1. What do we do?
Riverside Marine is committed to the highest standards of conduct and ethical behaviour in all of our business activities, and to promoting and supporting a culture of honest and ethical behaviour, compliance and governance. Reporting is encouraged for any instances of suspected unethical, illegal or fraudulent conduct involving the Riverside Marine group of companies, and we will ensure that those persons who make a report, shall do so without fear of intimidation, disadvantage or reprisal. This policy is an important tool for helping Riverside Marine to identify wrongdoing that may not be uncovered in the absence of a safe and secure means of disclosure.
2. Why is it important?
The objectives of this policy are to:
- encourage employees to disclose any malpractice, misconduct or conflicts of interest of which they become aware;
- provide protection for employees who disclose allegations of malpractice, misconduct or conflicts of interest; and
This policy is intended to provide information on the following:
- how Riverside Marine will support and protect whistleblowers;
- to whom and how disclosures can be made;
- when and how Riverside Marine investigates disclosures; and
- how Riverside Marine will ensure fair treatment of those mentioned in disclosures
3. What and who does this apply to?
This Policy applies to all Riverside Marine employees, former employees, contractors and directors. The scope of disclosure spans to any misconduct that ASIC may investigate.
3.2. Who is an eligible whistleblower?
Disclosures will qualify for protection under the Corporations 2001 (Cth) if made by an individual who is an elibigle whistleblower and if made about a disclosable matter (see 3.4) to an eligible recipient (see 3.5). An eligible whistleblower is an individual related to the company who is or has been, any of the following:
- an officer;
- an employee;
- an individual (or an employee of a person) who supplies services or goods to the company;
- an individual who is an associate;
- a relative of an individual referred to above;
- a dependent of an individual or an individual’s spouse referred to above; and
- an individual prescribed by regulations.
The discloser must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the information concerns misconduct, or an improper state of affairs or circumstance in relation to Riverside Marine.
3.3. What protections are available?
Confidentiality is protected to the fullest extent possible, including protection of identity and the details of the subsequent investigation. Riverside Marine undertakes to take all reasonable steps to ensure that no employee engages in victimisation of whistleblowers (or their families), and take all appropriate measures against those responsible for it. Any form of retaliation against a discloser will not be tolerated and will be met with disciplinary action. To the maximum extent practicable, a person who genuinely discloses an allegation or concern about compliance with laws or other standards of behaviour will be protected from any adverse action (such as dismissal, demotion, suspension, harassment, or other forms of discrimination) because they have raised such allegations. Subject to this policy, a whistleblower is protected, even if the allegations prove to be incorrect or unsubstantiated (although a person who maliciously or vexatiously makes disclosures or makes false disclosures may be subject to disciplinary action). Employees who participate, or assist in, an investigation will also be protected. Every effort will be made to protect the anonymity of the whistleblower, however, there may be situations where anonymity cannot be guaranteed. In such situations, the whistleblower will be informed.
3.4. Disclosable Matters
This policy does not apply to general employment grievances and complaints by a person about their own employment or situation. Disclosures that are not about disclosable matters do not qualify for protection under the Corporations Act. However, such disclosures may be protected under other legislation, such as the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
Below are some examples of conduct which may be the subject of disclosure:
- fraud, money laundering or misappropriation of funds;
- illegal activities (including theft, drug sale/use, violence, threatened violence, or criminal damage against Riverside Marine assets/property);
- discrimination, vilification, sexual harassment, harassment, bullying and victimisation;
- acts or omissions in breach of commonwealth or state legislation or local authority bylaws;
- unethical behaviour;
- other serious improper conduct (including gross mismanagement, serious and substantial waste of Riverside Marine resources, or repeated breaches of administrative procedures);
- unsafe work-practices;
- any other conduct which may cause financial or non-financial loss to Riverside Marine or be otherwise detrimental to the interests or reputation of Riverside Marine, or any of its employees; orthe deliberate concealment of information tending to show any of the matters listed above.
3.5. Eligible recipients of disclosures
Direct disclosures can be made to the Company Secretary, Legal Counsel or Senior Quality Connector, as authorised by Riverside Marine.
Protections for whistleblowers will also apply where disclosures are made:
- to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) or any other Commonweatlh body prescribed by regulation;
- to a legal practitioner in the course of obtaining legal advice or representation about the operation of the whistleblower provisions in the Corporations Act; and
- in circumstances where an emergency or public interest disclosure is made to e.g. a journalist or parliamentarian where certain criteria is met. Riverside Marine advises obtaining legal advice prior to this type of disclosure.
3.6. No reprisals
The company will not take any adverse action against a whistleblower because they have made a disclosure which meet the above-mentioned conditions, unless the whistleblower is a participant in the prohibited activities with respect to which the complaint is made. If the whistleblower was involved in the conduct which was the subject of the disclosure, the fact that the whistleblower has made the disclosure may be taken into account in determining the severity of the disciplinary measures, if any, that may eventually be taken. Any reprisals against a whistleblower are a serious breach of this policy and may result in disciplinary action, including dismissal. This protection applies to anyone providing information related to an investigation pursuant to this policy.
3.7. Reporting Procedures
A disclosure can be made at any time to an internal eligible recipient by phone, email, letter or in person. All disclosures should provide specific, adequate and pertinent information with respect to dates, places, persons, witnesses, amounts, and other relevant information, in order to allow for a reasonable investigation to be conducted.
If the whistleblower discloses his or her name, the person receiving the disclosure will acknowledge having received the disclosure and may initiate a follow-up meeting. However, if the disclosure is submitted on an anonymous basis, there will be no follow-up meeting regarding the disclosure Riverside Marine will be unable to communicate with the whistleblower if more information is required, or if the matter is to be referred to external parties for further investigation. All disclosures received will be dealt with on a confidential basis.
3.8. Procedures following disclosure
Once a disclosure has been received from a whistleblower, Riverside Marine will consider the most appropriate action. Any investigation in relation to a disclosure will be conducted promptly and fairly, with due regard for the nature of the allegation and the rights of the persons involved in the investigation. Any evidence gathered during an investigation, including any materials, documents or records, must be held securely by the investigator. The directors, officers, employees and agents of Riverside Marine must cooperate fully with the investigator. Riverside Marine will ensure that, provided the disclosure was not made anonymously, the whistleblower is kept informed of the outcomes of the investigation of his or her allegations, subject to the considerations of privacy of those against whom allegations are made.