This policy outlines:
LRE wants to hear from you if:
This policy available to LRE's officers and employees via the company intranet. Eligible whistleblowers who are not officers or employees (see part 2) can access this policy via LRE's website https://www.littlerealestate.com.au/.
LRE may vary this policy from time to time. It is not (and is not intended to be) contractual in nature, but you may need to comply with this policy as an employee or contractor of LRE if you want to secure the protections that LRE may make available to you.
It may be appropriate for LRE to depart from this policy where warranted in serious circumstances (such as, if there is a risk to a person's life or safety). You agree to adopt the policy as in place at the time of a protected disclosure.
You are eligible to make a whistleblowing disclosure under the Corps Act if you are:
You are also eligible to make a whistleblowing disclosure under the Corps Act if you were any person in the list set out above, but are no longer in that role.
You may make a 'whistleblowing disclosure' under the Corps Act if, subject to part 3.2:
Consider the following examples. Subject to part 3.2, you might be able make a whistleblowing disclosure under the Corps Act if:
o the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001;
o the Banking Act 1959;
o the Corporations Act 2001;
o the Financial Sector (Collection of Data) Act 2001;
o the Insurance Act 1995;
o the Life Insurance Act 1995;
o the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009; or
o the Superannuation Industry (Supervision Act) 1993;
A 'personal work-related grievance' is a complaint or dispute to do with your employment (or previous employment) with LRE, which has implications for you personally. For example, a personal work-related grievance may include:
Unless the following exception applies, these sorts or personal work-related grievances will not amount to a whistleblowing disclosure and will not attract any protection.
A personal work-related grievance is not a whistleblowing disclosure, and cannot give you whistleblower protection, unless:
o Any conduct (or alleged conduct) referred to in part 3.1 (above); or
o Any victimisation or threatened victimisation of you, as outlined in part 6.3 below.
Our Grievance Policy may be the most helpful first port of call if you have a personal work-related grievance. You can contact a member of the HR Team to discuss that policy and any personal work-related grievance you may have.
If your complaint or dispute has implications for you personally or your employment, you should not expect LRE to give you whistleblower protection unless your complaint or dispute concerns victimisation or other relevant conduct and has significant implications for LRE that do not relate to you. LRE will still want to hear from you about your complaint or dispute, but it will not treat it as a protected whistleblower disclosure.
On the other hand, if you have a work-related grievance which is a whistleblowing disclosure because it satisfies the exception in part 3.2, this policy may help you.
You can make a whistleblowing disclosure under the Corps Act by contacting any of the following Contact Officers:
An officer or senior manager at LRE (or a related body corporate), and if you choose to make a whistleblowing disclosure to a LRE officer or senior manager, please contact:
Name: Andy Gooden (CEO)
Telephone: 03 8809 5540
Email: [email protected]
Name: Rebecca Kerr (CFO)
Telephone: 03 9514 8885
Email: [email protected]
LRE's auditor (or a member of the audit team) or actuary, and if you choose to make a whistleblowing disclosure to LRE's auditor (or a member of the audit team) or actuary, please contact:
Name: Billy Chan
Organisation: RSM Australia Pty Ltd
Telephone: 03 9286 8261
Email: [email protected]
You can make a whistleblowing disclosure to any Contact Officer in person, by post, by telephone or by email (using their details above). You should ensure that any email or correspondence that you send to a Contact Officer is marked Strictly Confidential. In the event that a disclosure is made to the auditor they may refer the matter to the investigator or the person in the role of Little Group General Manager - Operations and Finance.
Please copy your confidential email to one of the Contact Officers identified in part 4.1 and tell us it's a whistleblowing disclosure.
You are not obliged to make a whistleblowing disclosure to any particular Contact Officer within LRE and you are not obliged to raise it in any particular way.
However you choose to make a whistleblowing disclosure, if you intend to make a whistleblowing disclosure we ask that you please:
I am seeking to make a whistleblowing disclosure.
While it might seem obvious, these simple steps will to help LRE to:
Of course, you should not make a whistleblowing disclosure to a Contact Officer if your allegations involve that person. In that case, please contact a different Contact Officer.
If you do not want to contact LRE, you can contact the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) or the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to make a whistleblowing disclosure, and you should refer to their policy about how the disclosure will be managed.
Public interest and emergency disclosures (for example to a Member of Parliament or journalist) may not be protected unless made in the specific circumstances set out in the legislation.
A whistleblower may disclose the information to a legal practitioner for the purpose of obtaining legal advice/representation in relation to the operation of the legislation.
You can make a whistleblowing disclosure to LRE (or a related body corporate) anonymously or through a pseudonym.
You should be aware however that if you choose to remain anonymous, that might make it more difficult for LRE to:
If you choose to identify yourself, the Contact Officer is generally required to keep your identity confidential (see point 6.1 below).
If you make a whistleblowing disclosure, we would like you to please provide reasonable details to assist the Contact Officer to determine the best course of action. Reasonable details might include:
Please state expressly whether you give the Contact Officer permission to disclose your identity to the investigator, so the investigator can contact you to obtain further information if required.
The Executive General Manager – HR & Operational Excellence (Investigator) will conduct a preliminary assessment, to determine whether your disclosure requires further investigation.
