Details of motion to the Centenary Conference of the National Party in Victoria, by Senator Bridget McKenzie.
The conference passed a motion in support of co-operatives and mutuals without amendment.
Statement of the Motion:
The Senate Economics References Committee tabled its final report into the Co-operatives
and Mutuals sector in March this year with 17 recommendations. The Committee identified that legislative and administrative barriers have resulted in an uneven playing field for the sector with consequential impairment of growth and innovation for this effective business model.
The positive impact of co-operative and mutual models of business in promoting sustainable growth in rural and regional Australia is well documented. It is important to provide a legislative, policy and educational environment that affords equal treatment
and fosters the growth of this business model.
Following from the Committee’s recommendations it is proposed that the Nationals Party
1. Commence Co-operatives National Law in all states and create a single national regulator.
2. Define mutual companies in the Corporations Act and legislate for a new equity capital instrument that mutuals can issue to members.
3. Require knowledge of the co-operative and mutual sector (CME) to be a part of the professional accreditation process for accountants, lawyers and business advisers.
4. Encourage the formation of new CMEs as collaborative solutions for growth and innovation by:
a. developing clear information and advisory resources suitable provided at all stages in the establishment, governance and regulation of co-operatives
b. working with professional bodies to review financial reporting standards and develop
financial reporting models that are appropriate for member-owned enterprises.
5. Reduce the level of inadvertent government discrimination by:
a. giving portfolio responsibility for the sector to a specific Federal Minister
b. requiring the collection of and ready access to data on the sector on a national basis
c. including information on co-operative and mutual business models on relevant government websites, particularly on business advisory services
d. removing barriers that exclude CMEs from government grant or assistance programs across all portfolios and jurisdictions.