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Once the co-operative’s name, rules, and any disclosure statements have been approved, you must hold a formation meeting. Notify prospective members - who would be eligible to join the co-operative under the proposed rules - of the date, time, and place.
If you are forming:
- a new co-operative, at least five prospective members must attend the meeting
- a co-operative group, at least one person from each co-operative must attend.
Before the meeting:
You can also distribute copies of the rules before the meeting, or let people know where they can get them. The formation meeting must elect a:
- chairperson to run the meeting
- secretary to keep a written record of the meeting.
These positions are only for the purposes of the formation meeting.
Vote on the rules
Discuss the rules and any disclosure statement to make sure everyone understands them. If prospective members want to change the rules, you must get the Registrar's approval for the changes and then hold another formation meeting. You can avoid this delay by discussing the rules with prospective members at the drafting stage.
If there are no changes to the rules, propose that the co-operative be formed and the rules adopted. Two-thirds of prospective members must vote to adopt the rules and to become a co-operative.
Elect a board of directors
Vote to elect the co-operative's board of directors according to the co-operative's rules.
Some people are not allowed to direct or manage a co-operative. They include anyone:
- under 18
- who is an auditor of a co-operative or a partner, employee or employer of the auditor
- who has declared bankruptcy
- prohibited from being a director or managing a company under the Corporations Act 2001
- convicted of an offence involving:
- the promotion, formation or management of a body corporate
- fraud or dishonesty
- a breach of the Corporations Act 2001.
These people cannot be involved in managing a co-operative within five years of being convicted or, if given a prison sentence, released from prison.
Apply for membership
Get members at the formation meeting to complete an application for membership, which must include their:
- full name
- street and postal address
- number of shares and face value
- membership amount paid
Use our Application for membership or for additional shares (Word, 70KB) as a guide to drafting your own membership form.
Authorise a contact person
Attendees at the formation meeting must authorise a contact person to liaise with the Registrar during the registration process.
Sign the formation documents
Once members have voted to adopt the co-operative’s rules, the chair and secretary of the formation meeting must sign:
- two copies of the rules
- a copy of the disclosure statement (if you are forming a trading co-operative).
Sign the application to register your co-operative
Download, complete and lodge our Application to register a co-operative (Word, 214 KB).
Please read the form carefully to determine how many directors must sign.