Associations Transition Pack 2

This publication is for: 
Not for profit

This is the second in a series of transition packs to help Associations with understanding the changes for the new law.

This information pack (the pack) focuses on the enhanced AssociationsOnline portal which will be available to users on 1 July 2016. The pack explains how to access the system and lodge applications to meet the transitional requirements of the Associations Incorporation Act 2015.

In this pack:

  • Introduction to the enhanced AssociationsOnline.
  • Transition process - lodging your address with AssociationsOnline.
  • Transition process - changing your rules.
  • Education news.

Going paperless

Your guide to the new AssociationsOnline

AssociationsOnline is a secure online portal provided by the Department of Commerce (the Department) for incorporated associations, industry stakeholders and members of the public to check the status of an incorporated association, purchase copies of documents, submit a range of applications and update association contact information online.

AssociationsOnline is the most efficient way for associations to submit applications to the Department. As an enrolled AssociationsOnline user you’ll enjoy these benefits:

  • accessing your association records online;
  • obtaining rules for your and other associations online;
  • saving paper, postage and money by lodging applications electronically;
  • applications are validated as they are completed ensuring that the submitted documents are processed in a timely manner; and
  • tracking the progress of your applications.

Members of the public will also be able to obtain assistance, purchase and download copies of documents.

To meet the requirements introduced by the Associations Incorporation Act 2015 (the new law) the original AssociationsOnline system is being updated and will be available from 1 July 2016. The enhanced services include more automated functions that will reduce the administrative burden on committee members and association officers.

Getting started

AssociationsOnline is the preferred method for submitting applications relating to incorporated associations to the Department. Anyone using the system for the first time will need to enrol. To begin this simple enrolment process visit AssociationsOnline and follow the prompts to create an account.

Once enrolled, a user is able to:

  • lodge an application to incorporate a new association;
  • link to an existing association (by becoming a primary or authorised user);
  • lodge applications for linked associations including alterations to rules, extensions of time for Annual General Meetings and annual information statements; and
  • update and manage the contact details for their account and of any linked associations.

Linked associations and user types

Two new user types have been introduced to manage an association - a primary and an authorised user. In order to lodge applications on behalf of an incorporated association a user must first link to their association and become either the primary or an authorised user.

It is recommended associations develop appropriate internal processes for nominating, approving, retiring and replacing their primary and authorised users in AssociationsOnline. It is important that appropriate records of the approved users are maintained.

Primary users

There can only be two primary users at a time per association and the person must either be a member of the association’s management committee, or authorised by the committee to act as a primary user on its behalf. Associations must ensure they retain records relating to this.

The primary user will be able to:

  • lodge documents on behalf of the association;
  • add and remove authorised users for the association;
  • manage their own personal details online, for example resetting their password and updating contact details, linking to and retiring from associations; and
  • manage other user accounts attached to the association, for example inviting authorised users and managing requests to become authorised users.

Authorised users

The system also allows for additional users to be linked to an association as authorised users. A person who is an authorised user must be nominated and approved by the committee but does not necessarily need to be a committee member.

Examples of authorised users include:

  • the association’s Chief Executive Officer or manager;
  • a legal or accounting professional acting on behalf of an association; or
  • a member of an affiliate or parent organisation.

An authorised user is able to:

  • lodge documents on behalf of the association; and
  • manage their own personal details online, for example resetting their password, updating their contact details and retiring as an authorised user.

The primary user is responsible for approving requests from people seeking to become authorised users for an association.

Linking to your association

Once you’ve enrolled as an AssociationOnline user, the next step is to search for and link to your association.

To complete this process:

  1. Click the ‘Add an existing association’ button.
  2. Type the name of your association in the search field.
  3. Find your association in the results list and click on the name.
  4. Tick the relevant box to nominate whether you want to become the primary user or an authorised user.
  5. Read and accept the user declaration and click ‘Go’.

If you’ve nominated to be the primary user (and there is no one currently in that role) you will be automatically linked to the association. If you have nominated to become an authorised user it will be up to the primary user to respond to and accept your request.

