Associations Incorporation Act review 2022
Please note, this discussion paper was amended on 29 March 2022 to rectify an error on page 9 of the paper that stated that 90% of associations fall within the Tier 1 financial reporting category. The amendments to pages 5 and 9 have clarified that approximately 80 per cent of Western Australian associations fall within the Tier 1 reporting category.
Consultation status: CLOSED
Submissions closed 4 April 2022. Please subscribe to the Associations newsletter to keep up to date with the latest association information.
Incorporated associations are important to the quality of life of people and to the economy in Western Australia. There are about 20,000 incorporated associations in Western Australia. Most associations are locally based cultural and sporting clubs and social groups. Others are professional and industry bodies providing advice and support services; schools, environmental and animal welfare groups; or charitable and social service organisations.
The Associations Incorporation Act 2015 has rules about:
- what types of groups can incorporate and how they can become incorporated;
- what an association can do;
- what an association must have in its rules;
- how and when meetings are held;
- the role of the management committee;
- what the association must tell its members and the public, including financial reporting; and
- what will happen if an association wants to close.
In this review, associations and their members are being asked to consider the following key issues:
Managing an association:
- Whether an association should be able to reserve a name while it makes an application to incorporate, so that members can be sure that the name they want to use will be available.
- Whether the Act should be changed to allow all associations to hold meetings electronically using the telephone or internet.
- Whether members should be able to have their names withheld from the members register to protect their privacy, and if so, how that might impact their right to be involved in activities.
- Whether the current reporting tiers are correct, or whether they should be changed.
- The Act introduced a three-tiered system of financial accounting and reporting. The tiers are similar to those in other states and territories, and also the same as the requirements that apply to associations that are charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). The tiered system means less work for smaller associations, while at the same time recognising that larger associations should be accountable to their members for the significant resources under their control.
- The current tiers are:
- Tier 1 - less than $250,000 revenue each year;
- Tier 2 – between $250,000 - $1,000,000 revenue each year; and
- Tier 3 – over $1,000,000 revenue each year.
- The rules of an association must have a dispute resolution process. If there is a dispute, and the dispute cannot be resolved using the resolution mechanism in the rules, an application may be made to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) for an order. The review will consider how well the new dispute resolution arrangements are working.
- The review will consider whether the Commissioner for Consumer Protection should have a new power to cancel an association in the public interest. This will allow an association to be cancelled quickly and cost effectively if the members are not willing or able to arrange the cancellation.
Associations and their members are invited to tells us what they think about these issues, or about any other experiences that they have had with the Act that might help us to understand how the laws are working and whether they can be improved.