2. An Eligible Whistleblower's identity and information likely to lead to their identification is protected under the Whistleblower Laws.

8.3. The GBCA will:

  • not disclose the identity of a reporting person without their consent as outlined in Section 6, unless that disclosure is to an authority or a lawyer for the purpose of obtaining legal advice or representation; and
  • if investigating a whistleblower report, ensure that information contained in the report is only disclosed to the extent reasonably necessary to conduct the investigation and that all reasonable steps are taken to reduce the risk that the Eligible Whistleblower will be identified.

8.5. The disclosure of information in a whistleblower report (other than as permitted by this Policy) will be a breach of this Policy and will be dealt with under the GBCA’s disciplinary procedures.

8.6. All records produced as part of receiving or investigating a whistleblower report will be securely retained with access restricted.

9. Victimisation

9.1. Eligible Whistleblowers are protected from victimisation under the Whistleblower Laws. Victimisation is where a person causes detriment to another person with the belief or suspicion that the other person made, may have made, proposes to make, or could make a whistleblower report and that belief or suspicion is or forms part of the reasons for the victimising conduct. Victimising conduct also includes threats (express or implied, conditional or unconditional) to cause detriment.

9.2. 'Detriment' may come in many forms and includes (but is not limited to):

  • dismissal;
  • 'injury' in a person's employment;
  • altering a person's employment status to their disadvantage;
  • discrimination between a person and other employees;
  • harassment or intimidation;
  • harm or injury (including psychological harm); or
  • damage to a person's property, reputation, business or financial position.

9.3. The GBCA does not tolerate any form of victimisation, punishment, disciplinary or retaliatory action against people who raise concerns under this Policy. The GBCA considers victimisation to be misconduct and takes any behaviour of this kind seriously. Any employee who engages in this kind of behaviour will be subject to disciplinary action.

9.4. If an individual covered by this Policy feels that they have been victimised because of concerns raised, or if an individual becomes aware that someone else has been victimised because of concerns that they have raised, it should be reported immediately to a WPO. You may also make a complaint to a regulator, such as ASIC.

9.5. There are steep penalties and the potential for criminal prosecution for those who engage in victimising conduct.

9.6. Where a person has caused detriment to a whistleblower, there are broad powers to remedy the situation. It is possible for the court to make orders that:

  • a person, or an employee or officer of a body corporate who was involved in the victimisation of a person by the body corporate, pay compensation to the individual for loss, damage or injury;
  • an injunction be made preventing, stopping or remedying the effects of the victimising conduct;
  • employment be reinstated in circumstances where the person was dismissed as part of the victimising conduct; or
  • exemplary damages be awarded.

10. Immunity from lawsuit

10.1 Eligible Whistleblowers cannot be subject to any civil, criminal or administrative liability for making a whistleblower report and no contractual or other remedy may be enforced or right exercised against an Eligible Whistleblower on the basis of the report. If the report is made to ASIC, the AFP (or other prescribed regulators) or is an emergency disclosure, the information contained in the report cannot be admissible in evidence against the person in criminal proceedings or in proceedings for the imposition of a penalty other than proceedings concerning the falsity of the information.

10.2 An Eligible Whistleblower may be able to seek compensation through the Courts if the GBCA has failed to take reasonable precautions in order to protect them from detrimental conduct.


GBCA reserves the right to vary, replace or terminate the policy from time to time.

Policy Version and Revision Information

Policy authorised by: Stephen Thatcher

Title: Chief Operating Officer                          Original issue: 16 April 2020

Policy Maintained by: Caroline Daley

Title: HR Manager                                            Current version: 2

Review date: November 2022