Andrew Leigh speaking at the AustralianLabor National Conference
Andrew Leigh speaking at the AustralianLabor National Conference

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) welcomes the commitment to supporting the co-operative and mutual sector in the Australian Labor Party’s National Platform. This comes after a year which has highlighted over 25% growth in the sector. 8 out of 10 Australians are now members of a co-operative and this number is growing. In particular mutual banks, superannuation funds and insurers have become a haven for Australians following the revelations of the Royal Commission into the behaviour of listed financial institutions.

CEO of the BCCM, Melina Morrison, said, “Our sector continues to gain momentum and we are delighted that the part we can play in building a better and fairer Australia is being recognised. It’s another step forward towards ensuring policy changes which will enable us to operate on an even platform with private enterprise. This commitment demonstrates that the Labor Party values the diverse and dynamic modern economy brought by co-operatives and mutuals.

“We applaud the ALP’s recognition of enhanced employee wellbeing at worker-owned firms in addition to their capacity to create economic value and foster community. Moreover, the BCCM recognises the ALP’s commitment to ensuring co-operatives are on a level playing field with private enterprise concerning the ability to access capital, public support, and government grants,” she continued.

“As a means of enabling the establishment of this level playing field, the BCCM supports existing efforts to amend corporations’ law to allow co-operatives and mutuals to access capital without compromising the principle of member ownership, in line with the recommendations of the Hammond Review. Over the past year, BCCM has worked with its member organisations to further the process of implementation. We look forward to continuing this effort.”

The ALP’s recognition comprises part of a bipartisan process for the implementation of the Hammond review. For co-operatives and mutuals to form part of a dynamic and modern economy, corporations law must provide means of accessing capital and government support that does not compromise on their member-owned status.

Ms Morrison highlighted that the existing process of implementing these changes into legislation has received strong support from both parties and expressed appreciation on behalf of BCCM members. BCCM looks forward to working with all relevant stakeholders to further implement this agenda.

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