The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) in Australia has launched Get Mutual, a new online resource to help people interested in setting up and running co-operatives.
The co-operative and mutual sector accounts for 7% of Australia’s GDP, but there is a lack of general knowledge about the sector and its benefits.
“Co-operatives have always been used by groups to address their shared social and economic issues,” said Melina Morrison, chief executive of the BCCM, giving the example of farmers wanting fair returns for produce, parents wanting affordable childcare and communities coming together to launch renewable energy ventures.
“Co-operatives are coming back into favour since the global financial crisis as a self-help response to chronic issues such as unemployment and affordable housing,” she added, “but we have lacked a coordinated effort to provide the education and information resources to help people help themselves.”
The Get Mutual platform, which has been supported by HCF, Australian Unity and NRMA, hopes to address the lack of free and accessible resources by providing co-operative toolkits and links to reports and useful organisations. It also hopes to connect groups with advisors and experienced professionals to aid co-operative development.
In addition, the website has published the Pathfinder Public Service Mutuals case studies, developed with funding from the Department of Social Services, which provides information about successful Australian co-operatives that deliver services in the areas of housing, disability and health care.