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The annual general meeting (AGM) holds an association accountable to its members and is important to maintaining good governance .
An association’s first AGM must be held within 18 months of becoming incorporated. Associations must then hold an AGM once in every calendar year within six months after the end of its financial year, which is defined in its rules.
If the association is unable to hold its AGM within the timeframe, the Commissioner can approve an extension to hold the AGM outside of the six month period, but only if the request is made before that period expires. An application for an extension of time to hold the AGM can be lodged using Associations Online.
Notice of an AGM should be sent to all members, irrespective of voting rights, and in accordance with the association's rules. Some associations invite guests or allow the public to attend as a way of self-promotion and to encourage new members to join.
The business of the AGM often includes the president and/or treasurer reporting to members on the past years progress. Also, the management committee and office bearers are often appointed at the AGM. The rules of association must set out the procedure to be followed at the AGM.
The Act requires annual financial statements or reports to be presented to members at each AGM (for further information see Members' rights to the financial accounts). Tier 2 and 3 associations are also required to present the reviewer or auditor’s report (see Accounts and auditing for information about requirements for different associations)
If the association's chairperson is standing for re-election, he or she will usually step aside as chair of the meeting and arrange for another officer to chair that section of the meeting and conduct the election.
A general meeting of members other than an AGM is often referred to as a special general meeting. These meetings are held so the whole membership can deal with specific motions or business. For example, to change the rules of the association.
The rules of association set out the grounds for calling a special meeting being called (eg by petition of a certain percentage of the membership) and the notice period and procedures required.
Management committees will need to hold regular meetings in order to manage the affairs of the association. General meeting procedures apply to committee meetings.
In rare circumstances, the Commissioner for Consumer Protection has the power to direct an association to hold a general meeting. This action would only be considered in circumstances where the matter is affecting the proper conduct of the association’s affairs and the members cannot otherwise resolve the issue. Such powers would not be exercised to resolve private member disputes. See Resolving complaints and disputes for options to resolve individual matters.