Whistleblower Policy

1. Introduction

The Archdiocese of Melbourne through its financial activity known as the Catholic Development Fund (ABN: 15274 943 760), the CDF Community Fund (ABN 94 380 397 118), and CDFCF AFSL Ltd (ABN: 49 6229 767 47)(collectively known as “CDF”) seeks to provide the best possible service to its customers by providing account holders with an opportunity to invest in a fund that will be used to support the mission of the Church by providing low cost funding for Catholic capital building projects in Parishes, Parish Primary Schools, Catholic Colleges, Religious Orders, Diocesan Agencies, Catholic Church organisations, and in Health and Aged Care.

In addition, CDFCF AFSL Ltd as a holder of an Australian Financial Services Licence is responsible for ensuring that it complies, on an ongoing basis, with its obligations as a licensee (and for taking reasonable steps to ensure that its representatives comply with the financial services laws). This Policy describes CDF’s approach to addressing the requirements of the Corporations Act 2001 as amended (the Act).

2. Application of this Policy to CDF

The Act applies to CDFCF AFSL Ltd. Catholic Development Fund and the CDF Community Fund have determined that, except where specifically indicated in this Policy as only applying to CDFCF AFSL Limited, they will voluntarily apply the requirements of the Act.

3. Purpose of Policy

CDF encourages a culture of raising concerns. CDF is committed to ensuring that any concerns can be raised in a safe and secure manner. The purpose of the Policy is to:

  •  Ensure persons who disclose wrongdoing can do so safely, securely and with confidence that they will be protected and supported
  • Ensure disclosures are dealt with appropriately and on a timely basis
  • Provide transparency around the organisation’s framework for receiving, handling and investigating disclosures
  • Encourage disclosures of wrong doing
  • Help deter wrongdoing

A person (Discloser) is a Whistleblower under this Policy and entitled to the protections in this Policy if they meet the criteria set out below.

A disclosure is a report of information made in the way set out in this Policy.

This Policy sets out:

  • Who may make a disclosure
  • The type of information that can be disclosed to qualify for Whistleblower protections under this Policy
  • How to make a disclosure
  • The steps that CDF will take when a person makes a disclosure
  • The protections available to Whistleblowers

4. Who may make a disclosure

A person making a disclosure (“you”) may be any of:

  • An officer or employee (including contractors, consultants’ temporary staff, interns, directors, Board Members) of CDF;
  • A supplier of services or goods to CDF
  • An associate of CDF, or
  • A relative, dependant or spouse of any of those people.

5. How to make a disclosure

If you have any questions about this policy prior to making any disclosure, you can ask any of the Recipients listed below, in confidence, about the process for making a disclosure.

You may choose to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym when making a disclosure.

However, we may not be able to undertake a proper investigation if we cannot contact you to obtain further information. We therefore recommend that if you wish to remain anonymous you provide an anonymous email address, to allow ongoing two-way communication.

Persons to whom disclosure can be made:
To qualify for Whistleblower protection, disclosure must be made to any one of the following Recipients:

Internal Recipients

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • General Manager Finance, Risk & Administration
  • General Manager, Client Services
  • Executive Manager, Risk & Compliance
  • Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee
  • Executive Director Stewardship, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
  • CDF’s Internal Auditor, RSM.

External Recipients

  • a legal practitioner for legal advice or legal representation in relation to the whistleblower provisions in the Act,
  • Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)
  • Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA)
  • another Commonwealth Body prescribed by regulation made under the Act

Appendix B contains their contact details.

A disclosure can be made by talking to one of these people, or in writing. You may make the disclosure outside business hours if necessary.

CDF encourages staff to make disclosures internally in the first instance.

