Working with the Commission


About the Commission

The Commission helps registered organisations to comply with legislative requirements. It also monitors compliance, and where necessary conduct inquiries, investigations and litigation about non-compliance. 

The jurisdiction and powers of the Commission are set out in the: 

  • Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (the RO Act)
  • Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Regulations 2009 (the RO Regulations).

Together, these laws set out the obligations of registered organisations about:

  • financial reporting
  • elections
  • the conduct of officers
  • other matters. 


About registered organisations

The Commission regulates registered organisations. Registered organisations provide support and advice to employers and employees to help them better understand their rights and obligations in the workplace. The Commission also works with their officers, auditors and members.

The Commission's jurisdiction only concerns organisations that are registered under the RO Act: 

  • employee organisations (also known as unions)
  • employer associations
  • an enterprise association, where the majority of members are employees performing work in the same enterprise. 

The Commission maintains a list of the organisations that it regulates. It also publishes compliance documents lodged by registered organisations.


The Commission's approach to compliance

The Commission encourages a culture of good governance in registered organisations, as well as voluntary compliance with the law. It does this by providing education, assistance and advice to organisations, their officers and members.

It monitors compliance through: 

  • assessing lodgements against the legislative requirements
  • proactively engaging with organisations in compliance reviews
  • information received from external sources, including self-reports by registered organisations, whistleblower complaints and referrals from other government agencies.

Most non-compliance issues are resolved quickly following engagement and education. A few matters, however, may become the focus of an inquiry or investigation. 

The purpose of inquiries and investigations is to determine whether:

  • a reporting unit of an organisation has complied with the financial reporting requirements or the organisation’s own rules about its financial activities
  • a civil penalty provision of the RO Act has been breached.

The Commission seeks the voluntary cooperation of organisations during its inquiries and investigations. Working with the Commission can help an organisation resolve any concerns quickly and move closer to best practice.  In an investigation, compulsory information-gathering powers may be used to perform a detailed examination of the facts. 

Following an inquiry or investigation, the General Manager of the Commission will decide whether further enforcement action is appropriate. In a limited number of cases involving serious non-compliance, we will take court action.

You can view the list of current and concluded inquiries, investigations and litigation matters.


How the Commission works with you

The Commission's approach to regulation begins with education. There are many ways the Commission helps organisations maintain high standards of good governance and to comply with the requirements of the legislation.

The Commission strongly recommends that organisations and their officers and registered auditors spend time becoming familiar with the Compliance Calculator. The calculator helps you meet compliance timeframes. 

The RO Flower - our document finder - lets you review our dynamic range of tools and resources.

You can also email compliance questions and concerns to


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Additional resources