Toll in stern rejection of anonymous allegations

By: Rob McKay

Whistleblower policy intervention leaked after spray of assertions

Toll in stern rejection of anonymous allegations
Toll’s whistleblower policy has had a workout


Toll Group has rejected in strong terms mysterious allegations related to its operations and strategy.

The reaction follows the leaking of emails confirming an investigation into the allegations conducted under its whistleblowing code that has since closed.

"These are anonymous, wholly unsubstantiated and completely false allegations," a Toll spokesperson states. 

"However, in line with Toll’s stringent whistleblower policy, all allegations are followed-up and thoroughly examined by an independent third party. 

"None of these anonymous allegations were found to have any substance or truth.

"Should we be able to locate the source of public communications on these false allegations, we will be taking action against the individual or individuals to the full extent of what is possible in law."

Read how Toll is rebounding on the back of strategy change, here

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) reports that the allegations allude to: gilding of the group’s financial position, though to what end is unstated; senior managers’ strategic concerns being ignored; and experienced staff being shown the door.

It names global head of security John Noonan, chairman John Mullen and company audit teams having been involved in the investigation.

Some of the allegations appear to have arguable weight, including that fleet replacement and centralisation aimed at reducing costs had been expensive.

Others relate to contract wins that have garnered negative responses, not least from Linfox executive chairman Peter Fox in a January AFR interview.

Toll was the subject of speculation on very broad lines around the time it won a Coles distribution contract for Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, that ATN was unable to substantiate.

The thrust of that was the possibility Japan Post had decided to cut its losses and sell an enlarged Australian business that it had paid a huge amount for and that had underperformed.

One source with an understanding of the issue insists that the Japanese parent firm had invested a great deal in the company over the past three years and that its record suggests it takes a more long-term view, neither of which chimes with an impending sale.

Toll’s whistleblower support strategy includes a Disclosure Hotline to ensure that all employees and contractors can raise concerns freely and without fear of repercussions.

This is available in multiple countries and languages, by phone or web, anonymously or otherwise.

The Disclosure Hotline is an independent reporting service operated by an external provider.


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