1. Purpose of this WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY
1.1 Rivalea Holdings Pty Ltd, Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd and Diamond Valley Pork Pty Ltd (each referred to in this Policy as the “Company”) are committed to promoting good ethical standards, integrity and governance in their corporate conduct and business practices.
1.2 As part of this commitment, the Company recognises the need to have clear procedures in place to facilitate reporting of instances of suspected unethical, illegal, fraudulent or undesirable conduct by the Company or its officers and employees, and to enable anyone who does report such behavior to do so without fear of reprisal, discrimination, intimidation or victimisation.
1.3 Accordingly, the purpose of this Whistleblower Policy (“Policy”) is to:
(a) help deter wrongdoing by encouraging anyone who suspects wrongdoing, to speak up;
(b) explain how people to whom this Policy applies, can report matters and how those matters will be investigated;
(c) describe how the Company will protect the identity of persons making disclosures, and safeguard them from detriment and retaliation; and
(d) provide transparency around the Company’s framework of receiving, handling and investigating disclosures.
2. Who the Policy Applies to
2.1 An individual making a disclosure under this Policy is referred to as a whistleblower.
2.2 This Policy applies to the following individuals:
(a) an officer or employee of the Company;
(b) a person (including employees, consultants, service providers or contractors) who provide goods and services to the Company (whether paid or unpaid);
(c) an individual who is an associate of the Company; and
(d) a relative or dependant of the people identified under (a) to (c) above.
3. Matters that this policy applies to
3.1 This Policy is intended to facilitate whistleblowing in relation to misconduct or an improper state of affairs within the Company.
3.2 The following types of misconduct or improper states of affairs are covered by this Policy:
(a) concerns about improper dealings in relation to financial reporting, accounting, internal controls or audit matters which may cause a financial or non-financial loss to the Company;
(b) corruption, bribery, acts of fraud, theft and misappropriation of the properties, assets or resources of the Company;
(c) conduct which could amount to a serious offence or serious breach of law or regulation;
(d) matters which are a threat to the public interest, health, safety or the environment;
(e) unsafe work practices;
(f) violation of this Policy itself;
(g) serious conflicts of interest without disclosure;
(h) contravention of any law administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission ("ASIC") or the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (“APRA”),
(i) conduct which represents a danger to the public or the financial system;
(j) an offence against any other law of the Commonwealth that is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 12 months or more; or
(k) deliberate fraudulent acts intended to mislead, deceive, manipulate or influence any internal or external accountant or auditor in connection with the preparation, examination, audit or review of the financial statements or records of the Company.
3.3 A Reportable Incident does not necessarily have to involve a contravention of any law. Much would depend on the facts of each case.
3.4 Provided that the Whistleblower has reasonable grounds to suspect the Reportable Incident, it does not matter if the disclosure turns out to be incorrect, and the Whistleblower’s motives for making a disclosure will not prevent a Whistleblower from qualifying for protection. However, the Company does not condone vexatious or malicious allegations, complaints made for personal gain or intentionally false disclosures. Disciplinary action may be taken by the Company against the Whistleblower in such cases.
3.5 This Policy does not relate to personal work-related grievances (such as interpersonal conflicts or issues about employment terms), unless:
(a) such grievance includes information about a Reportable Incident or other serious misconduct beyond the Whistleblower’s personal circumstances;
(b) the grievance arises as a result of a disclosure under this Policy; or
(c) the grievance relates to a breach of employment laws or conduct which represents a danger to the public.
3.6 Disclosures that do not relate to a Reportable Incident do not qualify for protection under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) ("Corporations Act").
3.7 Work-related grievances may be raised with a division Manager or directly to the General Manager of People and Performance. Employees may seek independent legal advice to determine whether a grievance is covered by this Policy.
4. Who can receive a disclosure?
4.1 For the purposes of this Policy, the Company Secretary is the Whistleblower Investigations Officer. The Whistleblower Investigations Officer is responsible for managing the investigation process set out in section 8 of this Policy.
