$14 million funding boost for agricultural cooperatives welcomed

04 July 2015

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) welcomes today’s Federal government announcement of a $14 million package to help farmers form cooperatives, as a key measure in the White Paper on Agricultural Competitiveness.

The White Paper, released today, sets out the Australian Government’s roadmap of practical actions to grow our agriculture sector. The Federal Government has made a commitment to provide $13.8 million for a two-year pilot programme to provide farmers with knowledge and materials on cooperatives, collective bargaining and innovative business models.

Commenting on the announcement of the funding, BCCM chief executive, Melina Morrison stated, “The government has responded to our two key industry recommendations; to improve access to information on forming cooperatives so that farmers can compete for success in gaining better access up and down the supply chain; and to hasten the adoption of the new national legislation for cooperatives.”

“This funding commitment shows the government recognises the need for more cooperatives to ensure agricultural producers get a fair return at the farm gate. It’s a turnaround from the pattern of demutualisations of the past couple of decades.

Referring to the upcoming Senate inquiry into the role of co-operatives in the Australian economy, Ms Morrison said, “The government is showing interest in the advantages of cooperatives in a number of areas. Today’s announcement addresses a key recommendation we have also made to the Senate Economics References Committee on the need for more awareness and education on cooperative structures in all areas including agriculture.”

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