If you have identified yourself to the Contact Officer and given the Contact Officer permission to disclose your identity to the investigator, then the investigator may contact you to obtain further information. If your whistleblowing disclosure concerns the investigator, LRE's Manager – Operational Risk and Compliance will carry out this assessment.
If you have not identified yourself to the Contact Officer or have not given permission to disclose your identity, the Contact Officer will undertake a preliminary assessment.
LRE may carry out an investigation, and may appoint an external or internal investigator to carry out any investigation.
However, LRE will not carry out an investigation unless:
If LRE decides to conduct an investigation, the investigator it appoints will determine whether the information in the disclosure is proven on the balance of probabilities (i.e. it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct has occurred).
A formal investigation might involve third parties such as lawyers, accountants, consultants or specialist forensic investigators. Relevant evidence will be collected, which may include interviewing witnesses and gathering documents. LRE may ask for your consent for the appointed investigator to contact you in order to gather relevant information.
Options for outcomes
If the whistleblowing disclosures are proven, the investigator will report the outcome of the investigation to the appropriate decision-maker for further action (subject to any concerns about revealing your identity). Where appropriate, the whistleblower will be advised of the outcome.
If the whistleblowing disclosures are not proven, but there is evidence of other inappropriate conduct, the matter might be referred to the HR Team. For example, if there is evidence of a breach of an employment policy.
If the whistleblowing disclosures are not proven, and there is no evidence of other inappropriate conduct, no further action will be taken and the whistleblower will be advised accordingly, provided that the whistleblowing disclosure was not made anonymously.
If a whistleblower is eligible to be informed about the outcome of the investigation and is not satisfied, the whistleblower can ask the Chief Executive Officer to review the outcome of the investigation. If the whistleblowing disclosure was about Chief Executive Officer, the Little Group General Manager - Operations and Finance or the Little Group Chief Investment Officer may undertake a review.
(a) If you have made a whistleblowing disclosure anonymously
As set out in part 4.4, you can make a whistleblowing disclosure anonymously, but doing so might make it more difficult for LRE to:
It's your decision.
(b) If you have elected to identify yourself
If you have chosen to reveal your identity when making a whistleblowing disclosure, LRE may ask you to consent to LRE disclosing:
(c) If you do not consent
If you choose not to give consent:
o To ASIC, APRA (or to the Commissioner of Taxation (Commissioner) in relation to a tax matter referred to in part 7) or the Australian Federal Police;
o To a legal practitioner to obtain advice; or
o In limited circumstances required by law, for example, where ordered by a Court in legal proceedings;
o They cannot disclose your identity, even to another Contact Officer; and
o They need to keep any notes, records or information about your whistleblowing disclosure secure, in accordance with part 6.2 below;
o LRE considers that the information in question aids its investigation but does not reveal your identity; and
o LRE takes all steps it deems reasonable or helpful to reduce the risk that you will be identified as a result of disclosing that information; and
To maintain their confidentiality, LRE will keep secure all records that are created in the course of an investigation and, once an investigation is complete, HR Team will store all such records securely.
If you have not consented to your identity being revealed (see part 6.1 above): the Contact Officer to whom you made your disclosure will retain LRE's records; and
'Victimisation' is subjecting a person to a detriment as a result of:
For example, it can include harassment or intimidation, termination of employment, injury in employment, physical violence, psychological harm, and/or damage to reputation or property.
Victimisation is strictly prohibited.You should inform a Contact Officer immediately if you feel that you are being subjected to victimisation, or any threat of victimisation, so that LRE can take reasonable steps to investigate and, as appropriate, support and protect you.
Reasonable steps may include taking disciplinary action against another person, up to and including termination of employment, if the person you allege is victimising you is an employee, subject to the need to treat them fairly (see part 6.4 below).
If you raise a concern about someone victimising you and that person is not an employee, LRE will assess, on a case by case basis, the appropriate reasonable steps it may need to take.
Employees mentioned in a whistleblowing disclosure, or to whom a disclosure relates, also need to be treated fairly.
LRE aims not to make any decision about any allegation against any employee without a proper investigation, and to keep confidential their involvement in any investigation or allegation except to the extent necessary to conduct an investigation or implement any outcome.
A whistleblower has additional protections under legislation. To summarise:
o The disclosure is made to ASIC, APRA (or to the Commissioner in relation to a tax matter referred to in part 7); or
o The disclosure is a public interest/emergency disclosure,
then the information is not admissible in criminal proceedings or for the imposition of a penalty against a whistleblower.
For example, a Court may grant an injunction to stop victimisation, require an apology or re-instate a whistleblower who has been victimised by termination of employment.
Note: Some of the protections referred to this policy might not be available to you, to the extent you are found to have been involved in wrongdoing, such as, knowingly giving false information (see part 6.6).
LRE may take disciplinary action against anyone found to have:
Note: If a whistleblower has properly made a disclosure in accordance with the legislation, they are entitled to the protections under the legislation and this policy, even if the allegations are ultimately found not to be proven.
You may make a whistleblowing disclosure under the Tax Act to anyone listed in part 7.2 if:
o Information which indicates misconduct in relation to LRE's tax affairs; or
o Information which indicates an improper state of affairs in relation to LRE's tax affairs; and
If you are eligible to make a protected disclosure under the Corps Act as outlined in part 3.1, then you are also eligible to make a protected disclosure under the Tax Act.
You can make a protected disclosure under the Tax Act to:
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