Public Interest Disclosure and Emergency Disclosure
In respect of CDFCF AFSL Ltd only, disclosures can be made to a journalist or parliamentarian where:

  • at least 90 days have passed since a disclosure was made to ASIC, APRA or other Commonwealth body (the Regulator)
  • you do not have reasonable grounds to believe that action is being taken or has been taken in relation to their disclosure
  • you have reasonable grounds to believe that making a further disclosure of information is in the public interest, and
  • before making the Public Interest Disclosure, you have given written notice to the Regulator that includes sufficient information to identify the previous disclosure, and that states you intend to make a Public Interest Disclosure.

In respect of CDFCF AFSL Ltd only an Emergency Disclosure may be made to a journalist or parliamentarian, where

  • you have previously made a Disclosure to the Regulator and the Whistleblower has reasonable grounds to believe that the information concerns a substantial and imminent danger to the health or safety of one or more persons or the natural environment; and
  • before making the Emergency Disclosure, you have given written notice to the Regulator that includes sufficient information to identify the previous disclosure, states the Whistleblower intends to make an Emergency Disclosure, and discloses no more than is necessary to inform the journalist or parliamentarian of the substantial or imminent danger.

6. What type of information does this Policy apply to?

This Policy applies to disclosures of information where you have reasonable grounds to suspect:

  • concerns of misconduct, or an improper state of affairs or circumstances in CDF, or
  • CDF has engaged in conduct that constitutes an offence against, or a contravention of, a provision of the following:
    • the Corporations Act
    • The Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001
    • The Banking Act 1959
    • The Financial Sector (Collection of Data Act 2001)
    • The Insurance Act 1973
    • Life Insurance Act 1973
    • National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009
    • The Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993
    • An instrument made under an Act referred to above
  • conduct has occurred that constitutes an offence against any other law of the Commonwealth that is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 12 months or more.
  • there is a danger to the public or the financial system or
  • you suspect that the information indicates a significant risk to public safety or the stability of, or confidence in, the financial system, even if it does not involve a breach of a law.

Examples of disclosures include dishonest or unethical behaviour and practices, conduct that causes harm or conduct which does not met the expectations in the CDF Code of Conduct, such as:

  • Theft, fraud, money laundering or misappropriation of funds
  • Offering or accepting a bribe
  • Financial irregularities, or
  • Failure to comply with, or breach of legal or regulatory requirements.

As long as you have a reasonable belief that wrongdoing has occurred you will not be penalised if the disclosure turns out to be incorrect.

Disclosures which are not covered by the Policy include disclosures that:

  • relate solely to a personal work-related grievance, which does not relate to any conduct or alleged conduct listed above.
  • relate to safeguarding polies for children and young people – see the Safeguarding Children and Young people’s Policy on the internet site https://melbournecatholic.org/.

7. What CDF does when it receives a disclosure

If the disclosure is made to one of the internal contacts it will be escalated to the Whistleblower Investigation Officer (WIO). The WIO is the person holding the title General Counsel, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. Where contact details for the Whistleblower are provided, the WIO will acknowledge receipt in a reasonable timescale.

The process that will be followed is:

  • The WIO will undertake an assessment to identify if the Disclosure falls within the Policy and whether an investigation is required.
  • If an investigation is required, The WIO will undertake it and engage internal and external assistance where required.
  • Where the disclosure relates to a person of Seniority of General Manger or above it will be directed immediately to the Chair of the Audit & Risk Management Committee or the Chair of the relevant CDF Board and will be investigated by an Independent investigator.
  • If an investigation is required, the Investigator will inform any person who is the subject of the disclosure of the disclosure and ensure there is fair treatment of them, or any other person mentioned in the disclosure.
  • The disclosure and the outcome of any investigations will be presented to the Audit & Risk Management Committee and will be subject to its oversight. Any person who is negatively impacted by the outcome will be provided with a copy of the investigation report with their name redacted.

8. Protections for Whistleblowers

CDFCF AFSL Ltd has a legal obligation to ensure legal protections are in place for Whistleblowers. Except where stated below, the CDF Board has agreed to extend these protections across the CDF organisation.

