Australian co-operatives and mutuals said they will continue to work with the re-elected Liberal and National coalition government.
The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) said it looked forward to continuing collaboration with the re-elected government, particularly in the interest of competition, consumer standards and business model diversity.
The country’s Labor Party had pledged to establish a Growth and Productivity Taskforce, a measure that had the support of BCCM.
“Prime minister Scott Morrison has a strong track record of backing co-ops and mutuals,” said Melina Morrison, CEO of the BCCM.
“As treasurer, he supported all the Hammond inquiry recommendations and worked towards levelling the playing field for co-operative and mutual enterprises. As prime minister, he and assistant minister for treasury and finance, Zed Seselja, presided over the passing of legislation that allows capital raising for co-ops and mutuals.”
She added: “We look forward to working with the re-elected government to continue its work to unwind the red tape holding back the sector. In particular, regulation needs to be updated so that states and territories, as well as federal jurisdictions, are able to regulate co-ops as consistently as any other business.”
BCCM also recognised the role played by senator Bridget McKenzie, chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Mutuals and Cooperatives, and deputy leader of the Nationals in supporting the co-operative sector.
But Ms Morrison thinks that regulatory changes are required for co-ops and mutuals to compete with corporate businesses.
She said: “Recent reforms in capital raising legislation have laid the groundwork for further co-operation between BCCM and government. The coalition has demonstrated that it understands that policy, legislative and regulatory actions can help co-ops and mutuals fulfil their potential and in turn deliver a wide range of public policy objectives.
“BCCM is thrilled with the support that co-ops and mutuals have received from all parties, and we would like to thank ministers, senators and staff for all their hard work. We will continue to engage across the aisle to create a more resilient and community-focused economy.”