Change text size:   Increase font size   Reduce font size  |   Print page:   Print this page
  |   Contact us   
Standard fact sheet.
Large print fact sheet.

Running an association 

Incorporated associations 

Incorporation benefits an association and its members. However, it also brings a number of responsibilities.

Committee members and the public officer are primarily responsible for ensuring an incorporated association complies with its statutory and reporting obligations.

Failure to comply with these obligations may lead to the issue of a penalty notice, prosecution, or in some instances, cancellation of the association's incorporation.

Incorporation of associations 

An application for incorporation of an association must be authorised, in the approved form and include:

  • the proposed name of the association
  • the official address
  • the proposed constitution
  • a statement of objects
  • the name of the first public officer.

An association must pass a special resolution to change its name, objects or constitution. NSW Fair Trading must receive an application within 28 days of the resolution.

The public officer must advise Fair Trading of a change of official address within 28 days after the current address becomes obsolete or unusable.

Refer to sections 6, 10 and 12 to 14 of the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 (the Act) for more information.

Top of page

Confirming an association's status 

A free online register of NSW incorporated associations is now available by visiting the NSW incorporated associations online register.

It provides key information about incorporated associations registered in NSW, including an entity’s incorporation name and number, date of incorporation and registration status.

If you require more detailed information please contact Registry Services on 1800 502 042 or email for assistance. 

In addition, the ASIC Search Company and Organisation Register is regularly updated to reflect any new or ceased incorporated associations.

Top of page

Management of associations 

An association must establish a committee to manage its affairs. The committee must include three or more members, over 18 years of age and at least three of whom reside in Australia. The public officer may be a member of the committee.

Members of the management committee must disclose any interest in a matter that conflicts with their ability to perform their duties. They must not use their position or information acquired as a committee member dishonestly.

A former committee member must ensure that all documents of the association in their possession are delivered to the public officer within 14 days of vacating office.

Refer to sections 28 and 31 to 33 of the Act.

Top of page

Association records 

The committee must ensure the association keeps and maintains the records of the association required by the Act or otherwise required for the efficient running of the association.

For information on the registers and other documents that should be kept and maintained by an association visit the Association records page on the Fair Trading website.

Refer to sections 29, 31 and 50 of the Act.

Top of page

Public officer 

An association's committee must appoint a public officer who is over 18 years of age and a resident of New South Wales.

The public officer is, by virtue of that office, an authorised signatory for the association.

The committee must fill any vacancy in the office of public officer within 28 days of that vacancy and the new public officer must advise Fair Trading the details of the appointment within 28 days of taking office.

A former public officer must ensure that all documents of the association in their possession are delivered to a committee member within 14 days of vacating office.

Refer to sections 34 to 36 of the Act.

Top of page

Official address 

The official address must be an address in NSW where a premises of the association is located, or where the public officer resides, is employed or carries on his or her business.

The official address must be an address where mail can be sent and where the public officer can be contacted. The official address cannot be a post office box.

The public officer must advise Fair Trading of a change of official address within 28 days after the current address becomes obsolete or unusable.

Refer to sections 6 and 13 of the Act.

Top of page

Annual general meetings 

The associations annual general meeting (AGM) will take place within 6 months of the close of the association's financial year or within a timeframe allowed by the Director-General.

A newly incorporated association must hold its first annual general meeting within 18 months of registration.

Association’s are required to submit their financial statements for the previous financial year to the annual general meeting. The nature of the financial statements submitted to the AGM must be in accordance with the category of association, either Tier 1 or Tier 2.

Refer to sections 37, 44 and 48 of the Act.

Top of page

Financial reporting 

The Act divides associations into two tiers for reporting purposes.

Larger, or Tier 1 associations, whose gross receipts exceed $250,000 or current assets exceed $500,000 are required to submit audited financial statements each year to the members at the AGM.

Smaller, or Tier 2 associations are required to submit a summary of their financial affairs to the AGM.

Associations must lodge annual financial summaries in the approved form with the Director-General within 1 month after the AGM.

Refer to sections 42 to 49 of the Act.

Top of page

General obligations 

An association must not secure a monetary gain for its members. The association itself may make a profit, and it may use its profits to further the objects for which the association was established. Members may only receive legitimate payments for service from the association.

An association's full name (including the word 'Incorporated' or the abbreviation 'Inc') must appear in legible characters on any letter, statement, invoice, notice, publication including website, order for goods or services or receipt in connection with its activities.

If an association wishes to cancel its incorporation, the Director-General must approve any proposed distribution of surplus property.

A person must provide the Director-General with information or documents as requested concerning the affairs of an association.

Refer to sections 40, 41, 50, 65 and 85 of the Act.

Top of page

Charitable fundraising 

Many organisations conduct fundraising appeals in order to finance their charitable activities.
If you have any enquiries about charitable fundraising, call 9895 0011 or email

Do we have obligations under any other legislation? 

Associations must comply with any relevant State and Commonwealth legislation that applies to its operations.

Visit the following organisations for more information:

Top of page

Need more information? 

Contact Registry Services
PO Box 22
Bathurst NSW 2795
Ph: (02) 6333 1400
FreeCall: 1800 502 042

Top of page

Get a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader so you can access PDF versions of our information.