Incorporated Aboriginal corporation explained
An incorporated Aboriginal corporation is a registered legal entity where an Aboriginal-controlled group may become incorporated in order to:
- support the education and housing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
- secure land
- seek greater recognition for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders
- provide legal assistance to Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders
- develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infrastructure
- promote art, performance or music.
Factors to consider
Consider the following if you decide to register as an incorporated Aboriginal association.
This type of business structure requires a governing committee, a secretary, general meetings of members and specified accountability arrangements.
Rules of the association
In order to incorporate, an organisation must already be in existence. Its members can then make an application to any one of the above incorporating agencies, which must be accompanied by a set of rules outlining these matters:
- Qualifications of the members of the association.
- Creation of the executive offices of the association and the procedure for filling those offices.
- Procedure for the settling of disputes between the association and its members.
- Constitution of the governing committee of the association and its powers.
- Procedures for conducting meetings of the governing committee.
- Manner in which funds are to be managed.
- Method of varying, rescinding or creating new rules.
- Method of altering the objects of the association.
As with any incorporated association, these rules form an enforceable contract between association members and its officers. The association must also meet financial accountability and record-keeping requirements, and file an annual financial statement or committee's report.
The formation, regulation and accountability of incorporated Aboriginal associations is provided for in the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).
Victorian Aboriginal organisations can be incorporated with Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC), the Co-operatives Act 1996 (VIC), under the Corporations Act 2001 (managed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission) or Victorian legislation (Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012).
Register as an incorporated Aboriginal association
Which Act and agency?
Decide on the Act and agency which you want your association to be incorporated under. These include incorporation under the:
- Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act) (managed by ORIC)
- the Co-operatives Act 1996 (VIC)
- the Corporations Act 2001 (managed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission)
- Victorian legislation (Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012).
Register with the relevant agency to incorporate. ORIC has useful information on options that will suit your entity best.