The Associations Incorporation Bill 2014 which provides for the repeal and replacement of legislation governing incorporated associations in Western Australia was recently introduced into Parliament. New model rules have also been drafted (open for public comment until 3 November 2014) but will be finalised after the Bill’s passage.
The primary objectives of the Bill are to:
- repeal and replace the Associations Incorporation Act 1987 and transfer an association’s incorporation to the new legislation
- require all associations to adopt rules that are consistent with key aspects of the new model rules (a three year transition period applies), failing which the new model rules automatically apply
- introduce a three-tiered system of financial reporting, similar to that which currently applies to Aboriginal corporations, with less reporting for smaller entities and more reporting for larger entities
- align the duties of management committee members and officers of associations (e.g. CEO, General Manager) with those applicable to directors and officers of corporations
- remove trading restrictions applicable to associations (provided associated profits are not distributed to members and are used to further the association’s objects)
- introduce a form of external administration through the appointment of a ‘statutory manager’ when an association is not functioning effectively
- introduce new dispute resolution procedures, both internally through the association’s rules, and externally through the State Administrative Tribunal
- introduce limits on the scope and use of a member’s contact information
- modify the processes for winding up an association.
The Bill aims to bring WA associations law into alignment with comparable laws in other States governing associations, and contemporary expectations and legal principles concerning good governance. It is the most significant reform of WA associations law since the current law was enacted in 1987.
All incorporated associations will need to develop an understanding of the new law, review their existing rules to ensure they align with the new model rules, and ensure their internal governance, record keeping and reporting practices are consistent with the new requirements. While associations have three years to make their rules consistent with the new model rules, the remainder of the legislation and its obligations will apply immediately.
If you require assistance in reviewing and addressing the effect of the proposed new law for your association, please contact Maria Lamattina at Castledine Gregory.