The ROC remains open to assist registered organisations
The ROC understands that the current COVID-19 pandemic presents significant challenges for registered organisations, their branches and their members. We are committed to continuing to work constructively and pragmatically with the organisations we regulate, mindful that they are likely to encounter difficulties in complying with their regulatory obligations due to the impact of COVID-19.
We have already postponed our information workshop scheduled for 26 March 2020 and will be suspending other activities which are not time critical. We are working closely with the AEC on managing the scheduling of elections, understanding emerging issues with the conduct of meetings referred to in the rules of registered organisations.
The ROC remains available to help organisations that need advice and assistance about their compliance obligations such as:
- conducting elections
- holding meetings, including AGMs
- accessing governance training
- preparing and lodging financial reports, annual returns of information, officer and related party disclosure statements or loans grants and donations statements
- auditing; or
- notifying the ROC of changes to the organisation.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have an issue with preparing or lodging a financial report, annual return of information, officer and related party disclosure statement or loans
grants and donations statements? What should I do?
Please contact the ROC to discuss your individual circumstances. Our staff are available 9am to 5pm AEST, Monday to Friday, to provide assistance on 1300 341 665 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I am having issues accessing face-to-face governance training as a result of restrictions on gatherings of people and other social distancing measures announced by the government. What can I do?
The ROC recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic may present challenges for registered organisations, including the ability for officers with financial duties, to attend approved face-to-face financial training within six months of taking office,as required by the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (the RO Act).
We have been working with the ACTU towards its development of an online governance training package, which we have reviewed and approved. The online training package, to be delivered by the ACTU, can assist organisations no longer able to access face-to-face training.
For employer organisations, there is an approved online training course offered by the Australian Hotels Association – Western Australian Branch.
More details are available here.
Can my organisation hold meetings, including AGMs, via telephone or the internet as a way to comply with government restrictions on gatherings of people?
It is the ROC’s view that during the pandemic, attendees of meetings may be present or participate by way of technology, as long as the technology enables social interaction and a ‘meeting of the minds’. For example, a video conference, telephone conference or live streaming is likely able to meet this criteria, whereas a series of emails may not.
The ROC supports holding meetings using appropriate technology, unless the rules of your organisation prohibit it.
The use of technology to hold meetings still needs to provide members with a reasonable opportunity to participate in the meeting. More information is available in a guidance note we have produced, available here.
Will my organisation be able to hold elections during the pandemic?
The Australian Electoral Commission has advised that elections for registered organisations will cease until at least 30 September 2020.
The rules of many organisations provide for previously elected office-holders to continue in office until a replacement is elected, and therefore a delay will not significantly affect the governance of the organisation.
Where elections are essential to the continuing governance of the organisation, the AEC will work with the ROC and the organisation to make arrangements for the conduct of the election. This will be for critical positions only and is likely to involve different methods of communicating with relevant stakeholders and extended nomination and ballot periods. For more information visit www.aec.gov.au .
The ROC will also create additional education resources where they are required. Click below to download.
Guidance on meetings of committee of management, annual general meetings and other general meetings during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions (PDF 119.2KB)
ROC’s guidance on the conduct of elections in organisations and their branches during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions (PDF 261.3KB)
ROCpod Episode 9: Help for organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic
E-Learning Module: What happens if you can't have your election due to COVID-19
The ROC’s assistance service remains open between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday. We can provide assistance via email at email@example.com or by telephone on 1300 341 665.
ROC staff are taking all necessary and reasonable precautions to minimise the spread of COVID-19. This means our offices are closed to the public until further notice, and we are also presently unable to conduct on-site visits to provide organisations with advice face-to-face.
Where to get further assistance
If you require information about the Australian government’s response to COVID-19, please visit australia.gov.au . This site is being updated regularly with official advice and information as the situation changes.
The Australian Government Department of Health website has the latest information on the virus, including requirements and conditions for quarantine periods.
For information about your workplace entitlements and obligations if you’re affected by the outbreak of coronavirus, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.
Information on COVID-19 and work health and safety for employers and employees is available from Safe Work Australia .