Whistleblower Policy

WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY

1.             Purpose

1.1           To encourage, protect and support the reporting of incidents of misconduct, fraud, questionable accounting, inappropriate behaviour or an improper state of affairs or circumstances or any other conduct inconsistent with the  values or policies of 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.

2.              Application of Policy

This Policy applies to an individual who is (or has been):

  • an employee of the GBCA;
  • a GBCA member;
  • a supplier of goods or services (whether paid or unpaid) to the GBCA, including an individual who is or has been employed by such a supplier;
  • a relative, spouse or dependant of any of the above.

An individual identified as above is described as an Eligible Whistleblower in this Policy.

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 (Reportable Conduct).  However, as a general rule, Reportable Conduct includes any conduct of the GBCA or any conduct of any employee which an Eligible Whistleblower has reasonable grounds to suspect constitutes:

  • misconduct or an improper state of affairs (for these purposes misconduct includes fraudulent activity);
  • 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);
  • wilful or intentional breaches of the GBCA’s  policies,  values and code of conduct;
  • 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 Australia 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;
  • a danger to the public; or
  • conduct that may cause financial loss or is otherwise detrimental to the interests of the GBCA.

3.2      Reportable Conduct can also include the conduct outlined above engaged in by an external party who has an association with the GBCA where the conduct could have legal implications for the GBCA or its reputation.

4.         What is excluded from reporting?

4.1       Personal workplace grievances are generally not covered by this Policy.  Personal workplace grievances should be referred to your Department Head or HR & Operations Manager.

5.         Who should reports of Reportable Conduct be made to?

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

Head of Finance and Operations, 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

HR & Operations Manager, Catherine Andon

E: catherine.andon@gbca.org.au

P: +61 2 8239 6200

Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee, Adrian Pozzo

E: apozzo@cbusproperty.com.au

P: 1300 319 890

5.2       The WPO officer to whom a whistleblower report is made will determine the appropriate action to be taken in respect of the report (in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer of the GBCA), including whether it should be subject to investigation under this Policy.

5.3       By making a whistleblower report a reporting person consents to the detail of the whistleblower report (including their identity unless they have elected to remain anonymous) being disclosed to the Chief Executive Officer for this purpose. Whistleblower reports which require further investigation will be dealt with in accordance paragraph 7 of this Policy.

5.4       Whistleblower reports may also be made to any Department Head (Executive team member) of the GBCA. While whistleblower reports can be made to any Department Head of the GBCA, we encourage whistleblower reports made for the purpose of this Policy to be made to the designated WPOs above so they can ensure the report is handled in accordance with this Policy.

5.5       A Department Head who receives a whistleblower report will provide details of the report to a WPO so the report may be handled in accordance with this Policy. By making a whistleblower report to a Department Head (who is not a WPO) a reporting person consents to the details of the whistleblower report (including their identity unless they have elected to remain anonymous) being disclosed to a WPO so it can be addressed in accordance with this Policy.

6.        How to make a report 

6.1       Whistleblower reports can be made through one of the following means:

  • by a meeting, email or phone call to the WPOs listed in paragraph 5 above;
  • by a meeting, email or phone call to a Department Head.

6.2       Where a whistleblower report is made by email, the subject of the email should make it clear that the email is a report under this Policy.

6.3       Information received from a reporting person via any of these channels will be kept confidential to the extent possible subject to the GBCA’s reporting procedures. In particular, the GBCA may be required to disclose the information received to appropriate regulatory authorities including the Australian Federal Police or other governmental agencies.

6.4       At the time of making a whistleblower report, a reporting person should also indicate whether they consent to the recipient of their report disclosing their identity to other persons (including the designated whistleblower investigation team if established), the GBCA’s external legal advisors, the Chief Executive Officer and the Board. The GBCA may not be able to properly investigate a report without this consent. A reporting person may elect to make a report anonymously. The GBCA will respect the reporting person’s right not to identify themselves. However, if a reporting person chooses to make a report anonymously, it will mean that any investigation by the GBCA may be limited.

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.

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 Corporations Act where applicable.

8.2       Subject to compliance with legal reporting obligations when implementing any process under this Policy, the GBCA will:

•           not disclose the identity of a reporting person without their consent as outlined in paragraph 6;

•           ensure that information contained in a whistleblower report is only disclosed to the extent necessary to conduct an investigation or administer this Policy; and

•           take reasonable steps to reduce the risk that the reporting person will be identified as part of any process conducted under this Policy.

8.3       Nothing in this Policy prevents the GBCA or any person from disclosing information required by law.

8.4       Other than in circumstances required by law, 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.

8.5       All records produced as part of receiving or investigating a whistleblower report will be securely retained with access restricted. A reporting person who makes a whistleblower report consents to this information being handled in this way.

Variations 

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

Policy Version and Revision Information

Policy Authorised by: Stephen Thatcher

Title: Head of Finance & Operations                           Original issue: 16 April 2020

Policy Maintained by: Catherine Andon

Title: HR & Operations Manager                                 Current version: 1

Review date: January 2021