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FACT SHEET

Financial accountability obligations for industrial organisations under the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (IR Act)

Please note: this fact sheet is intended to be used as a guide and should be read in-conjunction with the IR Act.

Key terms used in the fact sheet as defined in the IR Act:

File means to file a document with the registrar (section 409);
Management Office means an office of the organisation mentioned in secton 412(a) or (b) (section 530C);
Officer of an organisation, branch or applicant for registration means a person who holds an office in the organisation or branch or in the applicant association or corporation (section 409);
Office, for an organisation, branch or applicant for registration, see section 412 (section 409);
Organisation means a body registered under this chapter as an organisation or an association of employers or employees, the continuity of whose registration as an industrial organisation or union under an Act is continued or preserved by the IR Act (section 409);
Published, on a website means, made accessible in full to the public on the website (section 655A). If an organisation does not have a website, the information needs to be provided to the registrar who will publish the information on the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) website.

Officers duties
Finances and Accountability
Investigations by registrar
Political party affiliations must be stated in political advertising
Complaints, investigations and appointment of administrator

 1.   Officers duties (Ch 12, Pt 9, Div 3)

The provisions previously applied under the heading ‘Officers with financial management duties’ have been amended to ‘Officers’ duties’. The provisions apply to officers who perform or exercise the powers associated with the role of officer of an organisation (section 526)

Increased penalties

Officers who, in the performance of the officers’ functions or the exercise of the officers’ powers,  fail in their duty to act honestly, without reasonable care or disclose material personal interests will face higher penalties including the potential for terms of imprisonment.

Register of material personal interest disclosures (Ch 12, Pt 9, Div 4)

If an officer has made a material personal interest disclosure under section 529 to the management committee, the organisation must keep a register of the disclosure notice for 7 years. The register must include the following information:

The register may be inspected for free, during business hours by the registrar, a member of the organisation’s management committee or another person permitted by law to inspect the register (e.g. industrial inspector) (section 530A).

Statement of interests of officers holding management offices (Ch 12, Pt 9, Div 5)

Officers who hold management offices, must file a statement of interest held by the officer or the officer’s spouse within 1 month or being elected or appointed to the management office (section 530D).

The statement of interest is not required to include any of the following information:

A person holds an interest if it is held alone, jointly or in common with another person.

An officer must file updated particulars one month after the officer becomes aware that statement of interest (including those of the officer’s spouse) is inaccurate (section 530E).

Officers are exempt from sections 530D and 530E if the officer files with the Industrial Registry a written notice of the officer's obligation to provide information of their interests under another Act or law and that information is published to the public (section 530F).

To view checklist for the Statement of Interest of Officers Holding Management Offices CLICK HERE

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2.   Finances and Accountability (Ch 12, Pt 12)

The IR Act provides for the internal governance of organisations in order to make officers more accountable for their financial management decisions:

a)      Financial policies and training (Ch 12, Pt 12, Div 1A)

Financial Policies

Organisations must develop and maintain policies on the following, some of which have further particulars which must be included in the policy prescribed in the regulations (section 553A):

Financial training

Officers with financial management duties are to undertake financial training approved by the registrar (section 553B). The training must be completed:

An organisation, peak council or another person or entity with the skills and expertise to provide training, such as a peak body for a particular industry or a recognised education provider, may provide training. The registrar must approve this training. Organisations are to contact the registrar to obtain approval for the requisite training.

Financial management training approved by the Registrar.

b)      Financial registers (Ch 12, Pt 12, Div 2A)

Organisations are required to maintain financial registers which must be published on the organisation’s website for a period of 2 years:

Register of gifts, hospitality and other benefits given and received (section 557A)

Organisations must keep a written register for each financial year detailing each benefit given or received with a combined or individual value over $500. Benefit includes gifts, hospitality and financial or non-financial benefits such as sponsored hospitality, travel and accommodation.

The register must include the following information:

Officers or employees of the organisation who receive a gift(s) valued over $500 in their official capacity are required to notify the organisation within 30 days of receiving the gift(s). Gifts to spouses, family members or friends do not need to be reported provided there is no perceived or real conflict of interest, financial or otherwise, relating to the gift.

Register of political spending (section 557B)

Organisations must keep a written register for each financial year outlining each occasion the organisation spends more than $10,000 in the year for the same political purposes for the same political object.

Political purpose and political object are defined in sections 551 and 552A.

The register must include the following information:

Register of credit card and cab charge account spending (section 557C & D)

Employee organisations must keep a written register of credit card and cab charge account spending starting from 1 July 2012 and each subsequent financial year. This includes personal credit cards used by officers or employees of the organisation for transactions related to the organisation’s business.

