Lodging a complaint with Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection’s role is to ensure associations comply with the Associations Incorporation Act 2015.  If there has been a breach of the Act, a formal complaint can be made to Consumer Protection.  For example, if the association fails to present annual financial statements or reports at its Annual General Meeting.

It is highly recommended that members and committees make all reasonable attempts to resolve any complaints themselves, whether informally or through the dispute resolution process in the rules, prior to lodging a formal complaint.

Lodging a complaint

Consumer Protection will only investigate where it appears a possible breach of the Act or the Regulations has occurred and information about what the Department will investigate is also included at the end of this chapter. Anyone thinking of lodging a complaint against an association should read this information carefully before submitting their complaint.

Consumer Protection will not:

  • Investigate a breach of the association’s rules.  It is not Consumer Protection’s role to resolve internal disputes concerning the application of the rules.  The Association must deal with such matters using its internal dispute resolution processes.
  • Interpret the association’s rules. Consumer Protection cannot adjudicate on what an association’s rules mean.  This should be dealt with as provided under the rules or otherwise is for members to determine.
  • Investigate disputes between individual members of the association or an individual and the association. If an association is unable to resolve the dispute using its own internal processes some matters may be considered by the State Administrative Tribunal.

If your concerns relate to a potential breach of the Act a Complaint Form for Incorporated Associations may be submitted along with copies of any supporting documents.  

What to expect

Consumer Protection assesses all complaints against the requirements of the Act and considers whether there is sufficient information and documentation provided to investigate the complaint further.  Priority is given to dealing with complaints according to the seriousness of the conduct identified. 

An association will always be given an opportunity to comment on any allegations made in a complaint relating to a potential breach of the Act.

Please note, even in cases where it appears after investigation there has been a breach of the Act, if the breach does not appear to be deliberate or fraudulent and the association agrees to comply with its obligations in the future, Consumer Protection may form the view that formal action is not in the public interest.

Key provisions of the Associations Incorporation Act 2015

If your concerns do not relate to any of the matters listed below Consumer Protection is not able to consider your complaint. Please refer to the other sections of this chapter for information about the avenues available to resolve such concerns.



Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held in each calendar year within 6 months after the end of the association’s financial year.


Decisions of the committee


Committee members are required to disclose any material personal interests they have in matters being considered at meetings of the Association’s committee.


Disclosed material personal interests to be recorded in the minutes.


Committee member to leave the meeting while the matter is discussed and voted on.


Committee member to disclose their material personal interest to the members at the next general meeting occurring after the relevant committee meeting where the matter was considered.


Committee members and officers have duties to act with care and diligence and in good faith and for a proper purpose. Committee members and officers must not improperly use their position or information to gain an advantage or cause detriment to the association.

s44 - 47

Rules of association


The association keeps an up to date copy of its rules.


Each new member of the association is provided with their own copy of the rules when they join the association.


The rules are made available to members to inspect and copy if requested.


A copy of the rules or any particular part is given to a member, free of charge, if requested.


Changing the rules


Written notice specifying the proposed special resolution(s) to alter the rules and detailing the time and place of the general meeting given to all members in accordance with the rules.


Proposed special resolution(s) passed by 75% majority of members who are eligible to vote at general meeting


Amendments to the rules lodged with Consumer Protection within one month of passing the special resolution


Register of members


The association to keep an up to date register of members


The Register of Members is updated to include any changes in membership within 28 days of the change occurring.


The Register of Members is made available to members to inspect  and copy if requested


A copy of the Register of Members is provided to a member if requested in writing (subject to any requirements to pay a reasonable fee or provide a statutory declaration).


Accounting records and reporting


Accurate accounting records kept that record and explain the financial transactions


Annual financial statements or reports prepared in accordance with the requirements of association’s Tier.


Annual financial statements or reports presented to the members at the AGM.


For Tier 2s – The annual accounts are to be reviewed


For Tier 3s – The annual accounts are to be audited


All financial records are to be kept for at least 7 years.


Other record keeping requirements


The association keeps an up to date Record of Office Holders.


The Record of Office Holders is made available to members to inspect and copy if requested.


All records belonging to the association in the possession of an outgoing committee member are returned to the association as soon as practicable after their appointment ceases.