The Zoo and Aquarium Association is an incorporated association in Victoria and is regulated by Consumer Affairs Victoria under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981. As an incorporated association the organisation is a ‘legal person’ – that is, a legal entity that stays the same even if its members change.
As a membership organisation the Association is ultimately controlled by its members. The members elect the Board from the membership which governs the Association on behalf of the members. The Board appoints committees, made up of members, to specialist areas such as species management and animal welfare. These committees manage their area and report to the Board. The Association employs staff which work with the committees to implement the plans set by the Board.
The principal governance instrument is the Association’s constitution which is a requirement of the Associations Incorporation Act 1981. This document defines how the organisation is to be run; for example, how the Board is to be elected, what the Board is empowered to do and how Association meetings are to be run. The Board sets policy which the members agree to follow as requirement of membership. All committees have terms of reference which define their role and how they are to operate. Once a year an Annual General Meeting is held, where the Board and committees report to the membership, the members can ask questions, put forward and vote on changes to the rules and elections are held. The Association’s governance follows the Australian Standard (AS 8000 -2003) Good Governance Principles.
The structure of the Board and Committees is shown in the diagram below.