Navigating the rules and regulations

We advise and guide all organisations within the bounds of the Synod to ensure that they meet their legal responsibilities and obligations.

Our advice and assistance covers a broad spectrum including employment, employment litigation, taxation, work health and safety, workers compensation, Australian Business Number (ABN) registration, the Australian Charity and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) obligations, working with children clearances, visa, immigration and motor vehicle purchasing and registration.

As legislative requirements often change, current organisational practices need to be often updated.


Even though The Uniting Church in Australia is a religious organisation it still has to comply with prevailing legislation regardless. There are many rules and regulations which have to be observed and implemented in order to support God’s Mission.

In the area of Industrial Relations, Employment, Risk and Compliance, compliance with the following legislation is mandatory: 

Failure to comply could result in enforceable legal penalties ranging from monetary fines to imprisonment.

Uniting Resources assists all entities within the Synod of NSW and the ACT to understand and comply with their obligations.

Given the potential risks of non-compliance it’s important to be well-informed.

Many people voluntarily contribute their time and skills to Uniting Church organisations. It is important for both the volunteer and the organisation to understand and agree to their obligations and responsibilities. For all the information about engaging volunteers go to the Engaging Volunteers page


All Uniting Church organisations within the bounds of the Synod must undertake background checks on both existing and prospective paid and unpaid workers in accordance with prevailing legislation and Synod requirements.

Our Background Check Policies and Procedures covers Working with Children Checks, Vulnerable Person Checks, Criminal Record Checks and Entitlement to Work in Australia Checks. According to the prevailing legislation, background checks are mandatory in certain circumstances.

All formally recognised Uniting Church organisations are required to hold an ABN registration and associated taxation endorsements and concessions.

There are many other benefits which can be accrued. ABNs can be used for:

  • registering for goods and services tax (GST) and claiming GST credits;
  • registering for pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding;
  • applying to the ACNC for endorsement of relevant tax concessions or exemptions;
  • interacting with other government departments, agencies and authorities;
  • interacting with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) on other taxes, such as fringe benefits tax (FBT); and
  • accessing membership and associated benefits of the Uniting Church in Australia GST Religious Group.

Our Policies and Procedures outline how the various Uniting Church organisations can apply for an ABN and associated taxation endorsements and concessions for all organisations within the bounds of the Synod.

There are a number of legal and legislative requirements that need to be considered by a Presbytery before making a decision to create a new Congregation or faith community or to withdraw recognition of a Congregation and/or “convert” it to a faith community.

Our checklist outlines all issues which need to be considered during decision-making.