Proposed changes to model rules for incorporated associations
Please note: the information on this page is out of date.
Status: Closed 3 November 2014
On 11 September 2014 the Government introduced a Bill into parliament to replace the current Associations Incorporation Act 1987. The Bill will repeal and replace the current Act so as to promote efficiency and greater accountability, while minimising administration and compliance costs for incorporated associations. It will also realign WA’s associations’ legislation with contemporary legislation in other Australian jurisdictions.
One of the features of the new law is that model rules will be available for associations to adopt, although associations can still choose to use their own rules as long as they comply with the new law. The model rules will simplify the process for incorporation as associations will be able to elect to adopt them with only minimal additional information required at the time they incorporate. Associations will also be able to adopt them at any later point in time. Associations that wish to alter the model rules may use them as a guide in developing their own rules, however if there is any modification this will require the rules to be assessed by the Department of Commerce.
The draft model rules set out the minimum requirements that associations must comply with. The Government recognises that many associations may already have higher levels of accountability than what is being proposed in the model rules. Associations are not prevented from adopting higher requirements in their own rules where the members consider those requirements to be appropriate for their association.
Associations will have three years from the time the new law commences to ensure that either their rules are consistent with the new law or to adopt the new model rules.
This is an opportunity for associations to provide feedback on the proposed model rules.
An earlier draft of the model rules was released for public consultation in conjunction with the Associations Incorporation Bill 2006 (Green Bill) during late 2007 and early 2008.
The Department of Commerce has now updated the draft model rules that were released for consultation in 2007. A summary of the changes is presented below in the following categories:
- Changes to the model rules that must be included in order to comply with the requirements of the new law.
- Changes to the model rules as a result of consultation with incorporated associations.
Your feedback will ensure that these changes meet the needs of your association.
Changes to the model rules that an incorporated association must include in order to comply with the new law
- there is still a requirement for an association’s rules to include a statement restricting the use of association property to the promotion of the association’s objects or purposes. However, this statement may now be included anywhere in the rules, and for this purpose the model rules includes it at proposed rule 3.2;
- removal of the requirement for an association to have a public officer;
- associations adopting the model rules must still provide for a quorum for general meetings and committee meetings and state the financial year of the association (proposed rule 1);
- the minimum number of members with full voting rights has been increased from five to six (proposed rule 4.1);
- an association may now include in its rules a requirement that a member wishing to copy the register of members must provide a statutory declaration setting out the purpose of their request. As such, the model rules allow the Committee the discretion to require a statutory declaration (proposed rule 7.3);
- the model rules have been changed to reflect the Bill’s new options for associations wishing to resolve their affairs (proposed rule 28); and
- the model rules have been changed to reflect the Bill’s new financial reporting provisions.
Changes to the 2007 Draft Model Rules as a result of consultation with associations
- the requirement that nominations to become a member or a committee member must be seconded has been removed from the model rules (proposed rules 4.3 and 11.2). Applicants must be nominated by one member. Your feedback is sought as to whether this is appropriate;
- the model rules now specify that the Secretary must convene a special general meeting on the written request of at least 20 per cent of members (proposed rule 17.1). Is this percentage suitable?
- as the model rules are designed to be used by a wide variety of incorporated associations, some associations may need to make additional provision for their specific circumstances. The model rules provide that this can be done through the use of bylaws. By-laws can be used to provide for matters such as determining classes of membership; stipulating requirements for members to hold specified trade, educational or professional qualifications; or in order to restrict the powers of the Committee. By-laws can be made or changed by members but must remain consistent with both the Act and the association’s rules;
- the requirement for an association to indemnify committee members and employees has been removed as it was considered too onerous on small associations who may not be able to afford the necessary insurance;
- the model rules provide for the right of members to inspect the minutes of general meetings. However, the Committee may restrict access to the minutes of committee meetings. Do you support the model rules leaving this to the discretion of the Committee?
- the model rules now provide for committee members to be appointed for one year. The Committee selection process takes place at each AGM. The 2007 draft model rules provided for a term of two years, with half the committee being replaced at each AGM. Do you support this change?
- The 2007 draft model rules suggested the use of standard forms for matters such as applying for membership of an association or the nomination of a proxy. Is it desirable for the model rules to include standard forms?
- The requirement that expelled or suspended members of an association have a right of appeal to a special general meeting has been removed from the model rules (rule 6.4). Instead, the model rules will provide for an expelled or suspended member to take the matter to mediation. Your feedback is sought as to whether this change is appropriate.
Downloads and resources
- Draft of the model rules for the Associations Incorporation Act 2014 (replaced with updated model rules)
Enquiries can be made by calling Consumer Protection's Advice Line on 1300 304 054.
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