The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) – Australia’s apex body for co-ops – has welcomed new draft legislation that will allow co-operatives and mutuals to raise capital and compete with big banks, insurers and other investor-owned firms.
Australia’s assistant minister for treasury and finance, Zed Seselja, released the draft legislation on a new capital instrument in the Corporations Act for public consultation. When fully enacted, it will enable co-operatives, mutuals and member-owned firms to be more competitive and access the capital they need to grow.
Melina Morrison, chief executive of BCCM, said: “New legislation is needed to make the Australian Corporations Act work better for mutually owned businesses, so that they can compete on a level playing field with other types of firms.”
Over the last nine months, the BCCM has worked with its member businesses, the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) and Friendly Societies of Australia (FSA) to try to positively influence how the government implements the recommendations of the Hammond Review – an independent report on reforms for co-operatives, mutuals and member-owned firms.
“Today we are delighted to see the final tranche of draft legislation that will help to deliver on the government’s promise to our sector. The bipartisan nature of this process has been very encouraging,” said Ms Morrison.
“We are looking forward to seeing the second part of this work with the treasury, which will create a new capital instrument that may be issued by mutuals, enabling them to grow and better serve Australians, whilst protecting their co-operative or mutual ownership structures.”