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Media Release 23 August 2018

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Halliday review complete; initiatives and commitments by Sovereign Hill

Former Sex Discrimination Commissioner and workplace cultural assessment expert Susan Halliday has concluded a six-month independent review at Sovereign Hill.

We must say at the outset, specific allegations concerning one employee have been reported in the media. Aspects of this inquiry are the subject of a police investigation, therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment on this, so as not to prejudice that investigation. Importantly, we are also conscious of the need to respect and protect our people who may be involved in that investigation.

Sovereign Hill’s Board and management is firmly focused on the well-being of all employees and volunteersof our great organisation and is concerned about any behaviour that undermines a safe and inclusive working environment.

Ms Halliday has finalized her review, which included speaking to a considerable number of people and reviewing our policies and procedures.

Whilst we cannot comment on the specific allegations that have been reported in the media, those allegations have highlighted to Sovereign Hill the importance of having robust workplace behaviour policies, procedures and training and ensuring that these are clearly understood and applied.

We also acknowledge the importance of a culture that facilitates respectful and unbiased behaviours to all. This includes not only behaviour of our employees, volunteers and contractors towards each other, but also monitoring visitor behavior to ensure that it does not negatively impact on the health and well-being of our staff.

To ensure this, we acknowledge the ongoing need to review our policies and procedures and closely monitor compliance with them and we commit to this occurring on a regular basis.

Sovereign Hill also acknowledges that mental health is an increasingly critical component of OccupationalHealth and Safety in any workplace. We commit to continue to enhance the provision of information, instruction and training to all our staff on this important issue.

Given these acknowledgements, Sovereign Hill, has committed to a number of initiatives including:
• reviewing and, where appropriate, enhancing the Sovereign Hill Charter (incorporating the Code of Conduct) and its policies concerning Equal Opportunity, Anti-discrimination, Harassment and Bullying, Social Media, Investigations, Discipline and Procedure and its Problem Resolution Framework/Grievance Procedure;
• formalising a policy for the management of complaints concerning the behaviour of members of the public; and
• formalising a process that appropriately audits training in Sovereign Hill’s Standard Operating Procedures.

Sovereign Hill will host briefing sessions for managers and supervisors regarding its enhanced policies and any new policies.

In addition to the above policies and procedures, Sovereign Hill is committed to conducting further and updated training on:
• appropriate workplace behaviour for staff and volunteers;
• tailored training for the management of appropriate workplace behaviour; and
• occupational health and safety training.

To ensure Sovereign Hill meets the initiatives and commitments it has made, it will retain and work closely with Ms Halliday who will provide us with the administrative and educative tools to assist us to reach best practice. Ms Halliday’s engagement will include the conduct of tailored training and the review and enhancement of relevant policies and procedures.

Sovereign Hill President Adrian Doyle said work will begin immediately actioning the initiatives and commitments.

The Board and management of Sovereign Hill acknowledges that while our organisation has comprehensive policies and procedures to deal with incidents of workplace harassment and discrimination, we understand and acknowledge that enhancements can be made to assist Sovereign Hill to reach best practice particularly in the way the policies operate and are communicated” Mr Doyle said.

In implementing the initiatives and commitments outlined above, we are sending a clear statement that there is no tolerance of misconduct of any kind at Sovereign Hill.

We have and will continue to enhance our operational procedures to ensure these initiatives and commitments are implemented expeditiously and we will invest in whatever resources are necessary to see that our iconic and award-winning outdoor museum remains an inclusive, supportive and inspiring workplace for our talented employees and volunteers.

We thank Ms Halliday her for her work and support and look forward to working with her moving forward.”

While this period has been difficult at times, it remains a significant and serious step to ensure we operate our tremendous tourism destination with distinction and care for each other moving forward. We are working to ensure we continue to live our values of fairness, respect and integrity every day.”

Sovereign Hill has and will continue to engage with WorkSafe and external consultants to assist it to further enhance its systems and procedures to ensure the ongoing health and safety of its employees, volunteers, contractors and members of the public.


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For further information, please contact:
Genevieve Manley
P: 0438 349 662; marketing@sovereignhill.com.au