Quickway is committed to upholding proper and ethical business practice, with integrity in all things we do.
We want everyone to be empowered to speak up if they become aware of any unethical or unlawful conduct within our business dealings without being personally disadvantaged from reporting the wrongdoing.
This Whistleblower Policy has been developed to help you understand our approach to Whistleblowing and the expectations we have for all employees at Quickway.
While it is not always clear if an activity is wrong, if you feel that it might be, then we would like to hear from you.
If you would like to discuss or clarify any of the details of this policy, please get in contact with the Managing Director or member of the Board.
The policy is available at induction, on the company website and in the HSEQ management System
STATEMENT OF POLICY
The Whistleblower Policy applies to all directors, officers, and staff of Quickway .
This means that everyone is required to understand and abide by the Policy.
We have this policy in place to:-
- Encourage a culture that supports disclosure of wrongdoing;
- Ensure anyone who discloses suspected wrongdoing can do so with confidence and that their identity will be protected, and they will not experience any disadvantage;
- Ensure disclosures are dealt with appropriately and on a timely basis;
- Provide transparency around the framework for receiving, handling and investigating disclosures;
- Support Quickway’s values and Code of Conduct and long-term sustainability and reputation as a business; and
- Meet our legal and regulatory obligations.
The Policy explains:
- What is a disclosable matter – explaining what can and should be reported;
- Who can make a report that is protected by whistleblower laws (disclosure) and who you can talk with to make a disclosure;
- How to go about making a disclosure;
- What protections are available to a person who makes a disclosure
- How a disclosure is handled and investigated by the company.
- Malicious reporting
WHAT IS A DISCLOSABLE MATTER?
A disclosable matter is information that the discloser (whistleblower) has reasonable grounds to suspect concerns misconduct or an improper state of affairs in relation to Quickway and its operations.
This includes reporting any of the following instances of suspected wrongdoing:
- Illegal conduct such as theft, violence or threatened violence and criminal damage against property;
- Fraud, money laundering or misappropriation of funds;
- Offering or accepting a bribe;
- Financial irregularities;
- Unethical breach of the Code of Conduct;
- Failure to comply with, or breach of, legal or regulatory requirements including the Corporations Act and the Income Tax Assessment Act; and
- Engaging in or threatening to engage in detrimental conduct against a person who has made a disclosure or is believed or suspected to have made, or be planning to make, a disclosure.
Personal work-related grievances (should be reported as per the Grievance procedure), which are matters that concerns the person’s current or former employment with Quickway and have personal implications for that Individual.
Some personal work-related grievances may be covered by the whistleblower protections; for example, if a disclosure about a serious breach of employment or other laws where there is criminal conduct, a disclosure that the person has been threatened with retaliation if they make a disclosure.
WHO CAN MAKE A DISCLOSURE?
A disclosure can be made by a current or former employee, officer, contractor and supplier (including their employees) to Quickway. It can also be made by their spouse, relative or dependant person.
A discloser, or whistleblower should provide as much information as possible about the matter to enable an appropriate investigation of the suspected wrongdoing (for example, people involved, dates, locations and any other material which may be relevant). It may not be possible to conduct any investigation if there is insufficient information about the matter
WHO CAN RECEIVE A DISCLOSURE?
Disclosures that qualify for protection can be received via the following options:
- Recommended Contacts
- Direct with the Managing Director or member of the Board
- Through the link on the Quickway Website which is a confidential link to management
- Other Contacts
- Legal Practitioner
- The General Manager or the staff of the Fair Work Commission
- The ABCC Commissioner, their Deputy or an inspector of the ABCC
- The staff of the Fair Work Ombudsman
- Australian Tax office
In limited circumstances, a “public interest” or “emergency” report can be made to a Member of Parliament or certain professional journalists and receive the Whistleblower Protections. Certain steps need to be taken before a “public interest” or “emergency” report can be made to one of these people and it is important that you understand these. For example, you must have previously made a disclosure to ASIC, APRA or another prescribed body before you can make a “public interest” or “emergency” disclosure and, in the case of a “public interest” disclosure, at least 90 days has passed since any such previous disclosure was made by you. If you are considering making a “public interest” or “emergency” report, it is recommended that you obtain legal advice prior to doing so.