4.2 The Whistleblower Investigations Officer’s contact details are:
Rivalea Company Secretary
Postal: Rivalea Company Secretary
Rivalea Holdings Pty Ltd
Redlands Road Corowa New South Wales 2646
4.3 A Whistleblower may address his/her concerns in writing directly to:
(a) a director of the Company;
(b) the Company Secretary / Whistleblower Investigations Officer;
(c) an external auditor of the Company;
(d) ASIC, APRA or the ATO; or
(e) a lawyer for the purposes of obtaining legal advice or legal representation.
4.4 In certain circumstances if there is an ‘emergency’ or a concern is in the public interest, disclosures can be made to journalists or parliamentarians. A Whistleblower should seek independent legal advice prior to making a disclosure to a journalist or parliamentarian.
5. How to make a disclosure
5.1 Concerns are preferably reported in writing (letter or e-mail). Information provided should include:
(a) the background;
(b) the nature and details of the allegations;
(c) relevant dates wherever possible;
(d) the reasons for concern;
(e) any supporting information;
(f) a method for contacting the Whistleblower (such as a postal address, telephone line or email address); and
(g) the names of individual(s)/ entities against whom the allegations are made.
5.2 Whistleblowers that prefer to remain anonymous may post their report to the mailing address provided under section 4.2 of this Policy
5.3 An Eligible Recipient (that is not the Whistleblower Investigations Officer) will report the disclosure to the Whistleblower Investigations Officer and will ensure confidentiality of the Whistleblower’s identity where consent to disclose their identity has not been provided. The Whistleblower Investigations Officer will handle the matter in accordance with sections 6 and 7 of this Policy.
5.4 The Company encourages Whistleblowers to identify themselves when raising a concern or providing information, rather than doing so anonymously. This will facilitate a thorough investigation of the matter. However, the Whistleblower does not have to disclose his or her identity to be afforded protection under the Corporations Act.
5.5 Disclosures that are not made anonymously, will still be treated confidentially in accordance with sections 7 and 8 of this Policy.
6. Legal Protections for whistleblowers
6.1 Any person who makes a disclosure of information relating to a Reportable Incident in accordance with this Policy, will:
(a) have their identity protected in accordance with section 7 of this Policy; and
(b) be protected from detriment in accordance with this section 6.
6.2 If a genuine concern is reported pursuant to this Policy, the Whistleblower will not be at risk of suffering any detriment or damage as a result of such disclosure. Examples of such detriment or damage include:
(a) losing their job;
(b) alteration to their position or duties to their disadvantage;
(c) discrimination, harm or injury (including psychological harm), or damage to reputation or financial position;
(d) damage to their property;
(e) threats of detrimental conduct;
(f) intimidation or harassment; or
(g) other injury in their employment.
6.3 A Whistleblower may be entitled to compensation or other remedies through the courts if the Whistleblower suffers loss, damage or injury as a result of a disclosure and the Company fails to take reasonable precautions to prevent such loss, damage or injury.
6.4 The Whistleblower may also qualify for further protection and remedies under the Corporations Act, including protection from criminal prosecution, civil litigation or administrative action, in certain circumstances.
6.5 The Managing Director of Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd is responsible for ensuring that the Company assesses and implements appropriate measures to safeguard Whistleblowers and other persons involved in a disclosure by a Whistleblower, including the Eligible Recipient or witnesses to any incident, from victimisation or retaliation due to a disclosure being made under this Policy.
6.6 This Policy does not protect a Whistleblower in relation to misconduct by the Whistleblower that is revealed in a disclosure.
7.1 The Company treats all complaints in a confidential and sensitive manner. The Eligible Recipient and Whistleblower Investigations Officer will keep the identity of a known Whistleblower and any information provided by the Whistleblower (including any information which may lead to the identification of them) confidential unless:
(a) the Company is required to provide such information to ASIC, APRA, the AFP, a legal practitioner or other body prescribed by regulations;
(b) it is reasonably necessary for investigating the issues raised in the Whistleblower’s disclosure, provided that the information does not include the identity of the Whistleblower and the Eligible Recipient and/or the Whistleblower Investigations Officer has taken all reasonable steps to reduce the risk that the Whistleblower can be identified from the information; or
(c) the Whistleblower consents to such disclosure.
