In the past few weeks, the co-operative and mutual sector has garnered a lot attention following the proposed takeover bid of the country’s largest co-operative, CBH Group.

Writing in the Business Spectator, Melina Morrison, CEO of the BCCM, has called for an even playing field for the sector with shareholder-owned businesses. Pointing to the modernity, efficiency, competitiveness, commercial focus and core values co-operative and mutual enterprises like CBH Group, Norco and Rabobank, she states at a time of record public distrust in business, these values are their competitive edge in many markets.

Citing the issue of careless legislation, Ms Morrison points out that co-operatives and mutuals have fewer sources of capital, lack access to government funded industry growth programmes and must negotiate disparate regulations across the states.

On 17 March, the Senate’s Economics References Committee handed-down their report into their examination into the role, importance, and overall performance of co-operative, mutual and member-owned firms, which has received strong industry endorsement as a roadmap to begin to level the playing field for the sector.

The committee have given 17 wide ranging recommendations highlighting the various barriers to innovation, growth and free competition faced by the sector and provided Federal government a complete reform agenda to address the barriers. Read more here.

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