Incorporated associations

2012 review

In 2012, we conducted a review of incorporated associations laws to:

  • review and modernise the laws
  • reduce red tape.

As part of the review, we:

  • commissioned a paper from the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non-profit Studies (ACPNS) at the Queensland University of Technology to identify the major issues for associations
  • asked for community opinion on a wide range of possible changes to the laws.

We did this by releasing an issues paper (PDF, 345KB).

The key issues included:

  • dispute resolution
  • voluntary administration
  • corporate governance principles, particularly the extent to which these should be applicable given changing expectations about the accountability of associations to government and the public
  • reporting requirements, including whether the current public register and tiered system of annual reporting are effective
  • the existing model rules, and if these could be expanded to help associations access tax concessions and other government benefits
  • the role of the Office of Fair Trading in helping associations to comply with the law.

Submissions closed on 25 May 2012.

2012 changes to the law

Parliament amended to the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 in March 2012. This offered a cost-effective way for large-scale associations to become:

  • an Indigenous corporation
  • a company limited by guarantee.

The amendments were included in the Civil Proceedings Act 2011.

2010–11 review

In 2010, we began a review of the laws for incorporated associations. Our main focus was on the regulations.

As part of this, we sought public comment by releasing a consultation paper (PDF, 239KB).

The Associations Incorporation Regulation 1999 sets out:

  • the record-keeping and accounting rules for associations
  • the exact text of the model rules.

Submissions closed on 4 April 2011.

2005 review

We conducted a review of the laws in 2005. We reviewed the Act to make sure it was relevant and best met the needs of modern associations and the general community.

As part of this, we sought public comment by releasing a consultation paper (PDF, 1.93MB).

The range of issues included:

  • eligibility for incorporation under the Act
  • public liability insurance
  • responsibilities of management committee members
  • reporting and auditing requirements
  • privacy of personal information
  • voting and dispute resolution
  • fees and penalties.

Submissions closed on 22 April 2005.