Upcoming law changes for incorporated societies

A summary of the key changes included in the Incorporated Societies Act 2022

The Incorporated Societies Act 2022 was signed into law on 5 April 2022 but societies won’t need to do anything immediately. There is a transition period of several years to allow societies time to become familiar with, and prepare for, the new regime.

To comply with the new Act societies will need to:

Review how members apply to join their society

Members will need to consent to become a member of a society. Societies will need to make sure they have processes to ask for, and record, that consent.

Review their committee and officers

  • Each society will need to have a governing body (for example, a committee), it won’t be enough just to have officers.
  • The new law specifies who will qualify to be an officer of a society.
    • For example, a person must consent in writing and certify that they are not disqualified and must be over 16 years of age. A person cannot be an undischarged bankrupt, prohibited from being a director or promoter of a company, disqualified from being an officer of a charitable entity, convicted and sentenced for certain offending (for example, a crime involving dishonesty), subject to particular orders (for example, a banning order), or unable to comply with any qualifications for officers contained in the society’s constitution.
  • Committees will need to have at least 3 members, and a majority of the committee members must be members of the society.
  • All officers will also have defined duties that are very similar to duties of company directors and include such things as acting in good faith and in the best interests of the society or club.
  • Each society will be required to have a contact person whom the Registrar of Incorporated Societies can contact when necessary.

Comply with new financial reporting standards

While some societies will be able to continue preparing and filing financial statements as they do currently, other societies will need to prepare and file financial statements in accordance with new standards. The size of the society will determine which standards must be met. Large societies will also need to have their financial statements audited.

Ensure they have documented dispute resolution procedures

All societies will need to have procedures for resolving disputes and other grievances between members and between members and the society. Those procedures must then be set out in their constitutions (rules).

Review and update their rules

The society’s rules will need to include certain provisions that comply with the new law, for example acceptable dispute resolution procedures and the nomination of a not-for-profit entity to which surplus assets are given if the society winds up. Societies may need to add some new rules or change existing ones so that they match the new requirements.

Reregister their incorporated society

Societies will have a bit of time to transition and complete their reregistration — around 4 years. The reregistration process will likely involve reregistering on the Incorporated Societies Register, and providing us with an up-to-date constitution (rules  document). Until then societies will continue to operate under the existing legislation (Incorporated Societies Act 1908).

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We will use this website as the main gateway for everything incorporated societies need to know about new requirements. Check back for the latest information.

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