About co-operatives and mutuals

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Co-operatives and mutuals are member-owned businesses formed to benefit the people who use them rather than shareholders. They are a rational alternative to investor-owned businesses, which prioritise returns to external investors.

Co-ops and mutuals often form in response to a market failure. Once established, they can be highly successful and sustainable enterprises. Co-ops and mutuals have been serving Australians for more than 175 years.

Member-owned businesses shape markets in the interests of the community. They increase competition and choice for consumers while also giving smaller enterprises the opportunity to access larger markets by combining forces.

8 in 10 Australians are members of at least one mutually owned organisation. Co-ops and mutuals have a staggering combined membership of 33.3 million in Australia.

Find out more about what are co-ops and mutuals, their purpose and their benefits.

Want to plan, start and run a co-operative? Our help and advice section has all the information you need.