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Set up an incorporated association

Legal status

An incorporated association is a legally separate body. It has the same powers, benefits and responsibilities as a person.

These include:

  • 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).

Duties outline

Your incorporated association must:

  • comply with the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 and the Associations Incorporation Regulation 1999
  • review its 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 qualify

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 a resolution to become an incorporated association
  • 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 can not 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 (PDF, 549KB).

Adopt a set of rules

All incorporated associations must have a written set of operating rules. This is sometimes known as the association’s constitution. The rules become effective 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 run.

Get more details about adopting rules

You may use the model rules or you can write your own rules.

If your association writes its own rules, you must complete Appendix A on the Application for incorporation of an association (PDF, 299KB) If your association uses the model rules, you must complete Appendix B.

Download the model rules as:

Elect a management committee

Your rules must set out the way in which you elect the management committee. This should include:

  • how to choose 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. The management committee will usually include a president, treasurer and secretary.

Apply to us

Once you have completed the above steps, you can apply to us by:

A fee of $148.00 needs to be paid at time of lodgement. The normal processing time is 3–4 weeks, unless we need to contact you for more information.

Do it online

Some Fair Trading services are now online.

Unincorporated associations can:

Incorporated associations can:

Anyone can:

Operating outside Queensland

If your association will do business outside Queensland, you need to become a registered Australian body with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Incorporated associations guide

We have published a Smart business guide for incorporated associations (PDF, 6.5MB).

Download or print the guide for details about running an association.

It gives you all the information, but check this website to make sure it's still up-to-date.

Last updated
6 December 2016
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