Changes to NSW association laws from 1 September 2016

Amendments to enhance the way incorporated associations are administered and to clarify the way associations operate took effect on 1 September 2016.

Following three years of public consultation, the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 has been amended to include a new Associations Incorporation Regulation 2016 with effect from 1 September 2016. It is intended the changes to the Act and the new Regulation will assist associations comply with the legislative requirements and improve governance.

The key changes include the following:

  • the official address of an association will now be an address in NSW where the public officer can generally be found and where documents can be served on the association by post (but not a post office box).
  • a new provision for keeping financial records and minutes of meetings electronically and providing that financial records be kept for at least 5 years.
  • amendments to the model constitution which will automatically apply to all associations that have adopted the model constitution. If an association has its own constitution and it fails to address a matter in Schedule 1 of the Act, the provision in the model constitution relating to that matter will automatically apply.
  • allowing for electronic ballots if this is permitted under an association's constitution.
  • the fee for lodging the annual statement of financial affairs has reduced for Tier 2 [small] associations (gross receipts less than $250,000) and has increased for Tier 1 [large] associations. In general, fees have been revised to reflect the amount of work required to process the documentation.
  • clarifying the duties and liabilities of committee members removing the need to reserve a name before lodging an application to register an association or change an association's name.

No registration fee will be charged for a period of one year from 1 September 2016 for any association wishing to update its constitution as a result of the amendments to the legislation and register the change.

Visit the Changes to the associations incorporation laws page on the Fair Trading website to find out how the changes to the association laws will affect your association.