The Associations Incorporations Act 1981 was replaced on the 26th November 2012 with the Associations Incorporations Reform Act 2012. It is important that you understand the changes to the laws which dictate what an incorporated association can and must do to act in an legal manner.
Rules of Incoporation (Constitution)
Every incorporated association must have a set of rules generally called Rules of Incorporation or your Constitution, these rules operationalise the laws set out by the Act to assist organisations to function legally. To help incorporated associations to operate within the law Consumer Affairs create model rules which organisation can choose to use, they can also choose to create their own rules, however if creating your own rules you must ensure they reflect the Act in all areas where compliance is required.
Model Rules vs Own Rules
Your association may use the model rules, or create its own rules. Either way, the rules must address every item listed in Schedule 1 of the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012. Many organisations begin with the Model Rules and make changes to suit their particular governance requirements however all compulsory items must be included within your rules, if you do not make provision for certain items then the law will read them in to your Rules of Incorporation anyway. In any matter that the model rules make provision but the rules of an incorporated association do not make provision, the provision of the model rules shall, in relation to that matter, be deemed to be included in the rules of the incorporated association.
Using the model rules can save an association the time and expense of drafting its own rules. There are three items than can be specified to suit an associationâ€™s particular circumstances:
the association's name
its purposes and
its financial year.
Before accepting the model rules your organisation needs to read and ensure they fit the governance of your organisation. If an association changes any other items other than those listed above in the model rules, then the association has made its own rules.
Your association may develop its own rules to suit its particular circumstances. It may wish to use the model rules as a guide when drafting its own rules. Even if your association has its own rules, these must still address all the items in Schedule 1 of the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012. An association must have its own rules approved by Consumer Affairs Victoria when it first registers and any subsequent changes there after.
Information obtained from Consumer Affairs Victoria www.consumer.vic.gov.au/clubs-and-not-for-profits
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