Co-operatives National Law in Queensland
Co-operatives National Law is coming to Queensland
Co-operatives National Law (CNL) was passed by the Queensland Parliament on 16 June 2020. The date for commencement is yet to be announced.
Key implications for Queensland co-ops
- Queensland co-ops will be able to trade across borders, including raising funds and offering memberships, without any barriers. Unless your co-op Rules specifically prevent certain cross-border activities, you can start enjoying these benefits as soon as the CNL commences.
- Queensland co-ops will be able to raise funds by offering Co-operative Capital Units to members or non-members. These instruments can be equity-like, thereby giving co-ops a means of raising non-member equity. Rule changes are required for your co-op to offer Co-operative Capital Units.
- Queensland co-ops that are Small co-operatives, as defined in the Co-operatives National Regulations, will no longer obliged by law to have a financial audit. Instead, each small co-op only needs an audit if required by its Rules, or, if its members direct it to have an audit in a given financial year. Your co-op will need to review whether it is a small co-op, and whether you need to change your Rules to have more flexibility on auditing. NSW Fair Trading provides a useful guide on their website to determine whether you are a small co-op.
- Queensland co-ops should also be aware of the updates to directors’ duties and the clear ability under CNL to conduct meetings and postal ballots using technology, provided their Rules do not preclude these options.