Steps to becoming an incorporated association
The procedure for incorporating an association involves the following steps:
- members agree to become incorporated;
- decide on a suitable name;
- develop a set of rules or adopt the model rules; and
- submit the application.
1. Agree to incorporate
An incorporated association is required to comply with specific obligations under the Act including maintaining records, holding annual general meetings and preparing financial reports. Before applying for incorporation the members should ensure that they understand the legal responsibilities that will follow. If the members agree to become incorporated they need to:
- authorise one or more members who will prepare and submit the application;
- decide on a name for the association;
- decide the objects and purposes of the association; and
- draft a set of rules.
2. Determine a suitable name and eligibility
The name of the association should reflect its objects and purposes. The Commissioner for Consumer Protection can reject a name if it is:
- already in use;
- offensive or undesirable;
- likely to mislead the public; or
- likely to be confused with the name of an existing body corporate or registered business name.
The use of certain words such as “foundation” or “royal” is also restricted under the regulations any may only be uses in certain circumstances.
When deciding on a name, it is advisable to consider having alternative name in case your first choice is not available.
3. Develop a set of rules
The management of an incorporated association’s affairs is governed by a set of rules, commonly referred to as the constitution. All associations incorporated are required to make provision for a number of specific matters in the rules, which are detailed in Schedule 1 of the Act and included at the end of this chapter.
Consumer Protection’s publication What’s in the rules: explaining the Schedule 1 requirements is useful in understanding these requirements.
To avoid misinterpretation, the rules should be written in clear simple language. There are no requirements about the length or complexity of rules for an incorporated association and in addition to addressing the Schedule 1 requirements the association can include other rules that are relevant to its activities.
Using the model rules
If an association does not want to develop its own rules the model rules can be adopted. The model rules are a complete set of rules prescribed by the Associations Incorporations Regulations that meet all of the requirements of the Act and provide a suitable governance framework for an association.
If you choose to use the model rules, the only additional information that you need to provide to the Commissioner with your application is:
- name of the association;
- objects or purposes of the association;
- quorum for a general meeting of members of the association;
- quorum for a meeting of the management committee of the association; and
- period of the first financial year of the association.
Please note that if the association changes any of the provisions in the model rules (with the exception of the matters above) it is no longer considered to be using the model rules.
4. Make the application
The application for incorporation can be submitted online using AssociationsOnline. If the association is using its own rules a copy of these rules must be attached to the application and the applicant will also be required to complete a table identifying the Schedule 1 matters within the rules. Once all information is entered and uploaded, payment is made by credit card through a secure payment system.