• By Will Leak

Changes to the NSW Associations Incorporation Act: Guide for Indigenous Incorporated Associations

On the back of amendments to the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 (NSW) (the Act), the New South Wales Government have remade the supporting regulations to take into consideration new methods for voting, communication and administration through the Associations Incorporation Regulation 2016 (NSW) (the Regulation). The review and remaking of the Regulations contemplated the impacts of the amendments to the Act during a public consultation period where they were approved by a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) conducted in June 2016.

The RIS critically evaluated the rational and objectives of the Regulations, in addition to the options for meeting these objectives. A cost and benefit assessment approved the Regulations as the alternative that provided the greatest net public benefit.

New South Wales incorporated associations and their directors should be aware of the key changes of the Regulation and any new obligations they have, as the variations of Regulations will affect them in particular.

Key changes to the Regulations

Aside from the various minor simplification changes there are some important differences between the previous 2010 Regulations and those that come into effect on 1 September 2016. Importantly, the revised Regulations also make specific alterations that Indigenous incorporated associations should be aware of. The key changes:

  • make it possible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Associations to transfer incorporation to Aboriginal Corporations regulated under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cwlth);

  • update the procedures to allow for electronic voting;

  • introduce a new recordkeeping provision requiring financial records to be kept for at least 5 years;

  • introduce a non-distribution and wind-up clause into the model constitution;

  • amend the model constitution to account for electronic communications and the use of technology at meetings;

  • add further names to the list of unacceptable names for associations;

  • reduce fees of annual statement lodging for Tier 2 associations (gross receipts not exceeding $250,000) and increase for Tier 1 associations gross receipts over $250,000); and

  • revise all fees to reflect the amount of work required to process the documentation.

What does this mean for our clients?

Clients that are incorporated under this law should consider:

  • Updating their administrative processes in line with the key changes to the Regulations.

  • Seeking legal advice whether their constitution needs amendment in light of the changes;

  • Note the opportunity to transfer incorporation to Aboriginal Corporation, and if considering this, seek legal advice, and

  • That the use of the phrase ‘aboriginal corporation ‘ in an associations name is now an unacceptable name under the Regulations.

To access the Associations Incorporation Regulation 2016 NSW click here.

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