In its submission to the Senate inquiry into co-operatives, mutuals and member-owned firms, the BCCM has called for a policy fitness principle to apply to co-operatives and mutuals when government is making policy, in the same way that this test is applied to small business and other parts of the economy. The Senate Standing Committees on Economics inquiry is to examine the role, importance, and overall performance of cooperative, mutual and member-owned firms in the Australian economy. Deadline for submissions closed on 1 July.

Providing six key recommendations, the BCCM submission also points to the paucity of education about the mutual business model in mainstream education.

Commenting on the inquiry, Dr Andrew Crane, CBH Group CEO and BCCM Chairman stated “I believe that the inquiry is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the co-operative and mutual business model and its unique focus on the member.”

Referencing to the submission, BCCM CEO, Melina Morrison said the inquiry was a long overdue look at the contribution of this under-recognised part of the economy and to examine if the regulatory and legislative settings are working for these businesses.

“The collapse in commodities prices and the ongoing effects of the global financial crisis have brought home the need for a mixed economy as a countervailing balance to corporate monoculture. The current focus on the role of small business in the economy has been important in showing the economy to be composed of and strengthened by its diverse parts. A robust mutual sector helps provide diversity across the economy aiding economic resilience”, said Ms Morrison.

Over fifty submissions have been made, most of which are public, reflecting the diversity of the sector. The committee is due to report by 30 November.

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