Fact Sheet No. 05/2003 7 May 2003, Australian Industrial Registry

Registration and Accountability of Organisations Legislation Fact Sheet

Records to be kept and lodged by organisations

The Registration and Accountability of Organisations Schedule (Schedule 1 to the Workplace Relations Act 1996) [the RAO Schedule], generally comes into operation on 12 May 2003. The RAO Schedule contains most of the matters previously dealt with in the body of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 [ the Act], which related to the registration and functioning of organisations of employers and employees under the Act. The Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Registration and Accountability of Organisations) (Consequential Provisions) Act 2002 [the RAOCP Act], deals with various transitional provisions arising from the introduction of the RAO Schedule.

Records to be kept by organisations (both employer and employee)

Part 2, Chapter 8 of the RAO Schedule requires an organisation to keep membership records, lists of offices and office holders and other records as prescribed in the RAO Regulations. Copies of such lists and other records must be lodged annually with the Industrial Registry. There is also a requirement for an organisation to inform the Registry if there are changes to any of the records.

These matters were previously dealt with by Part IX, Division 10 of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (the Act).

Under s230 of the RAO Schedule and regulation 147 of the RAO Regulations an organisation must keep and lodge in the Industrial Registry certain records. These matters were previously covered in s268 of the Act.

NEW: Under regulation 147(b), (c), (e) and (f) an organisation must also keep and lodge:

Note: Previously, the requirement to lodge a record of each election that must be held applied to each year commencing 1 April.

Note: Previously, the requirement to lodge the number of members only applied to an organisation of employees and was related to the number of persons who were, on
1 January, both members and employees or independent contractors. The new requirement will apply to an organisation of employers as well as an organisation of employees.

Obligation to lodge information in Industrial Registry

The obligation to lodge a "statutory declaration" signed by the secretary or other prescribed officer to accompany documents required to be lodged annually has been replaced with an obligation to lodge a "declaration" [s233(1)].

Records to be held for 7 years

NEW: An organisation must keep a copy of the register of members as it stood on
31 December in each year for the period of 7 years after the 31 December concerned [s231(1)].

NEW: An organisation must also keep a copy of the register, or a part of the register, as it stood on the day provided for in the rules of the organisation, in accordance with subparagraph 143(1)(e)(i) of the RAO Schedule, as the day on which the roll of voters for a ballot for an election for office is to be closed. The organisation must keep the copy for the period of 7 years after that day. This requirement does not apply if the AEC has determined that a ballot for an election for office is not required [s231(2) and reg. 148].

Access to certain records by person authorised by Registrar

A person authorised by a Registrar may inspect, and make copies of, or take extracts from, the records kept by an organisation [s235]. This power was previously covered in s268(10) of the Act.

NEW: The records which may be inspected and copied include the records required to be kept for 7 years under s231 [s235(1)].

NEW: The records may be made available to the authorised person in a form agreed to by the authorised person [s235(3)].

Delivery of copy of records to Registrar

A Registrar may, in certain circumstances, direct an organisation to deliver to the Registrar a copy of the register of members or part of the register of members kept under section 230 or 231 for a member of the organisation to inspect at a specified registry [s236]. This power was previously covered in s268(12) of the Act.

NEW: The Registrar will have power to request that a copy of the register of members kept for 7 years under s231 be delivered to the Registrar [s236(2)].

NEW: A copy of a record delivered to the Registrar may be in the form of a hard copy or, if the Registrar agrees, in electronic form [s236(4)].

NEW: A Registrar may, if the Registrar considers it appropriate in the circumstances, provide a copy of the document to a member of the organisation [s236(5)].

Providing copy of rules or list of offices etc. on request by member

A member of an organisation may request the organisation, or a branch of the organisation, to provide to the member a copy of the rules of the organisation or branch or a copy of any amendments of the rules made since a specified time. This provision was previously covered in s289 of the Act.

NEW: In addition to the above a member of an organisation will be able to request the organisation for a copy of the list of the offices, or of the persons holding the offices, of an organisation or branch lodged in the Industrial Registry on behalf of the organisation [s347(1)(c)].

