Australian co-operatives have featured prominently in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2012 Year Book Australia, launched on May 24th at the National Library of Australia in Canberra.
“The ABS 2012 Year Book Australia provides readers with practical examples of what makes co-operatives great, and we are very happy with the finished product,” said Melina Morrison, Director of Australia’s International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) Secretariat. “Co-operatives can be proud of their inclusion and the representation of our sector in the publication."
The Australian IYC 2012 Secretariat coordinated written contributions from more than 25 co-operative, mutual and credit union representatives including Abacus – Australian Mutuals and the NSW Office of Fair Trading.
"The United Nations has declared 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives, and this important sector is covered in five chapters," said Brian Pink, Australian Statistician at the book’s launch.
Since its first edition in 1908, Year Book Australia has presented a range of feature articles of interest to Australian society. The Year Book coverage of co-operatives includes co-operative values and principles, Co-operatives National Law, the history of co-operatives in Australia, the regulation of co-operatives and the diversity of co-operatives.
The ABS publication includes the following sections on co-operative businesses which illustrates the scope and scale of this model in Australia:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Co-operatives, including the history of Traditional Credit Union (TCU) which provides financial services to Arnhem land communities.
- Fishing Co-operatives, the top three of which in 2011 had turnover of $171 million and employed 459 people.
- Private health insurance co-operatives, showing that by the end of June 2011, the not-for-profit sector had 32% of the market share of the private health insurance industry.
- Housing co-operatives, a report from Victoria shows that by 2011, Victoria had 117 housing co-operatives, with approximately 2,400 rental homes across the state.
"It's fitting in this International Year dedicated to raising the general level of awareness of the scale and diversity of coop businesses, that co-operatives have been granted this recognition in the year book," said Greg Wall, Chairman of Social Business Australia and the IYC 2012 Secretariat.
"Co-ops are on the ABS radar and we hope that they will be given the statistical oversight that the sector deserves; we're another corporate form, but one with important differences, and these need to be reflected in the mapping of the Australian business and economic landscape.”