Adapting to the new incorporated associations laws

Information on adapting to the new incorporated association laws is also available in other languages.

On 26 November 2012, the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (and its associated Regulations) replaced the Associations Incorporation Act 1981.

Transitional arrangements to help associations adjust to the new laws were in place from 26 November 2012 to 25 November 2013. This transitional period has now ended. The fee waivers and reductions that were in place during this period no longer apply.

This page outlines how incorporated associations can ensure they comply with the new laws.

On this page

Status of the incorporated association

Any association incorporated under the old Act remains so under the new Act. The incorporation date is not affected and the certificate of incorporation remains valid.

Statement of purposes

Your association’s statement of purposes is now automatically deemed to be part of its rules.

If your association applies to change its rules, its statement of purposes must be included in its proposed new rules.

Rules

Note: Delays in processing of rule changes

We received a large number of applications for rule changes during the transition to the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012.

While we are working to process these as quickly as possible, there may be some delays in notifying applicants whether their rule changes have been approved. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

We will contact you when your application has been processed.

The legislation allows incorporated associations to continue operating under their old rules while awaiting our approval of a rule change.

Changing rules or own rules

New associations wishing to operate under their own rules, or existing associations changing their rules, must incorporate 23 required matters into their rules. These include:

  • the association's name and purposes
  • members’ rights and obligations
  • procedures for resignation and cessation of membership
  • the process for appointment and termination of the secretary
  • preparing and keeping minutes of general and committee meetings
  • enabling members to access minutes of general meetings, including financial statements submitted at a general meeting
  • members' right of access (if any is specified in the rules) to committee meeting minutes.

For more information, view our Own rules - incorporated associations page

Associations using their own rules

Associations using their own rules are not required to change their rules.

If your association uses its own rules (that is, not the model rules), these continue to be valid, but once members decide to make any changes, the rules must also address every item required under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012. Some consequences of the changes for associations using their own rules are set out on our How your existing own rules are affected page.

If your association’s own rules do not address all the items required by the Act, the relevant provision of the new model rules addressing that item is deemed to be included in your current rules.

For more information, view our:

Associations using model rules

If your association uses model rules, it should review the new model rules to determine if they are suitable for its purposes. The number of rules has increased from 36 to 77, as explained on our Changes to the model rules page.

If your association uses model rules and did not notify us about its rules by 5pm on 25 November 2013, its current rules were automatically replaced with the new model rules.

The new model rules address all items the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 requires to be included in the rules. If your current rules do not address all the items required by the new Act, the relevant provision of the new model rules addressing that item is deemed to be included in your current rules.

For more information, including access to download the new model rules, view our:

Public officer replaced with secretary

Under the new Act, the term ‘public officer’ has been replaced with the term ‘secretary’. If this means your association has two roles called secretary, view our Changing the public officer to secretary page.

Any documents authenticated by the public officer under the old Act are not affected.

The secretary may continue or complete any task started by the public officer. We will assume this is the same person unless informed otherwise.

For more information, view our Secretary - incorporated associations page.

Financial statements

The old 'prescribed' or 'not-prescribed' reporting structure has been replaced with a three-tiered reporting structure. Depending on its revenue, your association is classed as tier one, two or three:

  • Tier one: less than $250,000
  • Tier two: $250,000 - $1,000,000
  • Tier three: more than $1,000,000.

New format for submitting financial statements

We have sent the annual statement in a new form to associations with financial year end dates on or after 26 November 2012. Alternatively, you can download, complete and lodge an Annual statement - incorporated associations (Word, 225 KB). Lodgement details are on the form.

The secretary (formerly public officer) will be responsible for lodging the annual statement with us.

Instead of sending the annual statement form one month before the association's financial year end date, we will now send it one month after. Your association will have five months from its financial year end date to hold its annual general meeting, and then must submit the annual statement one month following this.

Transitional options for submitting statements

Any association incorporated under the old Act can choose to prepare and submit financial statements in accordance with the old Act, but only for financial year end dates before 30 June 2013.

For example, an association with a financial year from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2012 can choose to submit financial statements under the new tier system or the old ‘prescribed/non-prescribed’ system.

An association with a financial year end date on or after 30 June 2013 must submit financial statements under the new tier system.

If an association chooses to submit its financial statements using the ‘prescribed/non-prescribed’ system for this reporting period, it cannot use the new annual statement form. The secretary must contact us for a lodgement form, stating whether the association will be reporting as prescribed or non-prescribed for the 2012-13 reporting year.

For more information, view our:

Ongoing processes

Any resolution, appointment or notice made under the old Act is deemed valid under the new Act.

Any actions we took under the old Act are deemed to have been taken under the new Act.

Any annual statements related to financial year end dates falling before 26 November 2012 continue to be due. The requirements of the old Act continue to apply.

Receive email updates

Victorian incorporated associations receive notifications via our email updates. To ensure your committee does not miss important information, subscribe to our Not for profit email update on our Email updates page.

Last updated: 13/04/2014

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