Establishing a ratepayer / resident / community association

Residents are encouraged to check if there is an existing ratepayer / resident / community association within their area from the City’s Community Directory.

If no such group exists and you would like to establish an association, or see benefits in establishing one, it is recommended you first liaise with the office bearers of an existing group to discuss how they started and to understand some of the benefits and challenges in establishing a group.

Should establishing a group be beneficial, it is suggested that support is obtained from other community members through either calling a public meeting or direct contact by mail.

If there is sufficient support it is suggested that a working group be formed comprising a core group of interested people to work through the formal processes of establishing an association. To create an associated body, it is necessary to develop a constitution, become incorporated, have a bank account and establish appropriate insurances.


A constitution is a basic set of rules that govern how your association/group will operate. It should outline the association/group’s purpose, list the rules of operations and set out the member’s rights and responsibilities.

There are a number of reasons why your association/group should adopt a constitution:

  • It is a requirement before your association/group can become incorporated.
  • It provides information to your members about the purpose of the association/group and guidelines of its daily operations.
  • It can be used to resolve internal conflicts and disputes.

It is recommended that your constitution is reviewed every three to five years and updated as necessary. If you decide to make changes to your constitution, they will need to be adopted by your members and resubmitted to the Department of Commerce.

The Department of Commerce provides a model set of rules for an association or incorporated body. Visit the Department of Commerce to obtain the necessary information.


Incorporation provides a group with its own legal identity, separate from its members. Although there is no legal requirement for a group to be incorporated, incorporation provides a number of benefits:

  • Protects members from being sued, or being individually liable, for the action of the group.
  • Increases the group’s eligibility for grants to undertake projects.
  • Allows the group to enter into leases, open bank accounts and borrow money in its own name.
  • Enables the group’s name to be registered, ensuring no one else can use it.

The Department of Commerce provides a comprehensive overview of the requirements and key points to be undertaken to become an incorporated body. Visit the Department of Commerce to obtain the necessary information.

Once your association is established, it is recommended you advise the City by contacting the Community Information Line on 9400 4705. This will enable your association’s name and contact details to be added to the City’s list of ratepayer / resident / community associations and ensure your group is afforded opportunity to be consulted on matters of interest within your area.