After significant reflection, consultation and consideration the AABAT committee and membership have carried the following resolutions that will enable the organisation to better support our membership into the future.
At the annual general meeting of AABAT held at 7.30pm AEST on 5 October 2022, the members have carried the following resolutions and passed them with a very strong majority:
- the following special resolutions:
- the legal structure of AABAT be converted from a incorporated association to a company limited by guarantee;
- from the date of conversion, the constitution appearing in the form annexed to this notice will be adopted in full replacement of the current constitution;
- from the date of conversion, the name of the organisation be changed to ‘Outdoor Health Australia Ltd’; and
- once the conversion has been completed, the registration of the organisation as an incorporated association be cancelled.
- the following general resolution:
- each member of the committee of management be authorised to do all things necessary to give effect to the resolutions passed at the meeting including, but not limited to, completing and lodging all required forms with appropriate regulators.
Background to the change in entity structure
As AABAT develops, it is important that its legal structure continues to reflect its organisational purpose and supports its operational requirements. As members may be aware, our legal structure is currently a not-for-profit incorporated association, incorporated in Victoria. Under this structure, while ABBAT operates and represents members nationally, it is governed under state legislation.
Having taken substantial legal advice and informed by extensive discussion, it is the recommendation of the AABAT committee that the most common and appropriate legal vehicle for an association of AABAT’s size and intended actions including national representation is a public company limited by guarantee (CLG). As opposed to an incorporated association, a CLG is registered under commonwealth legislation and is governed by the Corporations Act 2001 (Cwth) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
Most of AABAT’s professional peers operate through a CLG legal structure, including Australian Psychological Society (APS), the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), Outdoors NSW & ACT and Outdoors Victoria.
As AABAT increasingly engages with federal legislators, regulators, and national bodies, such as commonwealth departments and health insurers, it makes sense that its legal structure also reflects that of a leading national body.
The AABAT committee and working groups will now undertake to fulfil these resolutions and convert its legal structure from a Victorian incorporated association to a public CLG. It is likely that this change will occur over the remainder of 2022 and into 2023. The Committee will update the membership as the timeline is solidified.
Background to the change in name
A change to the entity brings with it the opportunity to reflect on our name.
In 2018, AABAT was advised that considering an alternative name may support engagement with the government and attract greater funding. A new entity name will also support AABAT aspirations to broaden representation and engagement with the diverse communities of practitioners that sit under the broader ‘tent’ of outdoor and nature-based health and wellbeing modalities.
Our hope is for a name that (1) feels like ‘home’ for the existing community of AABAT, and inspires us to continue forward with warmth and integrity, (2) extends an invitation to the ‘wider tent’ of nature-based practitioners who share our values but don’t necessarily identify as practitioners of Bush Adventure Therapy and (3) clearly communicates who we are to the public, government and other professional bodies.
After much consideration, consultation and discussion, the AABAT committee proposed the name ‘Outdoor Health Australia’. Based on 3 years of sector consultation, trial with government policy makers, medical practitioners and the wider sector, investigation into the range of entities and names that may be appropriate, and advice from commercial and IP lawyers, this name seems to be our best fit for intended purpose, enabling revitalisation and continuation of our community.
Further information about the special resolutions:
Recording from Information session 1
Recording from Information session 2
If you have any questions about the AABAT AGM, the association or these resolutions, please feel free to get in touch at any stage.