Industrial organisations

The Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld) (the Act) regulates industrial organisations to ensure strong, effective and transparent governance and accountability obligations for state-registered industrial organisations.

The financial reporting and training requirements in the Act are similar to those in Federal legislation regulating industrial organisations. This allows industrial organisations with counterpart federal bodies to better manage administrative arrangements whilst retaining accountability to members.

What are industrial organisations?

The term ‘industrial organisations’ refers both to employee associations (unions) and employer associations.

What are the obligations on industrial organisations?

The Act set out obligations to be met by industrial organisations in relation to:

  • rules – each industrial organisation must have rules which set the organisation’s objectives and how it will function. The rules must be provided to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) on registration
  • elections – to ensure that election processes are transparent and irregularities are avoided. Elections are conducted by the Electoral Commission
  • the conduct of officers – who must act honestly and in good faith and in the best interests of the industrial organisation. Officers must also disclose any material personal interests in matters involving the industrial organisation’s financial management
  • financial reporting – registers must be kept for gifts and hospitality, material personal interests, remuneration, loans, grants and donations
  • other matters including membership and financial management training.

Further information on the regulation of industrial organisations is available in the Act and on the QIRC website.

Ensuring Compliance

The industrial registrar has the authority to investigate breaches of the industrial organisations’ obligations.

Inspectors under the Act may also investigate and monitor industrial organisations’ compliance with records and accounts.

If a member of an industrial organisation believes the industrial organisation has stopped functioning effectively and there are no effective means under the rules by which the industrial organisation can function effectively then a person can make an application to the QIRC. A person may also make an application to the commission if he or she believes the industrial organisation’s rules do not comply with the requirements or if they believe that the industrial organisation is not operating in compliance with the rules of the industrial organisation.

Further information

For specific information contact your employer’s Human Resources or Industrial Relations area or your union.

Queensland Industrial Relations Framework

A comprehensive review of Queensland’s industrial relations laws resulted in the government adopting all 68 of the review’s recommendations which will promote a fair and balanced industrial relations framework. A significant majority of the recommendations will be given effect though the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (the Act). The Act received assent on 9 December 2016 following its successful passage through the Queensland Parliament on 30 November 2016. Most provisions of the Act commenced on 1 March 2017.

The Act provides a framework for the conduct of industrial relations within the State’s industrial relations jurisdiction that is fair and balanced and supports the delivery of high-quality services, economic prosperity and social justice for Queenslanders. The defining features of the State industrial relations system are:

  1. a set of minimum employment conditions and standards
  2. collective bargaining as a cornerstone for setting wages and conditions including good faith bargaining and other consultation
  3. requirements to promote consultation between employers and employees
  4. a set of individual rights to fair treatment
  5. effective, transparent and accountable governance and reporting obligations for all registered industrial organisations and employer associations
  6. the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) as a strong and effective independent umpire.

The Act covers employers and employees to whom the federal Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) does not apply. Generally this means employers and employees of the Queensland government and local governments are covered by the Queensland Act.

Last updated 01 August 2018