NEW: The request must be in writing and must specify a period (of not less than 14 days) within which the relevant copy must be provided [s347(2)].

NEW: An organisation or branch whose rules or list of offices, or of the persons holding the offices, are available on the Internet must inform a member seeking a copy of that fact. However, informing the member of that fact does not affect the organisation's or branch's other obligations under section 347 and the regulations [s347(3)].

Note: The regulations prescribe the manner in which a request under section 347 must be made and the time within which the organisation or branch must respond to the request. Fees may be charged by an organisation or branch for providing a copy of the rules or amendments or a copy of a list of offices to a member [s347(4) and reg. 19].

Right of access to organisation's books

NEW: An officer of an organisation or a branch or a person who has ceased to be an officer of an organisation or a branch during the period of 7 years after ceasing to be an officer may inspect the books of the organisation at all reasonable times for the purposes of a legal proceeding. "Books" includes a register, any other record of information and financial reports or financial records, however compiled, recorded or stored and a document [s280].

Consequential Provisions

The Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Registration and Accountability of Organisations) (Consequential Provisions) Act 2002 deem an organisation's register of members and list of offices and list of office holders kept under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 to be the register of members and list of offices under the relevant provisions of the RAO Schedule [item 42].

The changes to the legislation take effect on 12 May 2003.

This material has been prepared by the Australian Industrial Registry as a general guide to the Workplace Relations (Registration and Accountability of Organisations) legislation. This material should not be treated as advice on the circumstances of any particular case. This material does not have any legal status; the relevant law is set out in Schedule 1 to the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (the RAO Schedule), the RAO Schedule Regulations and the Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Registration and Accountability of Organisations) (Consequential Provisions) Act 2002.

Recurring Obligations To Keep And Lodge Information Under Schedule 1 to the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (RAO Schedule) and the RAO Schedule Regulations

Information

Key Contents

Maintenance of Register of Members

A declaration by the secretary or other prescribed officer certifying that the register of members has, during the immediately preceding calendar year, been kept and maintained as required by s230(1)(a) and (2) [s233(1)(a)]

List of Offices

A list of the offices in the organisation and each branch
(note the definition of "office" and "officer" in s6 and s9) [s230(1)(b)]

List of Office-holders

A list of the names, postal addresses and occupations of the persons holding the offices (note definition of "office" and "officer"
in s6 and s9) [s230(1)(c)]

List of Branches

A record of the name of each branch of the organisation [s230(1)(d) and reg. 147(a)]

New Branches

A record of the name of each branch that commenced operation in the previous 12 months [s230(1)(d) and reg. 147(b)]

Old Branches

A record of the name of each branch that ceased operation in the previous 12 months [s230(1)(d) and reg. 147(c)]

Addresses of Organisation and Branches

A record of the address of the office of the organisation and the office of each branch [s230(1)(d) and reg.147(d)]

Elections in Organisation and Branches

A record of each election that must, under the rules of the organisation, be held during each year commencing 1 January for an office in the organisation and branch of the organisation [s230(1)(d)] and reg. 147(e)]

Statement concerning number of members

A record of the number of members on 31 December in the previous year.

If the organisation has entered into an agreement under s151(1) of the Schedule - a record of the number of members of the organisation who were, on 1 January in that year, ineligible State members in relation to the organisation, within the meaning of s150 of the Schedule

[s230(1)(d)] and reg. 147(f) and (g)]

Please note:

1. A copy of the above records must be lodged in the Industrial Registry, once in each year, at any time during the period of 3 months commencing on 1 January, certified by declaration signed by the secretary or other prescribed officer to be a correct statement of the information contained in that record [s233(1)(b) and [reg 146].

2. In the event of any change to any of the abovementioned records, an organisation must, within 35 days of the change, lodge in the Industrial Registry, a notification of such change certified by declaration signed by the secretary or other prescribed officer of the organisation to be a correct statement of the changes made [s233(2)and reg. 148].

3. The above requirements apply to documents required to be lodged from 1 January 2004.

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