Governance and
ethical conduct

Emerging issues and market trends

Open, transparent and ethical disclosures

There is increased investor and analyst scrutiny of company disclosures following the Royal Commission into Australia’s banking sector. Downer supports the increased investor focus on open, transparent and ethical disclosures of all companies listed on the ASX and NZX. We will continue to proactively communicate with shareholders, media and all other interested stakeholders in an open, honest and transparent manner.

COVID-19 employee support

All our workforce has been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another and we are mindful of the impact that the global pandemic is having on the welfare of our people.

Group Zero Harm continues to empower our people with strategies and activities to support their mental health and wellbeing. Online platforms are used to deliver mental health webinars and training as well as promote support services such as Downer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

In addition, Downer established a Hardship Program to provide financial assistance to affected Downer and Spotless employees who experienced severe hardship due to the pandemic. The initial Hardship Program pool consisted mostly of contributions from Senior Executives and Non-executive Directors of Downer.

Organisational culture and sexual harassment

Organisational culture, and in particular sexual harassment in the workplace, has been a highly publicised issue over the past 12 months, following campaigns such as #MeToo and #LetHerSpeak.

Since 2003, the Australian Human Rights Commission has conducted four periodic surveys on the national experience of sexual harassment. The most recent survey was conducted in 2018, with the report published in March 2020.

The report identified that sexual harassment in Australian workplaces is widespread, pervasive and is linked to the culture of an organisation. The report concluded that sexual harassment is not a women’s issue, it is a societal issue which every Australian – and every Australian workplace – must contribute to addressing.

One in three people experienced sexual harassment at work in the past five years. Underpinning this aggregate figure is an equally alarming reflection of the gendered and intersectional nature of workplace sexual harassment. Almost two in five women (39 per cent) and just over one in four men (26 per cent) have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the past five years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely to have experienced workplace sexual harassment than people who are non-Indigenous – 53 per cent and 32 per cent respectively (Australian Human Rights Commission, March 2020).

Downer recognises the importance of an organisational culture that fosters a safe and harassment-free work environment for its people. Downer’s Anti-Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Policy and the Standards of Business Conduct set high expectations for how our Directors, employees and contractors, as well as agents of Downer and its subsidiary companies throughout the world, conduct themselves when representing the company. These policies make it unequivocally clear that unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying is unacceptable and not tolerated in any circumstances.