Complaints policy

Sunbury Life is bound by the Standards of Practice of the Australian Press Council and LINA

If you believe the Standards may have been breached, you may approach Sunbury Life or make a complaint to the Australian Press Council in writing at The Council may also be contacted on 1800 025 712.

This policy is intended to ensure that we handle complaints fairly, efficiently and effectively. It provides guidance to our staff, and anyone who wishes to make a complaint regarding the quality and delivery of our news service or our content.

As community news publishers, it is our responsibility to abide by a number of requirements for editorial content, including the responsibility to respond to complaints. As such, this policy should be viewed in conjunction with our Editorial Policies. As well as complaints being made directly to our publication, we recognise that some complaints (or at least negative comments) may be made on social media. This policy applies to all distribution channels we use to publish content. However, our content is frequently shared by third parties on social media platforms we have no control over.

Our approach to complaints is modelled on the principles of fairness, accessibility, responsiveness and efficiency. In addition, providing audiences with clear mechanisms for making complaints and quickly acknowledging and rectifying mistakes significantly contributes to audience trust. 

Complaints may also be made to the Australian Press Council (editorial content) or Australian Communications and Media Authority (advertising).

People focus

We are committed to seeking and receiving feedback and complaints about our content and publication.

Any concerns raised in feedback or complaints will be resolved within 28 days.

Individuals making complaints will be:

·      listened to, treated with respect by staff and actively involved in the complaint process where possible and appropriate, and

·      provided with reasons for our decision/s and any options for redress or review.

We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that people making complaints are not adversely affected because a complaint has been made by them or on their behalf.

We accept anonymous complaints if there is a compelling reason to do so and will carry out a confidential investigation of the issues raised where there is enough information provided.

If a person prefers or needs another person or organisation (e.g. advocate, family member, legal or community representative, member of Parliament) to assist or represent them in the making and/ or resolution of their complaint, we will communicate with them through their representative if this is their wish. 

We will protect the identity of people making complaints where this is practical and appropriate.

Personal information that identifies individuals will only be disclosed or used by us as permitted under the relevant privacy laws, secrecy provisions and any relevant confidentiality obligations.

Complaining to us is free.

Objectivity and fairness

We will address each complaint with integrity and in an equitable, objective and unbiased manner.

We will ensure that the person handling a complaint is different from any staff member or journalist whose conduct or content is being complained about.

Complaints involving external parties

Where a complaint involves external parties, we will work with the other party/s where possible to ensure that communication with the person making a complaint and/or their representative is clear and coordinated.

Subject to privacy and confidentiality considerations, communication and information sharing between the parties will also be organised to facilitate a timely response to the complaint.

Managing unreasonable conduct by people making complaints

We are committed to being accessible and responsive to all people who approach us with feedback or complaints. At the same time our success depends on:

·      our ability to do our work and perform our functions in the most effective and efficient way possible

·      the health, safety and security of our staff, and

·      our ability to allocate our resources fairly across all the complaints we receive.

When people behave unreasonably in their dealings with us, their conduct can significantly affect the operation of our publication. As a result, we will take proactive and decisive action to manage any conduct that negatively and unreasonably affects us and will support our staff to do the same in accordance with this policy.

Complaint resolution

Our publication may assess the complaint as requiring no further action (for example, in cases where the complaint may be considered trivial, serial, or vexatious).

While we will consider the basis of all complaints, we may choose not to respond to complaints based solely on disagreement with the subject of a news story. We will respond to concerns about the delivery of our news content (for example, in cases where the complaint highlights inaccuracy, transparency concerns or incorrect image attribution).

Following consideration of the complaint and any investigation into the issues raised, we will contact the person making the complaint and advise them:

·      The remedy or resolution/s that we have agreed upon, if any,  such as a “take-down”, withdrawal, removal, clarification or apology, and

·      The reason/s for our decision.

If the complainant is unsatisfied with the outcome, we will advise of any external review options including the Australian Press Council for editorial complaints or the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) for online advertising complaints.

We will keep records about how the complaint was managed, the outcome and resulting actions of the complaint, and a copy of the original story or social media post if relevant.

You can submit a complaint below.

These guidelines are adapted with thanks from Central Coast News