Fact Sheet No. 10/2003 7 May 2003, Australian Industrial Registry

Registration and Accountability of Organisations Legislation Fact Sheet

Auditors

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.

Application

Division 4 of Chapter 8, Part 3 of the RAO Schedule makes provision in respect of the requirement to have an auditor (s256(1)) for each reporting unit of an organisation in relation to a financial year of the organisation that commences on or after commencement of the reporting guidelines (item 47(1) of RAOCP Act). The meaning of "reporting unit" is provided by section 242 and discussed in Registry Fact Sheet No. 06/2003 Accounting, Auditing and Reporting Obligations at http://www.airc.gov.au/fact_sheets/06_fact_sheet.htm.

The corresponding obligations set out in Part IX, Division 11 of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 continue to apply to an organisation or a branch of an organisation in relation to a financial year that had started, but had not ended, before commencement of the reporting guidelines (item 47(1) of the RAOCP Act).

Who may hold the position of an auditor?

The position of auditor of a reporting unit is to be held by:

An approved auditor is a person who is a member of CPA Australia, the National Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia or the National Institute of Accountants and holds a current Public Practice Certificate (Reg 4).

In relation to a reporting unit that has been issued with a certificate under subsection 270(1) of the RAO Schedule, a person who is a member of the above bodies but does not hold a current Public Practice Certificate may be approved by the Industrial Registrar.

Who may accept appointment as an auditor?

A person must not accept (nor retain) appointment as auditor unless:

A member of a firm must not accept (nor retain) appointment of the firm as auditor of a reporting unit unless:

An excluded auditor is a person who is:

Powers and duties of auditors

An auditor is entitled:

An auditor must, in his or her report,

(a) the Australian Accounting Standards;

(b) any other requirements imposed by this Part.

If not of that opinion, the auditor's report must say why.

The form and content of the auditor's report must be in accordance with the Australian Auditing Standards.

Notices of meeting of the reporting unit.

An auditor must receive any notice of, and any other communication relating to, a meeting of the reporting unit, or the committee of management of the reporting unit, at which the report of the auditor, or any general purpose financial report to which the report relates, are to be presented.

An auditor is entitled to attend, and be heard at, any part of a meeting of a reporting unit, or the committee of management of a reporting unit, at which:

Auditors to enjoy qualified privilege

An auditor is not, in the absence of malice, liable to an action for defamation at the suit of a person in relation to a statement that the auditor makes in the course of duties as auditor, whether the statement is made orally or in writing.

Fees and expenses of Auditors

A reporting unit must pay the reasonable fees and expenses of an auditor of the reporting unit.

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, the reporting guidelines of the Industrial Registrar issued under s255 of the RAO Schedule and the Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Registration and Accountability of Organisations) (Consequential Provisions) Act 2002.

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