19 March 2021
An updated version of BCCM’s Community Investment for Australian Co-operatives Handbook is now available for download via the Get Mutual resource hub.
The Handbook is a guide for communities considering forming a co-operative and using it to fund activities to benefit their community. For practitioners, it provides information about co-operatives and the regulatory environment for fundraising by co-operatives.
Since the first edition of the handbook was published in 2016, the environment for co-operative capital raising in Australia has been significantly streamlined:
- Co-operatives National Law has been adopted in all states and territories
- ASIC confirmed it has no role as a regulator in co-operative capital raising
- It was clarified that equity crowdfunding legislation has no impact on co-operatives
- New free tools to assist co-ops were launched by the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals, including the Co-op Builder and the Capital Builder.
Examples of community investment for co-operatives
Sea Lake & District Co-operative Ltd
In October 2015, a co-operative was formed in Sea Lake, Victoria, to re-open the local hardware store. A hundred people out of a population of 616 turned up at the initial public meeting to float the idea of a co-operative. 60 founding members of the co-operative raised $200,000 in shares. The same community bought out a local hotel in 2019: The Royal Hotel Co-operative.
Hepburn Community Wind Farm
Hepburn Wind is the owner and operator of Australia’s first community-owned wind farm, at Leonards Hill, about 100km north-west of Melbourne. The 4.1 MW wind farm hosts two turbines that produce enough clean energy for over 2,000 homes.
The Barossa Co-op
The co-op was founded in 1944 as a community buyout of the existing Sheard’s department store in Nuriootpa. The Barossa Co-op has now evolved into an agglomeration of nine retail businesses deployed in and around an exceptional regional shopping centre. It has over 23,000 members, employs 300 people from the local region and is committed to procuring from local produce suppliers and contractors.