• 8 in 10 Australians are members of at least one of the more than 2000 co-operative or mutual businesses. Member owned businesses exist in every State and Territory of the Commonwealth. Australia has over 2,000 co-operatives and mutuals and a combined membership base of more than 29 million. (BCCM Blueprint for an Enterprising Nation, 2018)
  • “EY modelling shows that approximately $0.75 of additional value is created in the local economy for every dollar spent in a member-owned business.” (BCCM Blueprint for an Enterprising Nation, 2018) 
  • “Australian CMEs support local charities, schools, sporting groups, community organisations, businesses (including other CMEs) and educational foundations. They fund community safety, health and environmental initiatives. These contributions are often significant and integrated into the business models of CMEs. IMB Bank distributed over $600,000 to community-based projects in 2018 and CBH Group donated more than $1.6 million through their Community Investment Fund to regional events, organisations and partnerships.” (BCCM National Mutual Economy Report 2019)
  • Including industry super funds, CMEs account for 7-8% of GDP. They account for $132 billion in total value added to the Australian economy each year 2018. (BCCM Blueprint for an Enterprising Nation, 2018)


  • Across Australia, there are 229 agri-business co-operatives, 189 of which are involved in farming, fishing or forestry and 40 irrigation co-operatives. (BCCM analysis of co-operative registrations, June 2020) These co-operatives comprise almost 24,000 individual members. (BCCM Agricultural Blueprint, 2020)
  • The earliest agricultural co-operatives emerged in the dairy industry on the NSW coast in the 1880s. (ABS 2012 Yearbook)
  • Almost a quarter of all Australian agricultural businesses are members of at least one farming, fishing or forestry co-op. (BCCM Agricultural Blueprint, 2020)
  • Co-operatives handle and store 40 per cent of our grain, package and export 40 per cent of our blueberries, process and market 60 per cent of our almonds and process and export most of our Western Rock Lobster fishery. In dairy and meat processing, co-operatives represent the remaining Australian producer-owned firms. (BCCM Agricultural Blueprint, 2020)
  • Of the more than 300,000 people directly employed in Australian agriculture, forestry and fishing, a significant number are employed by co-operative member businesses, as well as directly by the co-operatives. (BCCM Agricultural Blueprint, 2020)
  • Agriculture and fishery co-operatives are net exporters, making a positive contribution to Australia’s balance of trade. (BCCM Agricultural Blueprint, 2020)
  • Co-operatives are owned by Australians, pay their taxes in Australia and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.
  • The largest single co-operative in Australia is Co-operative Bulk Handling (CBH), which handles and markets grain crops from nearly 4,000 farms. CBH Group has total assets of more than $2.5 billion, employing around 1,100 permanent employees and up to 1,800 casual employees during the harvest period. CBH’s grower members produce an average of 14.4 million tonnes of grain annually, about 40-50 per cent of the entire Australian grain production depending on the season, and contributing almost $4 billion to the state’s economy each year. CBH is a key exporter of Australian grain, which provides a significant benefit to the wider Australian economy. In 2019, 13.8 million tonnes of Western Australian grain was exported to over 20 countries including Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan and China. (CBH, 2020)
  • Norco is a 100 per cent Australian farmer owned dairy co-operative with 304 active members on 205 dairy farms in northern NSW and south-east Queensland. Norco processes around 214 million litres of milk each year. (Norco, 2020)
  • Over the past 70 years, Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative (GFC) has grown to become the largest rock lobster exporter in the world and one of Australia’s largest and most successful co‑operatives. It is 100 per cent owned by fishermen and license holders supplying the Co‑operative and is operated for the benefit of members. With an annual turnover in excess of AU$400m, GFC is a major exporter for the WA economy supporting more than 500 fishermen, employees, and their families along a thousand kilometres of WA’s coastline. (Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative, 2020)
  • Almondco’s membership includes more than 85 per cent of all almond growers in Australia, or around 160 growers in total. (Almondco, 2020)
  • Lenswood Apples is responsible for around half of South Australia’s apple crop. It has developed new export markets and strategic alliances with China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the UAE. (Lenswood Apples, 2020)
  • Marquis Macadamias is wholly owned by over 180 macadamia grower-shareholders in NSW and Queensland. It is the largest and most successful macadamia processor in the world. It provides high quality work in leading manufacturing facilities to around 350 people, with 40 permanent staff and around 300 seasonal staff. It is a key local employer and source of income, and it supports local businesses in both regions. (Marquis Macadamias, 2020)
  • Northern Co-operative Meat Company (NCMC) is one of Australia’s largest meat processing co-operatives. It is 100 per cent owned by its 1,000 members – made up of graziers, pork producers and operators – and it employs more than 900 people. (NCMC, 2020)
  • Coleambally Irrigation Co-operative Limited (CICL) is a member owned co-operative that provides irrigation and drainage services to nearly 500 farms. (CICL, 2020)
  • Genetics Australia Co-operative is Australia’s largest artificial breeding supplier, supplying half of the genetics used by Australian dairy farmers. (Genetics Australia Co-operative, 2020)
  • Norco won the 2020 Canstar Blue award recipient for Most Satisfied Customers for Full Cream Fresh Milk. (Canstar, 2020)
  • CCW Co-operative Limited is Australia’s largest member owned wine grape co-operative and has approximately 550 grower members who proudly produce close to 200,000 tonnes of wine grapes annually. This amounts to 11% of Australia’s wine grape production. (CCW, 2020)
  • The Barossa Co-op is Australia’s largest and longest standing retail co-operative, with over 23,000 members. For every dollar spent at The Barossa Co-op, an additional 76 cents of value is created for the community, including members and suppliers. (The Barossa Co-op, 2020)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services

  • 10 per cent of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) members are co-operatives (15 out of 144).

Banking and Financial Services

  • Industry superannuation funds are on track to overtake self-managed super funds to become the dominant players in the $2.7 trillion retirement savings system within the next two years. (AFR, 2019, Industry super to dominate at $1 trillion by 2024)
  • Customer owned banks are smaller than shareholder owned banks but still manage to return a higher proportion of their profits to communities, charities and member supported activities. (BCCM Blueprint for an Enterprising Nation, 2018) 
  • Customer-owned banks provide services to around 4 million Australians. They consistently are among the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the Australian banking market. (COBA, 2020)


  • ArchiTeam Co-op serves 15% of Australia’s Architects. Its membership are predominantly smaller practices providing services for renovations and new houses. It has over 700 members and 1,800 employees across the network. (Architeam, 2020)



  • Common Equity Housing Limited is the largest community housing organisation in Victoria, supporting more than 100 rental housing co-ops with 2,000 properties and 4,000 members and managing new co-op housing developments.

Insurance and Risk Protection


Retail and marketing

  • The Barossa Co-op is Australia’s largest and longest standing retail co-operative, with over 23,000 members. For every dollar spent at The Barossa Co-op, an additional 76 cents of value is created for the community, including members and suppliers. (The Barossa Co-op, 2020)

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