Improving the governance of incorporated associations
Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts today released a Discussion Paper which aims to improve governance in the 36,900 incorporated associations across NSW.
“Examples of incorporated associations in our communities include sporting clubs, musical societies, arts, crafts, cultural and community groups,” Mr Roberts said.
“Incorporated associations are generally run by volunteers and we need to make their work easier while also ensuring accountability.
“Incorporated associations play an important role in our communities and it is vital that they have the confidence of their members and the community.
“Unfortunately, Fair Trading receives quite serious allegations and concerns about governance within some incorporated associations.
“Strong governance is crucial to ensuring accountability and to help tackle this issue, I have released the Discussion Paper - Improving Governance within Incorporated Associations.”
The Discussion Paper explores 10 focused governance solutions, including:
• The appointment of independent returning officers in certain circumstances;
• Granting public warning powers to Fair Trading;
• Mandatory mediation before going to court;
• Mandatory practice directions and banning powers for the Commissioner for Fair Trading;
• Allowing a member of an association to apply to the Local Court for an enforcement order;
• Providing an oppressive conduct remedy;
• Disclosure of interests to be recorded in an association’s minutes;
• Cancellation of registration on the grounds it is in the public interest to do so; and
• Allowing Fair Trading to take action for misleading or deceptive conduct.
Mr Roberts said it is crucial that NSW has a sustainable, healthy not-for-profit sector and that incorporated associations have the confidence of their members and communities.
“The NSW Government does not want to increase the workload of incorporated associations but wants to see greater transparency and accountability,” he said.
Members of incorporated associations and members of the public can download the Discussion Paper via the Fair Trading website www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.
Submissions will close 6 December 2013.