Introduction: Community organisations

The law can be uncertain in relation to community organisations so clarity is important regarding operations and structure. The most common legal structure is the incorporated association. Voluntary, non-profit groups are the main target of this chapter.

Often people want to form a group to pursue a common goal, such as regenerating a local creek or forming a local netball club. Community organisations are important and most people will either be part of a community organisation or will have to deal with one.

It is important to be aware of the basic operation and structure of community organisations and to understand the key legal requirements for running them.

This chapter does not contain comprehensive information about every form of community organisation. Nor does it set out the law as it relates to these organisations in detail. It contains an overview of the most common legal structures available to community organisations (and their advantages and disadvantages) and information about other general legal considerations to bear in mind when running a community organisation.

The content of this chapter is directed only to not-for-profit community organisations.

For more information on issues raised in the Community organisations section, seeMore information” and the free resources on Justice Connect Not-for-profit Law’s Information Hub (at www.nfplaw.org.au). Justice Connect is an accredited community legal centre that has a specialist service, Not-for-profit Law, that helps not-for-profit community groups.