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Investigation into Master Plumbers & Mechanical Contractors Association of New South Wales concluded

11 May 2022

On 25 March 2022 the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) concluded its investigation into the Master Plumbers & Mechanical Contractors Association of New South Wales (MPA), which was commenced on 10 September 2021.

The investigation was commenced under section 331 of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (RO Act) and arose following concerns raised by several officers about the management and handling of a contract by the organisation. This included allegations that another officer may have advantaged the contractor to the detriment of the organisation in circumstances where the officer may have had a material conflict of interest.  

The MPA and all relevant officers cooperated with the investigation, and ultimately the ROC determined that the relevant processes of the MPA had been followed appropriately. In the circumstances, on the available evidence, no breaches of the RO Act relating to officers’ duties or disclosures of material personal interests were established.

The RO Act provides for certain disclosure obligations by officers and restrictions on officers taking part in making decisions where they may have a material personal interest or an actual or apparent conflict of interest. A contravention of those provisions is serious and can lead to the imposition of a civil penalty on an individual of up to $22,200, or up to $266,400 for a serious contravention. 

Organisations are encouraged to have good governance processes in place that ensure officers who have a conflict of interest disclose those interests transparently and, where necessary, recuse themselves from decision making processes. This investigation is a timely reminder that registered organisations should consider reviewing these processes and practices particularly relating to the disclosure, handling and management of conflicts of interest, and remind officers of their obligations under the RO Act. 

For more information on the management of conflicts of interests see our recent podcast episode on ROCpod Episode 33 | Managing conflicts of interest.

Statement Ends

ROC media contact:   Caroline Hamilton - (03) 9603 0767 or media@roc.gov.au