Set up an incorporated association
Law changes for incorporated associations
The government has introduced changes to laws for not-for-profit associations incorporated in Queensland. Learn more about the changes.
An incorporated association is a legally separate body. It has the same powers, benefits and responsibilities as a person.
- owning land
- signing a lease
- appearing in court.
An incorporated association is legally separate from its members. This means that:
- the committee makes decisions
- the association becomes legally liable for these decisions
- individuals on the committee aren’t personally liable (as long as they acted in good faith).
Your incorporated association must:
- comply with the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 and the Associations Incorporation Regulation 1999
- review your financial affairs every year
- lodge copies of your rules, annual returns and financial statements with us.
The public can access copies of the documents that you lodge with us.
Who can incorporate an association
To incorporate an association in Queensland, you must:
- have at least 7 members
- be a not-for-profit association
- have a physical address in Queensland.
How to incorporate
To incorporate, you must convene a general meeting of your unincorporated association and complete each of the following steps.
Pass a resolution
To incorporate, you must:
- propose resolutions to become an incorporated association and appoint a person to prepare and make the application
- pass the resolution with a 3/4 majority of the vote.
Choose a name
Your association’s name must:
- contain only English characters (the characters allowed are the letters A to Z, numbers 0 to 9, apostrophes, brackets and full stops)
- have the word 'Incorporated' or the abbreviation 'Inc.' at the end of the name.
The name cannot be identical or similar to:
- another association’s name
- a business name
- a cooperative name
- the name of a company.
You can see if your proposed name is already taken by searching the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s registers.
Restrictions apply to certain names. You can’t choose a name that:
- may be confused with government agencies, financial institutions or educational institutions
- infers an affiliation with the royal family, ex-servicepersons’ organisations or major sporting events (if that affiliation does not exist).
A full list of restrictions is in the Associations Incorporation Regulation 1999.
Adopt a set of rules
All incorporated associations must have a written set of operating rules. These rules are sometimes known as the association’s constitution. The rules come into effect once your association is incorporated.
The rules must set out:
- how the association operates
- what rights are available to members
- how the management committee works
- how meetings will be run.
You may use the standard set model rules which the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) provides, or you can write your own rules.
If your association plans to write its own rules, you must complete Appendix A on the Application for incorporation of an association If your association uses the model rules, you must complete Appendix B.
After incorporation, your association can amend its rules if it wants to, or completely replace them with the model rules. You must pass a special resolution at a general meeting to do so and apply to register them with OFT within 3 months of passing the resolution.
Learn more about adopting rules for your association.
Elect a management committee
Your rules must set out how you elect the management committee. This should include:
- how to elect and appoint committee members
- how long the committee members’ term of office is
- why a committee position may become vacant
- how to fill casual vacancies on the committee.
The rules should set out how to choose the committee members. There must be a minimum of 3 committee members. This will usually include a president, a treasurer and a secretary.
A person can't sit on your committee if they have been convicted of certain offences within the last 5 years and the rehabilitation period for the conviction has not expired.
The 5-year period begins on the later of the following dates:
- the day the conviction is recorded
- the day the person is released from prison (if applicable)
- the day any other court order relating to the conviction or term of imprisonment is satisfied.
A person also cannot sit on your committee if they are bankrupt.
Apply to us
Once you have completed the above steps, you can apply to incorporate the association with us by:
- completing the online application form
- lodging the application form
The normal processing time is 3–4 weeks, unless we need to contact you for more information. However, the processing time is currently 6–8 weeks due to a backlog of applications.