Federal parliament debated the role of co-operatives in Australian communities and the economy and the need to continue working with the States and Territories to implement nationally consistent laws governing co-operatives, at the Monday, 25 June sitting.
Luke Hartsuyker, National Party Federal Member for Cowper, tabled the Private Members’ motion in support of the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives, acknowledging the immense value of co-operatives to the Australian economy and highlighting their important role in delivering services to regional and rural communities.
“Co-operatives are not a passing fad; some of the oldest trading identities in Australia are co-operatives,” said Mr Hartsuyker.
“Because co-operatives operate in the best interests of members, not shareholders, they are able to provide a range of services that may not be available from organisations with a traditional company structure.”
The motion called for changes to Federal and State government programmes which currently only provide help to organisations with company structures, as well as Accounting Standards which treat co-operative shares as a liability.
Chairman of the National Secretariat for the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives, Greg Wall, welcomed the parliamentary discussion and recognition of the importance of co-operative businesses.
“With well over 1700 co-operatives, credit unions and mutuals operating in Australia in all industry sectors, recognition of this sector is overdue.”
“Discussion at a Federal level will allow for the development of a fairer legislative framework for co-operatives,” he said.
The IYC Secretariat has been advocating the adoption of nationally consistent laws throughout the International Year of Co-operatives 2012.
Read Hansard (July 25, page 9)
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