The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) – Australia’s apex body for co-ops – has contributed to the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia’s (CEDA) new report setting out priorities to secure future progress for the country.
BCCM CEO Melina Morrison’s contribution to the ‘Connecting people with progress’ report focuses on the role of co-operatives and mutuals in health and human service delivery – and highlights how co-ops create quality and benefit workers, service users and the economy.
At a CEDA-organised panel event following the publication of the report, Ms Morrison pointed to a co-operative revival in health and human services, with consumer-owned and employee-owned models emerging in sectors such as primary health, disability housing, aged care and disability employment.
In the report, she cited numerous examples of successful co-operatives in these sectors that offer “quality, stability and predictability to participants, and enabling workers – who are co-owners – to co-design the business together and share in any surplus from their labour.
“Rather than distributing surpluses to private investors, co-operatives and mutual enterprises invest in member benefits. Thus, they prevent the leakage of value from vital services,” she said.
Ms Morrison highlighted the value of platform co-operatives in delivering health and human services, as they “have lower transaction costs, invest surpluses in community benefit, protect users and workers from being exploited and have a higher commitment to achieving long term goals”.
She also called on the government to take a number of measures to help support co-operatives and mutuals, including reviewing current regulations and cutting the red tape that makes forming a co-op unnecessarily arduous.
“How we choose and deliver care and support services will define our society in years to come,” she said. “We must encounter this looming challenge with imagination, innovation and co-operation.”
You can access the full report online here.