7.2 Whistleblowers have the right to raise concerns about how an investigation has been handled and may report such concerns to ASIC, APRA or the ATO for investigation.
8. Handling and investigating a disclosure
8.1 After receiving a disclosure from a Whistleblower, an Eligible Recipient will refer the matter to the Whistleblower Investigations Officer.
8.2 The Whistleblower Investigations Officer will treat the disclosure seriously and will, if deemed appropriate, determine that a further investigation is necessary and appoint a person external to the Company to conduct the investigation. Any investigation must be completed within a reasonable period of time, depending on the nature of the disclosure.
8.3 The Whistleblower Investigations Officer may seek independent legal advice in relation to the disclosure and the most appropriate way to manage the process or investigation.
8.4 A Whistleblower may choose to remain anonymous when making a disclosure, during the course of any investigation and afterwards. A Whistleblower that chooses to remain anonymous may refuse to answer questions that they feel could reveal their identity.
8.5 All investigations will be conducted fairly and independent of the business unit concerned, the Whistleblower and of any person the subject of the Reportable Incident.
8.6 The Whistleblower Investigations Officer may determine prior to or during an Investigation, that certain actions are necessary in order to minimise or reduce the risk of detriment to a Whistleblower. This may include for example, assigning the Whistleblower to another role or location, or modifying reporting lines. This does not constitute detrimental conduct against a Whistleblower.
8.7 The objective of an investigation is to locate evidence that either proves or disproves any allegations made by the Whistleblower.
8.8 The person conducting the investigation may, subject to applicable laws, consult relevant persons from within the Company to find out more about the conduct the subject of the allegations.
8.9 The Whistleblower Investigations Officer will maintain accurate records in relation to investigations. The Company will retain all records relating to Whistleblower disclosures in secure storage for a minimum of 7 years unless required otherwise by law.
8.10 The Whistleblower Investigations Officer will provide yearly reports to the Board of the Rivalea Holdings Pty Ltd in relation to disclosures made under this Policy.
8.11 The identity of a Whistleblower who wishes to remain anonymous during or after an investigation will be omitted from all reports relating to the disclosure. This includes all personal information of the Whistleblower, information that may lead to the identification of the Whistleblower or information relating to the Whistleblower witnessing an event.
8.12 Where appropriate, the Whistleblower Investigations Officer or person conducting the investigation will provide feedback to a known Whistleblower, in relation to the outcome or progress of the investigation, subject to the privacy of the person against whom any allegations are made and other confidentiality considerations.
8.13 Where investigations substantiate the allegations arising from the disclosure, the matter will be dealt with in accordance with established administrative or disciplinary procedures.
9 Accessibility of this Policy
9.1 This Policy will be distributed to staff via internal communications and will be accessible on the Company website and intranet.
9.2 The Board of Rivalea Holdings Pty Ltd is responsible for ensuring appropriate training and implementation of this Policy. This includes appropriate training and education for the Whistleblower Investigations Officer and other Eligible Recipients as well as monitoring compliance with this Policy within the Company.
10 CONSISTENCY WITH LAWS AND REGULATIONS
10.1 The Policy shall be read in conjunction with applicable laws and regulations with respect to whistleblowing and in the event that any of the provisions of this Policy are inconsistent or in conflict with any such laws and regulations, such laws and regulations shall prevail to the extent of such inconsistency or conflict.
11. Questions & Support
11.1 Any questions about this Policy or about a potential disclosure, may be directed to the Whistleblower Investigation Officer, the Board of Rivalea Holdings Pty Ltd, or an independent legal adviser.
11.2 The Company provides further support to employees through its’ Employee Assistance Program to assist employees during periods of stress or hardship.
12. Status of Policy / Variation
12.1 This Policy is not contractual in nature and will be reviewed by the Company every two years.