Co-ops and mutuals contribute more than 8% to Australia’s GDP

Australia has more than 2,100 active co-op and mutals with more than 29 million members

The National Mutual Economy Report 2017 (NME 2017) reveals the contribution CMEs make to the national economy. According to the report, the total value of the goods produced and services provided by CMEs in FY 2015/2016 was the equal to 8.3 per cent of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The contribution made by CMEs to the economy was larger than the construction, mining, manufacturing or agriculture sectors.

NME 2017 captures the performance of Australian CMEs, mapping their size, composition and the overall health of the CME sector. The report research partner was the University of Western Australia, and it was sponsored by HCF and published by the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM).

Research found there were at least 2,135 active CMEs generating a total value of $140 billion and holding assets worth $713.6 billion on behalf of their 29 million members.

The combined annual turnover for the top 100 Australian CMEs (excluding the member-owned superannuation funds) for FY2015/16 was approximately $29.9 billion. The turnover of the Top 100 CMEs has grown by an average of 6.6 percent annually for each of the last five years.

The Top 100 CMEs held combined assets of more than $152.9 billion at the end of FY 2015/16.  The value of assets grew by 10.5 percent during each of the last five years.

Top co-ops and mutuals in Australia

Melina Morrison, chief executive of Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals, said: “As this report shows, the CME sector is tried and tested. The total value added of the CME sector is $140 billion – 8.3% of GDP – and CME assets have grown by 10.5% over a five-year period, with turnover growing at 6.6%.

“CMEs directly employ over 146,000 people and are important anchor institutions. The 2,135+ CMEs in Australia provide core business support to over 174,000 businesses, mostly small and medium enterprises.

“In many cases, businesses are dependent on the services provided by their CME for their viability. Nevertheless, the CME sector remains the ‘ninja’ economy, hiding in plain sight. While 85% of Australian adults are members of at least one CME, the majority don’t know they are – a recent BCCM poll found that only 12% of Australians know they are a member of a co-operative or mutual.

“This is despite CMEs playing an important role in mainstream Australian life. Over four million people watched this year’s AFL Grand Final, perhaps without realising that the majority of AFL clubs are owned and run by their supporters, who are their members. CMEs have an impact beyond merely financial impact. How to measure that impact is something the CME sector is in the process of answering – how do we adapt accounting methods to better show the shared value CMEs create?”

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