Incorporated association rules

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Reasons for having rules

Every incorporated association must have rules. The rules:

  • are a written document
  • guide how your association operates
  • are a contract between the association and its members
  • set out your association's purposes
  • list the rights and responsibilities of members and office holders.

Members should know the rules. They have the right to inspect the rules and obtain a copy on request.

Statement of purposes

Since November 2012, an association's statement of purposes is no longer a separate statement, but is automatically included as part of its rules. 

Associations with their own rules are not required to make changes to adapt to the new laws, but if an association does change its rules, it must include its statement of purposes in the proposed new rules.

Model rules versus own rules

Your association may use the model rules, or create its own rules. Either way, unless an existing association decides not to change its own rules, the rules must address every item listed in Schedule 1 of the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (the Act).

An association using its own rules can choose to do nothing. The relevant provisions of the model rules will be deemed to apply, to ensure the mandatory items listed in Schedule 1 of the Act are addressed. Alternatively, the association can expressly address those items by changing its rules.

Model rules

Using the model rules can save an association the time and expense of drafting its own rules.

There are three items than can be specified to suit an association’s particular circumstances:

  • the association's name
  • its purposes and
  • its financial year.

If an association changes any other items in the model rules, then the association has made its own rules.

Download a copy:

Own rules

Your association may develop its own rules to suit its particular circumstances. For more information, view Own rules - incorporated associations.

You can use Justice Connect's Rules Tool to customise the rules and procedures for your incorporated association.

It is a quick and easy web app that asks a series of questions about how you would like your association to operate.

You will still need to submit your rules to Consumer Affairs Victoria for approval. Your association can only start using the rules once they are approved.

Changing the rules

To change its rules, your association can:

  • notify us that it has passed a special resolution to approve adopting the model rules, or
  • apply for approval to change its rules (after passing a special resolution) and we approve the request.

Your association must take the following steps to change its rules:

1. It proposes the change and notifies members at least 21 days before the upcoming general meeting. The existing rules should specify how this notice must be given (for example, by letter or verbally).

2. At the meeting, your association approves the changes through a special resolution. A special resolution will pass if:

  • at least 75 per cent of the members who vote at the meeting (whether they vote in person or, if the rules allow, by proxy) vote in favour of the resolution to change the rules, and
  • any further relevant requirements from the rules have been met.

For more information on special resolutions, view Meetings - incorporated associations.

3. The secretary or approved delegate must lodge the new rules in myCAV within 28 days of the special resolution being passed. You must also provide:

  • a copy of the notice of the special resolution stating the changes
  • a copy of the rules with all paragraphs numbered, which clearly shows the changes, and
  • payment of the fee. Payment can be made online using myCAV with either a debit or credit Visa or Mastercard, or in person with a cheque using Post Billpay at a Post Office. If you choose to pay using Post Billpay, we will send an invoice to your email address and you will have 14 days to make the payment.

For more information on using myCAV, view myCAV for incorporated associations.

If you wish to change your association’s financial year end date and it is contained within your association's rules:

  • this is considered a change of rules, and
  • you have to pass a special resolution.

For more information on how to change your financial year end date, view Update incorporated association details.