The register must include the following information that is due one month from commencement of Part 2 of the Amendment Act:

For a credit card:

For a cab charge:

The register does not need to include the following information:

Register of loans, grants and donations (section 557E)

Organisations must keep a written register for each financial year setting out each occasion the organisation makes a loan, gives a grant or donation to an entity (i.e. payment) of more than $1,000 in the financial year. Where more than one payment is made to the same entity, if the combined value is over $1,000 that information must be recorded.

The register must include the following information for each payment:

Maintaining financial registers (section 557G)

Organisations must keep financial registers up to date by immediately amending registers to include the particulars of new matters and update the published register as soon as practicable but no later than 5 business days after the amendment is made to the register.

Financial registers must be kept for 7 years (section 557H) and may be inspected by a person free of charge, during the organisation’s business hours.

To view checklist for the Registers CLICK HERE

c)      Financial disclosure statements (Ch 12, Pt 12, Div 2B)

Organisations are required to prepare two sets of financial disclosure statements:

Annual financial disclosure statement

For the first annual financial disclosure statement, organisations whose financial year after the initial year ends on a day other than 1 July 2013, the financial year, for the purpose of the annual financial disclosure statement, includes the period starting on 1 July 2013 and ends on the day before the financial year would otherwise have started (section 557N).

The annual disclosure statement must include the following information:

To view checklist for the Annual Financial Disclosure Statement CLICK HERE

To view checklist for the Annual Financial Disclosure Statement for an organisation with no accounts CLICK HERE

To view checklist for the Annual Financial Disclosure Statement for an organisation that is a corporation and holds an exemption under s 591 of the Act CLICK HERE

Mid-year financial disclosure statement

An organisation must prepare a mid-year financial disclosure statement within 7 months after the start of the organisation’s financial year (section 557W).

The mid-year financial disclosure statement must cover the first 6 months of the financial year and include the following information for each officer expected to be the highest paid officer for the year:

For organisations whose financial year starts on a day other than 1 July, for this section, the financial year includes the period starting on 1 July 2013 and ends on the day before the organisation’s own financial year would have otherwise have started.

The mid-financial year disclosure statement must be published within the required period as prescribed. The prescribed period for compliance is as soon as practicable but no later than 5 business days after the period for which the mid-financial year disclosure is supposed to be prepared by. Once published it continues to be published for 2 years (section 557X).

To view checklist for the Mid Year Financial Disclosure Statement CLICK HERE

General information concerning financial disclosure statements

3.   Investigations by registrar (Ch 12, Pt 12, Div 5, Sdiv 2)

The IR Act stipulates when the registrar must investigate whether an organisation has complied with Part 12 (Accounts and Audit) of the IR Act (section 571):

The registrar has the power to obtain information from current or former auditors, employees or officers of the organisation (section 572).

The registrar also has the power to obtain information from third parties who are not current or former auditors, employees or officers of the organisation (section 572A).

The registrar must report the results of the investigation to the chief executive. The report must include if the registrar reasonably suspects the organisation, its employee(s) or officer(s) of committing an offence against an Act or law of another State or Commonwealth and make a recommendation whether the matter should be referred to another law enforcement agency (section 574A).

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4.   Political party affiliations must be stated in political advertising (Ch 12, Pt 12A)

Organisations with political party affiliations must state these affiliations on political advertising (section 579A and 579B).

5.   Complaints, investigations and appointment of administrator (Ch 12, 15A)

The IR Act includes provisions relating to making complaints, conducting investigations and appointing an administrator to an organisation.

A person may make a written complaint to the chief executive about an organisation if the person believes the organisation has ceased to function effectively (section 636A).

Provisions in the IR Act set out the options available to the chief executive when dealing with a written complaint (section 636C). This includes any or all of the following:

Organisations will be notified if the chief executive decides to take action by referring the matter for investigation to the industrial inspectorate, the registrar, a law enforcement agency or notifies the Minister (section 636D). In addition, organisations will be invited to make a written representation about the complaint.

The IR Act also provides the Minister to direct the chief executive to refer a complaint for investigation to an industrial inspector (section 636E).

Industrial inspectors charged with investigating an organisation must provide the chief executive with a written report on the findings of the investigation (section 636K).

The investigation report may recommend that an auditor is appointed to examine the financial records of the organisation (section 636L). These audit costs would be borne by the State (section 636N).

The chief executive may appoint an administrator if reasonably satisfied, based on the investigation or audit complaint report that the organisation has ceased to function effectively, and there is no effective means under the rules of the organisation for the organisation to function effectively (section 636O).

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Last updated June 11, 2013