Introduction to the INC Guide

People often come together to form groups to pursue a range of common interests of a recreational, social, political, economic, cultural, spiritual or professional nature.  In Western Australia alone, there are over 17,000 of these groups that have registered as incorporated associations.

Many groups decide to register as a ‘not-for-profit’ incorporated association because it enables them to create a separate legal entity through which to conduct their activities.  There are several significant advantages:

  • the individual members limit their exposure to personal legal liability;
  • bank accounts can be opened in the name of the association; and
  • the association can apply for government grants and hold property.

INC: A Guide for Incorporated Associations in Western Australia has been developed as a comprehensive operational document to assist associations in performing their role effectively.

The purpose of this guide is to provide information on some of the key legal obligations and rights that apply to associations once they are incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 2015 (the Act).  

It also provides a basic introduction to various aspects of managing an association, for example:

  • conducting meetings;
  • record-keeping;
  • employing staff; and
  • engaging volunteers.

In effect, the guide may be used by members of associations as a reference source on good governance practices.

There are many government departments and non-government organisations that provide assistance to incorporated associations.  The guide also attempts to draw together these resources by providing examples, references and direct links wherever possible.

The Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Energy. Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is responsible for regulating associations in Western Australia. 

Contact details for the Associations Branch of Consumer Protection are as follows: 

Locked Bag 100
East Perth WA 6892

Telephone: 1300 30 40 74

Associations Incorporation Act 2015

On 1 July 2016 the Associations Incorporation Act 2015 came into force.  The Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety - Consumer Protection Division is responsible for administering the Act. The Associations and Charities Branch of Consumer Protection can be contacted by: 

Telephone: 1300 30 40 74

A copy of the act is available from


AssociationsOnline is a secure online portal provided by Consumer Protection for incorporated associations, industry stakeholders and members of the public to check the status of an incorporated association, purchase copies of documents, submit a range of applications and update association contact information.

You can find a help guide for using AssociationsOnline and step by step videos on Consumer Protection’s website.

A note on copyright

Throughout this guide, various websites have been referred to for additional information, forms and policies.  In some cases the information will be protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without permission of the copyright owner. The website will usually state if more copies can be made and distributed.  If in doubt contact the organisation concerned and seek permission to use the material.

This guide has been provided free of charge and Consumer Protection permits its reproduction. Refer to the Copyright section if you would like to read more.

A final word

This guide is written primarily for people without a legal background and deals with a large number of areas, involving in some cases quite complex laws and regulations.  The guide therefore simplifies a number of matters.  As a result, topics are explained in a general manner and do not include full details on all aspects of the relevant legislation.  Therefore, it cannot replace specific expert advice on your particular circumstances, which you should seek where required.


The information contained in this guide is not intended to be legal advice and should not be relied upon as giving substantial legal advice, but as a legal awareness guide.

The guide does not provide a definitive statement of the effect or application of the various legislative schemes to which reference is made. While it provides a general overview, the law can change often and rapidly and you should always refer particular questions that relate to your association to a legal adviser.

The general overview of the law in this guide is based on material current at August 2019.