Opportunity Knocks: The competitive advantage of co-operatives and mutuals

18 November 2016

Watch political representatives voice their support for the CME sector. View extended version.

On 9 November, co-operative and mutual leaders from across the country gathered at Old Parliament House for the third annual BCCM Leaders’ Summit to to discuss and debate the business strategies, disruptions and innovations to give CMEs the competitive edge.

The Summit brought business best practice literally to the table with keynotes, panels and CEO roundtables examining how CMEs can apply the competitive characteristics of CMEs to emerging markets in food production and agriculture, social care and human services, fintech and P2P business, infrastructure investment and sport.

Highlights from the Summit:

Taste of Australia Industry Dinner

Co-operative and mutual leaders gathered on the evening prior to the summit for the annual Taste of Australia Industry Dinner. Taking place in famous surroundings of King’s Hall, MC for night, the AFR’s political editor Laura Tingle, ably guided the 150 guests on a journey linking co-operatives, co-operative produce and politics over the course of our curated menu.

Guest speakers for the night included the Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell AO.

In his speech, the Deputy Prime Minister reiterated his strong support for the co-operative sector and his passion to see the sector flourish in Australia. Focusing on the benefits of agricultural co-operatives to farmers and the economy more broadly, the DPM said stated the co-operative agenda and its core messages must continue to be taken to the centre of political decision making in Canberra.

He said co-operatives give the greatest power to the weaker players and this should be championed. Concluding his remarks, he said the sector needs to find their allies, track down the sceptics and convert them by seeing strong policy to benefit the sector put before those in Parliament House.

The nights second guest speaker, Kate Carnell AO, outlined her role in supporting small business and family enterprises and ensuring policy is introduced to guarantee the “engine room” of the nation’s economy is supported effectively. Ms Carnell said the co-operative business model is a model that matters for Australia and for the new generation of workers.

Pointing out the importance of collaboration to small business and the self-employed, Ms Carnell said there is a strong place for co-operatives to give these small players the opportunity to come together.

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