Welfare System Review notes role of co-ops and mutuals

30 June 2014

The interim review of Australia’s welfare system was released today by the Federal Government, noting co-operatives and mutuals, their role in building communities in regional Australia and the role they can play in improving outcomes in disadvantaged communities.

Titled A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes, the report  establishes four pillars of reform and includes co-operatives and mutuals under the fourth pillar, “Building Community Capacity”.

Read more on the role of co-operatives and mutuals and case study examples on page 122 of the Full report. Extracts below:

Mutuals and co-operatives have played a significant role over many years in building communities in rural and regional Australia. Co-operatives and mutuals are autonomous, economic organisations formed to meet the needs of their members. They are premised on self-help and empowerment rather than aid and charity. In developing intergenerational self-reliance co-operatives help to reduce welfare dependency.

They provide jobs for local people, offer goods and services and use procurement practices that support local business. They are grassroots businesses owned and operated at a local level and their profits remain in the community contributing to local economic development. They are a great example of social and economic participation. Their importance is particularly apparent in periods of economic downturn when other businesses may take the decision to close or relocate in response to external shareholders recalling capital.

Mutuals and co-operatives can play an important role in disadvantaged communities. With appropriate support they can be established to provide training and jobs, as well as goods and services for low income people. They are a vehicle for social and economic participation for both individuals and communities.

Mutuals and co-operatives have a long history of building community capacity in Australia. They could play an important role in improving outcomes in disadvantaged communities.

The following Report documents are available to view, read and download on the Department of Social Services website:

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