Associations Incorporation (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill

Second Reading

The Associations Incorporation Act 1985 (the act) regulates the creation, operation and dissolution of incorporated associations in South Australia. The act is administered by the Corporate Affairs Commission, which is part of Consumer and Business Services (CBS).

There are 20,904 incorporated associations registered in South Australia as at 30 June 2018. They represent diverse interests and groups in the community. The size and scale of activities range from special interest clubs who have few members and whose income is derived solely from subscriptions to large organisations that operate businesses. The act should be up to date with commercial and technological developments, and the purpose of this bill is to make minor administrative amendments that will support the transition to a new IT system for managing associations data by allowing for greater use of online forms and email communication.

Incorporated associations may already apply online to CBS to change their public officer details, request documents and lodge their annual returns. Statutory declarations are currently required to accompany applications for incorporation and applications for registration of proposed alterations to rules. The requirements for statutory declarations are incompatible with the development of online processing. It is therefore proposed to amend sections 19 and 24 of the act to remove the need for statutory declarations and to reduce administrative and compliance burdens.

It is further proposed to streamline the act by amending section 64 in order to also allow for service upon incorporated associations by email. To support these amendments, CBS will communicate directly in writing with registered incorporated associations about business process changes that will come with the amending act and developing a new IT system to manage their registration information.

CBS will more broadly communicate the changes via issuing a media release, placing information on the CBS website and within the CBS customer service centre. As well as liaising with key representative bodies, CBS client service officers will also be on hand to offer ongoing support on the basis, of course, that the parliament passes this legislation.

Incorporated associations make an important contribution to the community and to South Australia's economy. Regulations should not overburden associations, particularly small associations heavily reliant on volunteers. The amendments proposed in the bill aim to bring regulation into line with modern technology and business practice and promote greater participation in the affairs of incorporated associations by their members. I commend the bill to members and table the explanation of clauses.