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What your Victorian incorporated association needs to know about the new Regulations

27 November 2023

The Association Incorporation Reform Regulations 2023 came into effect on 18 November 2023 and will affect a number of Victorian incorporated associations.

There are four key changes to be aware of.

1. New reporting thresholds

What’s changed?

Reporting tiers have changed. The revenue thresholds are now aligned with those used by the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) for small, medium and large charities. You can see the new thresholds and the reporting rules for each tier here.

Who does this affect?

This affects all Victorian incorporated associations, except those that are registered charities and only need to report annually to the ACNC. Many associations may now find themselves in a lower reporting tier with simpler reporting requirements.

What do you need to do?

Check to see if your association is likely to fall into a different reporting tier. The new tiers will apply to reporting for the financial year ending on or after 1 July 2024.

2. New fees

What’s changed?

The new Regulations have changed the fees your association may need to pay for lodging certain applications with Consumer Affairs Victoria (for example, to lodge a change to the rules, to change the association’s name, or to register a new association). Some fees have increased substantially and some fees have decreased.

Who does this affect?

All incorporated associations and any group considering incorporating a new association.

What do you need to do?

Review the new fees here.

3. New threshold for voluntary cancellation

What’s changed?

It is now easier for associations to access the voluntary cancellation process, which is a simpler and cheaper way to end an incorporated association. An association can now voluntarily cancel its incorporation if it has assets under $50,000 (increased from the previous limit of $10,000).

Who does this affect?

All associations and particularly those that are looking to end their association in the near future.

What do you need to do?

Nothing, unless your association is exploring its options for winding up.

4. New model rules

What’s changed?

The Regulations have introduced some changes to the model rules. The key changes are to:

  • support associations to use modern communication technology, including at meetings (rules 9, 18, 35, 62)
  • introduce new processes for disciplinary appeals. If a member appeals against a decision to discipline them, that appeal will no longer be decided by the general members of the association at a general meeting. The appeal must now be considered by an ‘appeals subcommittee’ of unbiased people appointed by the committee (rules 23-24)
  • clarify the rules for appointing and paying a mediator to resolve an internal grievance (rules 27-28)
  • require the committee to maintain a conflict of interest register (rule 65), and
  • improve grammar and interpretation in a variety of clauses.

You can read the new model rules here.

Who does this affect?

The changes will affect your association differently depending on whether it has adopted the model rules or is using its own rules.

As a refresher – when an incorporated association sets up, it can adopt a template set of rules called the ‘model rules’ or write its own rules that meet legal requirements. If your association has made any amendments to the model rules other than to include the name of the association, its financial year and its purposes it will be deemed to have adopted its own rules (this is even if the rules still say ‘model rules’ at the top).

If your incorporated association has adopted:

  • the model rules – as of 18 November 2023, you are automatically governed by the new model rules
  • its own rules – unless your rules do not comply with legal requirements, these changes will not affect you. Where your rules do not comply with legal requirements (that is – if your rules do not address one of the 23 matters that must be addressed in a Victorian incorporated association’s rules under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (Vic)), the equivalent clause in the model rules is ‘read in’ to your association’s constitution. For example, if your rules do not contain a grievance procedure as required by the Act, the procedure in the new model rules will apply to your association.

What do you need to do?

If your association is governed by the new model rules, you should make sure your committee and your members are aware that you have a new set of rules. While it isn’t strictly legally required, it could also be a good idea to pass a special resolution at your next general meeting of members to formally note the new model rules. Make sure you update any links to your rules on your association’s website or internal systems.

If your association decides that it does not want to continue using the model rules, it can write its own rules that meet legal requirements (for example, using our Vic Rules Tool).

The content on this webpage was last updated in November 2023 and is not legal advice. See full disclaimer and copyright notice.