Running a registered organisation


Registered organisations are membership groups of employers or employees that have been registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (the RO Act). A registered organisation may also be referred to as a union or an employer association.

Rights and responsibilities of registered organisations

Registered organisations must comply with the requirements set out in the following legislation:

The legislation requires that registered organisations also comply with the Financial Reporting Guidelines issued under section 255 of the RO Act, any relevant Australian Accounting Standards or Auditing Standards and their own rules.

Compliance with these requirements by registered organisations is overseen by two bodies – the Registered Organisations Commission and the Fair Work Commission.

The Registered Organisations Commission (the ROC) is responsible for administering the provisions of the RO Act that deal with financial and annual reporting, elections, officer disclosures and investigations into alleged non-compliance with the RO Act.

The Fair Work Commission (the FWC) is responsible for the registration, amalgamation and deregistration of organisations, right of entry permits, workplace health and safety permits and alterations to rules. The FWC is responsible for recognised state-registered associations. For information on a matter overseen by the FWC please visit the FWC's website: link (opens in new window)

Annual returns and notification of changes 

Each year registered organisations need to provide a record of their membership, offices and branches as part of an annual return lodged with the ROC. In addition, certain records need to be updated whenever circumstances change in a registered organisation. To find out more, visit our page on Annual returns and notification of changes.


Every office within a registered organisation and its branches must be elected. There are set processes to follow in order to organise an election. Elections are triggered by notifying the ROC of the election details and, once approved, an election is conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission. To find out more, visit our page on Elections.

Financial reporting and governance

Registered organisations must follow the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009, which has laws in it on financial reporting, training and disclosure. We help registered organisations operate in line with these laws. Find more information about your financial obligations on our Financial reporting page.

Disclosure obligations

Officers, branches and organisations have obligations to disclose particular financial information. This information is sent to members and lodged with the ROC in an Officer and related party disclosure statement. To find out more, visit our Disclosure obligations page

Subscription service

An email subscription service is available. The service will provide information regarding obligations of registered organisations under the relevant legislation. Emails will be sent when changes to these obligations are made, providing general advice and assistance. Emails will be sent when training, seminars, or materials and decisions of interest are made available on the website. Subscribe on our Email updates page.