Once you’ve linked to your association you will be ready to lodge applications on behalf of your organisation.

Need more information

You can find more information about AssociationsOnline in the Quick Reference Guides and Frequently Asked Questions which will be available online from 1 July 2016.

Updating your association address with AssociationsOnline

As explained in Transition Pack 1 once the new law commences all incorporated associations will be required to provide the Department with details of their current address by 29 September 2016.

To complete the process a committee member, authorised by the association, should:

  1. Enrol as an AssociationsOnline user or log in to their existing account – visit
  2. Search for and link to their association’s record.
  3. Go to ‘Manage my account’ and scroll down the list of linked association.
  4. Check the address recorded for the association. If it is incorrect click the ‘Update’ button on the right hand side and enter the new information.
  5. When you’re finished click ‘Update’ again and you’ll be finished.

A step by step guide to changing your rules

Between 1 July 2016 and 1 July 2019 it will be necessary for all incorporated associations to review their existing rules (also known as the constitution) and update them to comply with the requirements of the new law.

This step by step guide will help make this process quick and easy for your association to complete.

Reviewing and writing the rules

  1. Take a look at the existing rules for the association. If you are unable to find the current rules for your association they can be purchased through AssociationsOnline.
  2. Decide whether the association will adopt the prescribed model rules or prepare its own document. If your association chooses to write its own rules the model rules can still be used as a basis and provide some great examples to assist your association in drafting its new rules.
  3. If the association is writing its own rules download a copy of the Change of rules checklist which explains the Schedule 1 requirements that must be provided for in the updated rules.

Passing the changes

  1. When the committee is satisfied with the drafted rules, it’s time to call a meeting to vote on the proposed document.

Note: If the association has taken this opportunity to complete a broader review of its rules and is making additional changes (ie more than what is necessary to ensure the rules are consistent with the new law requirements), or is adopting the model rules it will be necessary to pass these changes by special resolution at a general meeting.

  1. When calling the meeting, remember to give notice to all members in accordance with the time and manner prescribed by the association’s existing rules.
  2. At the meeting make sure there is a quorum present before proceeding to vote on the proposed rules.
  3. The committee may pass a resolution to accept the proposed document at a committee meeting, provided the rules changes relate to a Schedule 1 matter and do no more than to give effect to a requirement of the new law. Otherwise the proposed document must be passed by a special resolution at a general meeting of members.

Lodging the updated rules with Commerce

  1. In order for the updated rules to take effect they must be lodged within 28 days after the committee meeting has been held.
  2. To lodge the changes go to and enrol or log in to the system.
  3. If you haven’t done so already search for and link to your association.
  4. Once you’ve linked with your association go to the ‘lodge application’ button and select the ‘change of rules’ option.
  5. Upload your new association rules or confirm that your association is adopting the model rules. If your association has elected to prepare its own rules you will be asked to complete an additional table telling the Department where each of the Schedule 1 matters is located in the rules.

Notify the members

  1. Once the Department has accepted the change of rules the association will be notified in writing, remember to check your association’s email inbox as we may notify you electronically.
  2. If the changes were made by the committee, on behalf of the association, the final step in this process is to advise the members that the rules have been updated and the changes accepted. To do this the association must include a written notification for members with the notice for the next Annual General Meeting.

Education news

Information sessions

Since the new law education program commenced in February 2016 the Department has delivered over 40 sessions about the new law. We would like to thank organisations who invited us as guest speakers and everyone who attended these sessions.

If you missed a session you can watch the presentation video online and download a copy of the presentation slides .

New fact sheets available

In response to feedback received at our education sessions, the Department has released some new fact sheets to assist associations understand their new obligations with respect to:

  • eligibility requirements to sit on the committee;
  • committee member and officer duties; and
  • answers to your common questions.

All resources about the new law are available online.

Need another transition pack?

In the months before the new law commencement, transition packs will be created to help Associations to understand and comply with the changes

Transition packs main page

Consumer Protection
Guide / handbook
Last updated 28 Mar 2018

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