Australian Unity Limited is a public company limited by guarantee, with wholly-owned and closely-held subsidiaries carrying out the operational business activities of the Australian Unity Group. Australian Unity Limited is not a company with listed shares — it is a mutual company with more than 300,000 members nationwide.
Our Approach to Corporate Governance
The Australian Unity board supports the ASX Principles of Good Corporate Governance and Good Practice Recommendations and has adopted a governance charter that reflects many of these principles, as relevant to a mutual company and to its ASX-traded Notes.
Australian Unity’s business operations are extensively regulated by APRA (health insurance, friendly society benefit funds, building society and life insurance), ASIC (corporate and financial services) and the ASX (in connection with the Australian Unity Notes) in addition to State regulation (retirement living services) and Commonwealth regulation (aged care) and the ACCC (consumer relations and trade practices). Australian Unity Limited is a registered Non-Operating Holding Company with APRA.
Further details of Australian Unity’s governance framework is set out in the Annual Report.
Australian Unity and its subsidiaries respect the privacy rights of our members, customers and other organisations with whom we deal (“you”). Australian Unity is committed to complying with all applicable privacy laws including the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and National Privacy Principles.
Our Board of Directors - Board Composition and Expertise
As at 1 July 2015, there were seven directors on the Australian Unity Limited board, each with specific expertise and experience relevant to the company’s activities. The board is comprised of a majority of directors who are non-executive and judged by the board to be independent and free of material relationships that might influence their ability to act in the interests of the company and its members.
The personal qualities required of our directors are: honesty and integrity, strategic insight, capacity to relevantly question, probe and challenge, and a commitment to both the values of the company and the highest standards of corporate governance.
Each director must also possess particular skills or experience relevant to the business operations of the company. These may include specific skills, knowledge and experience in insurance, healthcare, retirement living, investment management and financial services, as well as general skills, knowledge and experience in management, legal, financial, accounting, actuarial, regulatory, human resources, marketing and commercial disciplines.
Board Role and Responsibilities
The role of the Australian Unity Limited board is to promote and protect the interests of the company and its members. It does so by strategically directing and soundly governing the company’s activities and by seeking the highest standards of ethical conduct and service from employees.
The roles and responsibilities of the board are formalised in the board charter. Some of the key matters the board has reserved for itself include:
appointment and terms of appointment of the Group Managing Director
approval of Group and business unit strategies
approval of Group and business unit annual operating plans, including capital and operating budgets and the overall salaries and benefits budget
approval of delegated authorities
approval of financial expenditures and allocations and changes to the company’s capital structure above the Group Managing Director’s delegated limits
approval and adoption of annual group accounts
approval of new subsidiaries and subsidiary board members
approval of company policies
approval of matters reserved to the board committees by their terms of reference
- approval of any other matters that, in the opinion of the board, are necessary from time to time to maintain a high standard of corporate governance