Setting up an incorporated association (or any business) is always great news. But it can also be a bit of a bummer when you find out how much work goes into the application process.

Don’t stress, though! Setting Up An Incorporated Association In Western Australia is not as complex as it might sound, and Sprintlaw has a team of lawyers who can help. 

In WA, the process for setting up an incorporated association is dealt with in the Associations Incorporation Act 2015 (WA), so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the key provisions. 

To apply, you’ll need to complete the process with The Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (Consumer Protection), which regulates incorporated associations in WA. 

Where Do I Start?

The process for setting up an incorporated association in Western Australia can seem complex at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s go through each step. 

1. Authorise Someone To Apply

Before you make an application, you need to appoint or authorise someone to lodge the application for the organisation to Consumer Protection. 

2. Choose A Name For Your Organisation

When it comes to choosing a name for your organisation, you need to make sure it is appropriate and compliant with Consumer Protection’s requirements. For example, your name may not be approved if it is:

  • Offensive or undesirable
  • Likely to mislead the public about your purpose
  • Identical to an existing incorporated association’s name
  • Not allowed by the Act

You’ll also need to ensure that you use the word ‘Incorporated’ or ‘Inc’ at the end of the name – this just lets people know that you are protected by limited liability. 

3. Elect A Management Committee

A management committee needs to be formed so that they can manage the internal affairs of the association. They have several duties, including:

  • Acting in good faith
  • Exercising reasonable care, skill and diligence in business activities
  • Complying with the set of rules 

So, what set of rules are we referring to?

4. Create A Set Of Rules

If you know or have created a constitution before, this is basically the same thing (except it doesn’t have to be called a constitution). 

In the context of incorporated associations, these governing documents are simply referred to as a ‘set of rules’ that set out how internal affairs will be managed. For example, it could set out details around membership or how meetings will be run. 

In other words, it will tell you how the organisation will be operating. 

It’s important that your set of rules are compliant with the requirements set out in Schedule 1 of the Act. For example, you need to include your association’s purpose. 

Alternatively, you could use the model rules provided by the Associations Incorporation Regulations 2016 (WA), however it’s always a good idea to chat with a lawyer to see if these model rules would be appropriate for your business. 

5. Decide On Your Organisation’s Purpose

To set up an incorporated association, you need to have a purpose that falls into one of the following categories:

  • Religious, educational or charitable purposes
  • Promoting literature, science or the arts
  • Sports or recreation
  • Medical treatment 
  • Political purposes
  • Improving a community centre
  • Conserving environmental resources
  • Promoting students or staff’s interests
  • Any other purposes approved by the Commissioner

It’s important that you have a lawyer work on the wording of your purpose with you, as this might be the cause of some legal issues later down the track. For example, you want to make sure the scope of your purpose is consistent with the activities your organisation is engaging in. 

6. Lodge Your Application

The final step is to submit your application through the AssociationsOnline portal. You’ll also need to attach a copy of your set of rules here. 

If you’ve chosen to use the model rules, your application should include a separate statement setting out:

  • The name of the association
  • Your association’s purpose/s
  • The quorum for a general meeting
  • The quorum for a meeting of your organisation’s management committee
  • The period of the first financial year of the association

In addition, you’ll need to pay a required fee of $208 if you’re using your own rules. If you’ve used the model rules, this fee is $168. 

Need Help Applying?

If you’re not too sure about what you need to set up an incorporated association, or not sure where to start, Sprintlaw can help. 

We offer a package to help you apply and pay the required government fee to set up an incorporated association in Western Australia. If you would like a consultation on your options going forward, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or for a free, no-obligations chat.

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