About co-operatives and mutuals

Large group of women waving at camera - aerial photo

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 31 million in Australia.