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Individuals with common environmental interests or concerns are able to come together to form groups to oppose developments or represent broader environmental concerns.  Incorporating these groups can provide benefits such as challenging bringing proceedings for judicial review of a development.

What is incorporation?

Incorporation is when a non-commercial group of five or more members are registered as a separate legal entity.

Why incorporate?

Incorporation can provide a range of benefits including:

  • establishing a legal identity separate from individual members
  • limiting some legal liability
  • the existence of the group will continue despite membership change

And the group can:

  •  enter into enforceable contracts
  • sue in the corporate name
  • attract funding more easily
  • apply for status as a charity/formally register as an environmental organisation

How do you incorporate?

  1. Choose a name
  2. Establish objectives and a constitution
  3. Authorise an application for registration
  4. Apply for registration

What else do I need to know?

Incorporation involves ongoing costs, administrative burdens and legislative responsibilities.

It is not legally required that incorporated environmental associations hold public liability insurance but it is advisable as it is possible for the association to be sued.

After incorporating the environmental association needs to have a public officer and a committee.  The public officer is responsible for lodging documents i.e. the annual return and financial statements.  The first public officer must be named in the application and the subsequent public officers must notify the Department of Fair Trading within 28 days of taking office.  Penalties are imposed where a public officer does not comply with their requirements.  The committee must consist of at least three members.

The committee is required to meet at least once a year, within 6 months of the end of the financial year (Annual General Meeting).

Want more information?

Read the fact sheet on the Environmental Defenders Office website and the NSW Department of Fair Trading website.

If you would like assistance with an environmental matter or assistance in any other planning, environment or local government matter.  Contact our expert team of planning lawyers, local government lawyers and environmental lawyers in Parramatta on 1800 300 308 or