CHRL Executive Communique New Constitution adopted

An extra General Meeting was held on 4 July 2018 to seek members approval to pass a new constitution under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009.

10 members attended the meeting which was held in the Offices of CHRL.

The new constitution was unanimously passed by special resolution and will now be lodged with the Office of Fair Trading (NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation) for registration.

Background

The Constitution was last reviewed and updated in 2012 in response to revisions made to the Associations Incorporation Act 2009.

Since that time a new Regulation (Associations Incorporation Regulation 2016) has been introduced. The 2016 Regulation prescribes a new model constitution with this taking precedent over any matters an Associations constitution may be silent on.

The Executive Committee agreed at the end of 2017 that a review of the constitution was required in light of the new model constitution and regulation, and also to resolve any areas of ambiguity.

Approach

A subcommittee of the Executive comprising the President, Vice President Treasurer, and Secretary were formed in 2017 to work on reviewing the constitution and reporting back to the executive.

A review of the 2012 CHRL constitution against the new model constitution showed a number of significant gaps. While the 2012 CHRL constitution covered many of the same requirements, there were parts of the constitution where it no longer aligned with the requirements of the Act or the new Regulation.

As a result of the initial review, the Subcommittee used the model constitution as the foundation of the redraft, and then customised it to capture the objectives and operations of Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare.

Key points

The revised constitution is now compliant with the Act and Regulations. While the new Constitution is fundamentally the same as the 2012 Constitution, it is clearer and provides a number of new elements that will help the Association. key changes include:

  • Allowing the association to use modern technology (ie: reference to paying bills by cheque is removed; and emails; on-line registers; tele/video conferencing are permitted)
  • Aligning the nomination process at AGMs with the model constitution and removing previous ambiguity
  • Formalising the operation of sub-committees in accordance with model constitution
  • Reducing the Executive from 8 to 7 members, while noting that members can be co-opted to help the Executive through sub-committees.
  • Affiliated groups (formally group members) now do not have to supply a list of their members when they apply but do need to show that the purpose of their incorporated entity is aligned with CHRL.
  • Affiliated Groups (being an incorporated entity) are clarified to have one vote, removing the conflicting clauses in the previous constitution.
  • Addition of new Part that formalises the nomination and approval of sites as CHRL Landcare sites – this formalises the current practice and ensures that the Association has visibility over sites where members carry out Landcare activities. This is necessary to improve governance.
  • Dispute resolution clause—revised so that it now applies to staff as well as members, and references the CHRL Grievance Policy
  • General meeting quorum—now requires any 7 members, not 7 members from 7 separate sites. This is because there are members now who are not affiliated with a site, or who work across several sites, and also reflects ongoing changes to types of activities Landcare conducts (ie: blitzes, short-term projects) rather than being associated with only one location.