In summary:

CDF will keep your identity and information that is likely to lead to your identification confidential and will not disclose it to any person except:

  • ASIC or APRA
  • The Police
  • A legal practitioner to obtain legal advice
  • A person prescribed by law as a person to whom disclosure can be made; or
  • Where you have provided consent.

CDF makes all reasonable efforts to ensure records relating to Disclosures are kept secure. This includes secure storage of confidential information and restricted access regarding disclosures.

If you are concerned that there has been a breach of confidentiality, you may lodge a complaint with CDF or a Regulator for investigation.

Detrimental acts or omissions
CDF will take all reasonable efforts to protect you from detriment in relation to a Disclosure. This includes protections regarding any threat to cause detriment to you in relation to the disclosure. Examples of detriment may include termination of your employment, alteration of your employment position to your disadvantage, bullying or harassment.

The WIO will work with you to ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to protect you and assist your wellbeing.

Regarding CDF AFSL Ltd only:

(a) Compensation and other remedies
As a Whistleblower qualifying for protection under this Policy and the Act you can seek compensation and other remedies through the courts in relation to any Disclosure relating to CDFCF AFSL Ltd, if:

  • you suffer loss, damage or injury because of a disclosure, and
  • the entity failed to prevent a person from causing detriment

You may wish to seek your own legal advice regarding compensation.

(b) Civil, criminal and administrative liability protection
A Whistleblower qualifying for protection under this Policy and the Act regarding CDF AFSL Ltd is protected from the following:

  • Civil liability
  • Criminal liability, and
  • Administrative liability

in respect of the disclosure made by the Whistleblower.

The above protections do not grant immunity for any misconduct undertaken by the Whistleblower which is revealed in their Disclosure.

9. Ownership of the Whistleblower Policy

The Policy is owned by the General Manager Finance, Risk & Administration (GM FRA), who is responsible for compliance assurance, communication and maintenance issues, including:

  • communication of this Policy both internally and externally to those persons in scope of the Policy;
  • implementation of this Policy in work practices;
  • recommendation and facilitation of amendments to this Policy, following Catholic Development Fund and CDFCF AFSL Ltd Board approval; and
  • legal updates and amendments as required.

10. Policy review

The GM FRA reviews the Policy at least every two years and more frequently if necessary.

The review will consider any changes to relevant laws, Australian standards for compliance, market and business conditions, the CDF’s procedures and systems and the Fund’s organisational structure.

11. Review of Whistleblower arrangements

The GM FRA will assess the CDF’s adherence to the provisions of the Whistleblower Policy at least every five years and provide a report to the Audit & Risk Management Committee (A&RMC).

12. Policy adoption

This Policy was adopted by the CDF Board on 11 December 2020 and the CDFCF AFSL Ltd Board on 27 November 2020.

13. Access to the Policy

This Policy has unrestricted internal and public access. The approved Policy is available on the CDF and CDF Community Fund websites, along with the staff intranet site.

14. CDF Whistleblower Disclosures – Contact Details

An eligible Whistleblower can make a Disclosure under the CDF Whistleblower Policy:

Internal Recipients:

  • Matthew Cassin – Chief Executive Officer (tel. 03 9926 2253)
  • Ward Italiano – General Manager, Finance Risk & Administration (tel. 03 9929 2257)
  • Brendan Hoy – General Manager, Client Services (tel. 03 9926 2220)
  • Luke Papacostas – Executive Manager, Risk & Compliance (tel. 03 9926 2201)
  • Charles Griss – Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee

Disclosures can also be made to the above recipients in person during standard business hours at 486 Albert Street, East Melbourne 3002,
or by mail to PO Box 174, East Melbourne VIC 8002.

Independent Recipient:

  • Jayesh Kapitan – Partner, RSM Australia (tel. 03 9286 8000 / PO Box 248, Collins Street West VIC 8007)

Whistleblower Investigations Officer:

  • Jacinta Ellis – General Counsel, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (tel. 03 9926 5759)