See Fair Work Act 2009 s.247
Two or more employers that will be covered by a proposed enterprise agreement may apply to the Minister for a declaration that they may bargain together.
The Minister may only make a declaration upon application by the relevant employers and the declaration must be in writing.
Applying for a Ministerial declaration
The application must specify the employers that will be covered by the agreement. The specified employers are the relevant employers in the application.
Categories of employers that may be considered for a Ministerial declaration include:
- public hospitals that are technically distinct employers, but have a high degree of coordination and common employment arrangements
- schools which share common employment arrangements and a common funding source and arrangements, and
- school councils or parents and friends associations that are technically separate employers but who may employ additional staff to work within a single public school system.
The Minister must take into account the following matters when deciding whether or not to make a declaration:
- the history of bargaining of each of the relevant employers
- the interests that the relevant employers have in common and the extent to which those interests are relevant to whether they should be permitted to bargain together
- whether the relevant employers are governed by a common regulatory regime
- whether it would be more appropriate for each of the relevant employers to make a separate enterprise agreement with its employees
- the extent to which the relevant employers operate collaboratively rather than competitively
- whether the relevant employers are substantially funded, directly or indirectly, by the Commonwealth or a state or territory, and
- any other matter the Minister considers relevant.
In addition to obtaining a Ministerial declaration, the employers must apply to the Fair Work Commission for a single interest employer authorisation.
Upon application, the Commission must make a single interest employer authorisation if:
- the Minister has issued a declaration, and
- the Commission is satisfied that the employers that will be covered by the agreement have agreed to bargain together and that no person coerced, or threatened to coerce, any of the employers to agree to bargain together.
 Explanatory Memorandum to Fair Work Bill 2008 at para. 1041.
 Fair Work Act s.249(3).
 Fair Work Act s.249(1).