Starting an association

Consumer and Business Services (CBS) administers the Corporate Affairs Commission and regulates incorporated associations in South Australia.

To incorporate an association you'll need to upload a copy of:

  • your association's proposed rules (sometimes called the constitution)
  • any trust documents connected to the rules, including documents which establish the trust.

The name of the association must be the same as shown in the rules.

Application fee:  $239.00

Before you start

If you incorporate your association, certain information may be made public including:

  • the association's name and registration number
  • the address of the main place of business
  • the rules
  • the name of the public officer.

Eligibility for incorporation

You can apply for incorporation if your association has been set up for one of the following reasons.

  • A religious, educational, charitable or benevolent purpose.
  • Promoting or encouraging literature, science or the arts.
  • Providing medical treatment or attention, or promoting the interests of people who suffer from a particular physical, mental or intellectual disability.
  • Sport, recreation or amusement.
  • Establishing , carrying on, or improving a community centre, or promoting the interests of a local community or a particular section of a local community.
  • Conserving resources or preserving any part of the environmental, historical or cultural heritage of South Australia
  • Promoting the interests of students or staff of an educational institution.
  • Political purposes.
  • Administering any scheme or fund for the payment of superannuation or retiring benefits to the members of any organisation or the employees of any body corporate, firm or person (but only if approved by the Minister).
  • Promoting the common interests of persons who are engaged in, or interested in, a particular business, trade or industry.

An association is not eligible to be incorporated without approval from the commission if one of its main objectives is:

  • to secure a monetary profit for the members of the association
  • to engage in trade or commerce.

If you want to set up an incorporation for any other purpose, contact

Naming your association

Whenever the name of the association is mentioned in the rules, it must have the word 'Incorporated' at the end.

The commission can't incorporate an association if the name:

Check if an association is incorporated

You should search the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Business Name Register before you apply to make sure the name you want is available.

Search Company and Other Registers

Reserving a name

You can apply to CBS to reserve a name for a proposed incorporated association.

Fee: $169.00

Reserve a name

Operating in South Australia

You don't have to operate entirely within South Australia, but the association's public officer must be a permanent South Australian resident.

If you want to open an office or carry out some activities outside of South Australia, you may also need to register as a Registrable Australian Body. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) outlines these requirements.

If most or all of the association's operations are outside the state, incorporation as a South Australian association may not be appropriate.

Refusing incorporation

The Corporate Affairs Commission can decide not to incorporate an association if:

  • it would be more appropriate for the association's activities to be carried out by a body corporate instead
  • it's not in the public interest (with the Minister's consent).

Contact CBS Associations and Cooperatives


Phone: 131 882

GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001

You can also book an appointment with the Associations Team for further assistance.

Page last updated 21 August 2023

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department
Last Updated:
Printed on:
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2023