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Statement from the CEO

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Statement from Sovereign Hill CEO Jeremy Johnson regarding harassment allegations, 7 February 2018.

Sovereign Hill CEO Jeremy Johnson issued the following statement today regarding a police investigation into allegations of harassment at Sovereign Hill.

Any suggestion of workplace harassment of any kind is of great concern to the Board and leadership team of Sovereign Hill. We take seriously our duty of care for employees and aim to instil a culture of respect, integrity and responsibility every day. Indeed our organisational values motivate our professional behaviour between colleagues, visitors, sponsors, suppliers and other stakeholders.

Recent media reports have detailed a set of sexual harassment allegations that Sovereign Hill addressed in 2017 through an independent investigation.

They were serious and disturbing allegations, and it’s why we moved swiftly to initiate the independent investigation that led the organisation to stand down a male employee and take disciplinary action, including the provision of a first and final warning. It has also seen Sovereign Hill commit to ongoing training and counselling of the male employee, as well as counselling and support to the two complainants.

Given the matter is now the subject of a police investigation, we are not in a position to add further detail.

The potential for discrimination and harassment to arise in the workplace is real for any organisation, and at Sovereign Hill, we take the issue extremely seriously.

We have robust policies and procedures in place to deal with and report workplace discrimination of any kind. These policies have been developed in collaboration with relevant authorities and key stakeholders. They include:

• a formal Anti-Discrimination & Harassment Policy that was established in 2003 and has been updated and improved over the years. It encourages employees to raise any issues with external statutory bodies;

• a Staff Code of Conduct which each employee must sign upon commencement, and adhere to during their tenure;

• employee induction training on appropriate workplace behaviour; and

• a regular and comprehensive training program.

We also have processes that allow staff members to escalate immediately any concerns they might have about their workplace, as well as confidential or anonymous feedback procedures both face-to-face with senior managers and online.

Any formal complaints made are always fully and confidentially investigated in accordance with Sovereign Hill’s Investigations Policy, including both internal and external procedures as appropriate.

Above all, our priority is to provide a safe workplace, free of any form harassment, and one that complies fully with all statutory requirements and is in the best interests of our people.

We are cooperating fully with police as they investigate the matter and we support their involvement.If you would like to make contact with Sovereign Hill regarding this matter, please contact: ceoea@sovereignhill.com.au.