Bill Speech: Associations Incorporation Reform Amendment (Electronic Transactions) Bill 2015

Ms SPENCE (Yuroke) — I rise to speak in the debate on the Associations Incorporation Reform Amendment (Electronic Transactions) Bill 2015. From the outset, I indicate that I am delighted that the Andrews Labor government is getting on with cutting red tape and simplifying regulations for incorporated associations that do important work in so many communities, including many in my electorate of Yuroke.

The bill introduces online smart forms and replaces the majority of paper-based forms and processes. These reforms will benefit over 38 000 registered incorporated associations across Victoria, and major upgrades have taken place at Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) to expand IT capacity in preparation for this move. The changes outlined in the bill will also ensure that incorporated associations with less than $250 000 in annual revenue will no longer be required to submit a copy of their annual financial statements to the registrar when submitting their annual statement. Ninety per cent of Victorian incorporated associations are in this category, which is referred to as tier 1. Many of the smaller organisations that we as members of Parliament work with in our communities will see a significant benefit from these changes.

The new online myCAV account will allow secretaries of incorporated associations to nominate a delegate to lodge documents on their behalf, which will assist associations who have members who may not be adept at utilising the new suite of online functionality. While I am confident that the majority of associations will derive enormous benefit from this system, I am pleased that the government has taken into account the needs of all associations. I know that there are many organisations in my community that will be pleased with these changes. In the Yuroke electorate, Hume City Council provides a range of funding to local organisations, including through an annual community grants program. Last year 137 community groups shared in over $342 000 in funding from this particular program. The work of those groups provides vital social support to a huge range of residents. Those groups and programs should in turn be supported at every opportunity.

In 2011, Hume City Council changed the eligibility requirements for community grants, whereby incorporation became a requirement for subsequent grant applications. As a result, a large number of previously unincorporated associations have incorporated, and Hume City Council staff have been very helpful in assisting community groups to make this change. There are many associations in Yuroke that will benefit from these changes, and no doubt the number will continue to grow.

I am pleased to note that broad support has been received for these reforms from peak bodies such as Vicsport, the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria and Clubs Victoria as a result of extensive consultation. I am also pleased to note that Consumer Affairs Victoria is planning to inform all incorporated associations via direct mail or email, and it will provide a wide range of educational resources, including information sessions and regional presentations. This comprehensive communication process, which will continue through to the end of 2015, will ensure that the transition to the new myCAV system is as smooth as possible. I congratulate the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation on her role in these changes. I commend the bill to the house.