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Registered organisations

What is a registered organisation?

Under the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA), the Commission in Court Session may authorise the Registrar to register unions and associations with the Commission. The registration is effected by the Registrar registering the organisation's name, rules and the address of the office where the business of the organisation is conducted.

Registration provides an organisation with the benefits associated with the right to enrol and cover those callings, industries or bodies according to its registered rules; and right of entry of its permit holders to workplaces where members, or people eligible to be members work.

List of registered organisations

You can find a list of current registered organisations here.

Helpful quicklinks

Applications and forms

Obligations of registered organisations

Registered organisations have a range of statutory obligations and reporting requirements, primarily set out in the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) and the Industrial Relations Commission Regulations 2005 (WA)

Under the IR Act, organisations have legislative obligations to lodge certain information with the Registrar on a bi-annually and annually basis, as well as notify the Registrar of certain changes within the organisation. In addition, members of the organisation are bound by its registered rules. For more information on registered organisations obligations, refer to s 52 to s 80 of the IR Act. n addition, the Commission has developed an information kit for registered organisations which includes guidance on rule alteration applications. A copy of the kit can be found here.

Rules of registered organisations

In order to register under the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA), a union or association must have an established set of rules governing the operations and conduct of the organisation. Upon registration, an organisation's rules are registered by the Registrar. The rules must include particular provisions, such as the conduct of elections, as prescribed by the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA). Any alterations to registered rules must be made by way of application to the Registrar or Full Bench, once approved by the organisation and members are notified in accordance with the organisation's rules.

Where can I locate a copy of an organisation's current rules?

Rules of registered organisations can be found here by searching under the organisation name.

Right of entry

A right of entry permit allows an authorised representative of an organisation to enter, during work hours, any premises where relevant employees work, for the purposes of: 

For the purposes of exercising powers of right of entry, relevant employee means an employee who is a member of the organisation or eligible to become a member and must have a valid permit.

An application for a right of entry permit must be made by the secretary of an organisation on a  Form 16 - Application to the Registrar to Issue or Revoke a Person's Right of Entry Authority.

A list of authorised right of entry permit holders for each registered organisation can be found here.

Elections

The process for conducting an election for office bearers of a registered organisation varies according to the organisation's rules. Under section 69 of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA), a request for an election of office holders must be made to the Registrar, unless otherwise stated in the organisation's rules. Sections 55, 56, 56A, 57, 69 and 70 of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) set out the mandatory requirements for the conduct of elections by a registered organisation. 

Election process

Requests for elections are made in writing by the Secretary to the Registrar, who then confirms if the request for an election has been 'duly made' in accordance with section 69(2) of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA). Elections are administered by the Electoral Commission. Not all organisation elections require authorisation by the Registrar, as some organisations conduct their own elections in accordance with their registered rules.

Applications

Registered rule alterations or substitutions

A rule alteration application must be filed with the Commission where an organisation seeks to alter or substitute its registered rules. An application should be filed on a Form 13 - Application to Alter or Substitute the Rules of an Organisation or Industrial Association, Change its Name, or Suspend or Cancel its Registration. Applications for rule alterations must be made to either the Registrar or the Commission in Court Session, depending on the nature of the alterations. In summary, the following rule alteration applications must be made to the Commission in Court Session:

  • eligibility of persons for membership;
  • the name of the organisation;
  • the area of the State where the organisation operates or matters relating to its Federal counterpart; and
  • matters relating to counterpart Federal bodies in accordance with section 71(5) of the Industrial Relations Act 1979  (WA).

All other rule alteration applications are made to the Registrar.

For more information on amendments to registered rules, see Rule alterations.

Section 66 applications

On an application under section 66 of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA), the Chief Commissioner may make an order or give directions about the rules of a registered organisation or compliance with these rules. Applications can be made by current or former members of the organisation, people who apply and are denied membership, or the Registrar. The Chief Commissioner has the authority to disallow specific rules, direct an organisation to alter its rules, and to enquire about an organisation's compliance with its rules in certain circumstances.

Federal Counterparts and section 71 certificates

A registered organisation may seek a section 71 certificate, issued by the Registrar of the Commission, to assist in the efficient administration and coordination of its function and duties with its counterpart Federal body. The section 71 certificate is issued in accordance with section 71 of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) and regulation 72 of the Industrial Relations Commission Regulations 2005 (WA). For registered organisations with section 71 certificates, each office in the State registered organisation may be held by the person who, in accordance with the rules of the State registered organisation's counterpart Federal organisation, holds the corresponding office in the Federal organisation.

A registered organisation with a section 71 certificate is no longer subject to the election provisions of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) and is no longer required to conduct elections for office bearers of its State registered organisation. More information on how an organisation can apply for a section 71 certificate can be found in Section 71 applications.

Frequently asked questions

There are three key types of registered organisations:

  • employee organisations
  • employer organisations
  • industrial associations

An employee organisation is an organisation of employee members within a particular industry associated for the purpose of protecting or further the interests of employees.

An employer association is an organisation of employer members associated for the purpose of protecting or furthering the interests of employers within a particular industry or grouping.

An industrial association is a council or other body formed by and for the purpose of representing two or more organisations to the extent they have industrial interests in common.

The Commission is committed to ensuring its information, facilities and services are accessible to all members of the Western Australian community. For more information on accessibility, please visit our Access and inclusion page.