PROTECTIONS AVAILABLE TO THE DISCLOSER
The protections available to disclosers who qualify for protection as a whistleblower, including protections under the Corporations Act are:
- Identity protection (confidentiality); and
- Protection from detrimental acts or omissions.
Additional protections that may also be available in certain circumstances, include:
- protection from legal action for reporting a concern;
- information provided may be inadmissible as evidence in legal proceedings against the discloser (unless they have provided false information); and
- the discloser may be entitled to compensation or another remedy in certain circumstances.
Protections apply to not only internal disclosures but to those made to legal practitioners, regulatory and other external bodies.
*Detrimental acts include, but are not limited to, the following conduct:
- Dismissal of an employee;
- Injury of an employee in his or her employment;
- Harassment, intimidation, discrimination, harm or injury to a person; and
- Damage to a person’s property, reputation, business or financial position.
Acts that are not detrimental conduct include:
- Action for the purpose of protecting a discloser from detriment (relocation to another office, area, etc. to prevent them from detriment); and
- Managing a discloser’s unsatisfactory work performance, if the action is in line with the performance management framework.
Quickway will provide protections and measures so that a person making a disclosure may do so confidentially, without fear of intimidation, disadvantage or reprisal.
Disclosures made anonymously are protected under Australian whistleblower laws.
A discloser can still qualify for protection under this Policy if their disclosure turns out to be incorrect.
Quickway has put in place processes for assessing risks of detriment against a discloser and other persons as soon as possible after receiving a disclosure. Support will be provided through its Employee Assistance Programme.
Protections do not grant immunity for any misconduct a discloser has engaged in that is revealed in their disclosure.
HANDLING AND INVESTIGATION OF A DISCLOSURE
All disclosures will be handled and investigated by personnel who will ensure the discloser’s confidentiality is protected.
Quickway also ensures the fair treatment of employees who are mentioned in a disclosure that qualifies for protection, including those who are the subject of the disclosure. Employees will also have the opportunity to be informed about allegations made against them during an investigation, and to respond.
The following outlines the steps relating to the handling and investigation of a disclosure
STEP 1 – NOTIFICATION OF THE DISCLOSURE:
Notification of the disclosure is received by the Managing Director for a confidential investigation.
The discloser’s identity will not be shared with any other person without the discloser’s consent, or where the concern is to be reported to an external body. However, it may be reasonably necessary, in order to investigate the matter, to disclose information to another person which could lead to the identification of the discloser. In such circumstances, reasonable steps will be taken to reduce the risk that the discloser will be identified in connection with the confidential investigation.
The Managing Director determines:-
- the type of confidential investigation that is appropriate and timeframe for completion.
- whether the disclosure is required to be reported to any external bodies and the required mechanisms and timeframes.
- whether different work arrangements may need to be established for the discloser during the investigation to ensure they are provided with safe and appropriate work arrangements during the investigation process;
Subject to relevant confidentially requirements, an explanation will be provided to the discloser and any employee mentioned in the disclosure about how and when Quickway will:
- communicate with them during the investigation;
- communicate with them about the findings from the investigation; and
- conduct or cause the conduct of an unbiased and timely investigation of the allegations that are raised.
STEP 2 – INVESTIGATION AND DOCUMENTATION
The Managing Director will then conduct the investigation within the required timeframe and with all records relating to the disclosure and investigation stored and accessed only by authorised persons or external agencies Quickway may deem appropriate, or as required by law.
An investigation resolution may be made to which the disclosure is:
- fully or partly substantiated, or
- not substantiated (or only in part)
- It may not be possible to complete the investigation, or to make a clear determination about the disclosure, if there is insufficient evidence (for example if the investigator is not able to contact an anonymous discloser).
SUPPORT FOR DISCLOSERS
In addition to the protection rights of the discloser, Quickway offers an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) delivered by Converge International to provide counselling and support.
There is no need for referral or authorisation to access this service and you can feel comfortable using the EAP to confidentially discuss any work or personal issues.
The EAP is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week over the phone on 1300 687 327
The effectiveness of this Policy rests on the good faith and high ethical standards from all stakeholders. Any disclosure must be made in good faith.
Unsubstantiated allegations which are found to have been made maliciously, or knowingly to be false will be viewed seriously and may be subject to disciplinary action.