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Review by the Commissioner

Image of Mark Bielecki, Registered Organisations Commissioner

The Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) was established in May 2017 to help improve the governance and financial transparency of registered organisations. There are currently 107 organisations registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (the RO Act). In 2017, organisations reported that they had over two million members, controlled more than $2.8 billion in total assets and had combined annual revenue in the order of $1.5 billion.

The ROC aims to add value to organisations registered under the RO Act by fostering their efficient management and their accountability to members. We do this by:

  • educating and assisting organisations to achieve compliance
  • promoting effective governance and financial transparency
  • investigating and taking appropriate enforcement action.

The ROC’s outcomes in 2017-18 include:

  • the implementation of a highly collaborative approach with registered organisations promoting compliance and facilitating remedial action when required
  • delivering two face-to-face information sessions to over 200 representatives from over 60 registered organisations
  • the introduction of a quarterly ROC newsletter, which provides compliance tips and updates on statutory and regulatory change
  • the launch of multiple sophisticated compliance tools to assist organisations
  • establishing a helpline to advise on the new corrupting benefits provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009
  • attracting over 800 subscribers to our subscription service
  • embedding the new legislative scheme for the registration of auditors and registering 267 auditors
  • concluding 1446 regulatory matters
  • surpassing all our time-based performance indicators
  • augmenting a coordinated regulatory approach to whistleblower disclosures. We received 86 potentially protected disclosures. During the reporting period, 45 disclosures were allocated to the Commissioner and we finalised 46 disclosures
  • commencing six inquiries and four investigations into organisations, their officers or their auditors
  • concluding six inquiries and three investigations into organisations or their officers
  • progressing 11 referrals made by the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption (TURC) and finalising two referrals
  • progressing three civil litigation proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia transferred from the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and commencing a further two proceedings.

The year ahead

The ROC is committed to adding value to registered organisations by fostering their good governance and financial transparency and their compliance with the RO Act. In 2018-19 we will:

  • continue to engage and collaborate with organisations about enhanced compliance and high standards of accountability to members
  • help organisations to further embed a culture of compliance and increase core organisational skills and capabilities to achieve that
  • launch and implement the ROC Education Strategy, which will set out the major education activities and resources that the ROC will deliver in the year ahead (including their timing)
  • deliver face-to-face information sessions in Darwin, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne
  • encourage democratic control by enabling accountability of office holders to their members through arranging for elections and publication of annual returns of information in a timely manner
  • improve financial compliance by engaging with registered auditors, helping members to understand financial statements and working with organisations to ensure their disclosures meet statutory requirements
  • undertake an audit of governance training by officers of organisations
  • assist organisations to develop internal whistleblower policies and a positive ‘speak-up’ culture
  • monitor the acts and practices of organisations in complying with the provisions of the RO Act
  • undertake inquiries and investigations into suspected contraventions of the RO Act while working collaboratively with organisations to remediate harm and promote effective governance
  • take appropriate and proportionate evidence-based enforcement action.

The ROC assists and regulates organisations through a range of strategies, including education, guidance, collaboration, monitoring, inquiries, investigation and, if required, enforcement action. We look forward to a productive 2018-19.

I would like to acknowledge the hard work of, and thank, everyone at the ROC for their conscientious efforts and contribution to our outcomes over the past year.

Mark Bielecki

Mark Bielecki
Registered Organisations Commissioner