Co-op Sector Answer to Competition Deficit - Report
18 November 2015 at 10:20 am
Australia’s top 100 co-operative and mutual enterprises have grown their combined annual turnover by 14 per cent, reaching a $27.9 billion, and have provided important economic competition, a report by the sector’s peak body revealed.
The 2015 National Mutual Economy Report, from the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) and conducted by the University of Western Australia, mapped the size, composition and overall health of the sector in the 2013/14 financial year.
BCCM CEO, Melina Morrison, said the sector already had a vital role in Australia’s economy, but its influence is increasing.
“The Australian economy needs more diversity and competition to help it grow in uncertain times and this is what the CME [co-operative and mutual enterprise] sector is providing already but can do so on an even greater level. We see this in financial services, grocery retail and in health care for example,” Morrison said.
“14.8 million members, 14 per cent growth in combined annual turnover, 7 per cent growth in combined total assets, all demonstrate the economic importance and strength of these enterprises.
“With a Federal Senate inquiry into the importance and performance of our sector on-going, the sector is showing policymakers and the public its strength and the much needed diversity it brings to our economy.”
Along with the turnover of just under $27.9 billion, the combined assets of the top 100 Australian CMEs reached $111.46 billion.
The report said that if the top 10 member owned superannuation funds were included in the aggregate figures, the combined annual turnover for the period would have been around $107.4 billion with combined assets for the same period of $441.9 billion.
“This shows a significant increase over the previous financial year [2012/13],” the report said.
“This growth was particularly strong across co-operatives in the agribusiness and purchasing/shared services area, as well as in health insurance and motoring services.”
For the second year in a row, Western Australian grain bulk handling co-operative, CBH Group, topped the Top 100 list with a turnover of $3.94 billion. Murray Goulburn, Hospital Contribution Fund, HBF Health and Capricorn also made it into the top five with turnovers of more than a billion.
The report also tracked sentiment from co-op and mutual managers have greater confidence, as well as community support, despite responding that government support decreased.
“Compared to last year, it is clear that respondents feel government has not improved its economic environment during the past year,” the report said.
“The past year has shown an increase in the level of confidence CMEs have in their marketing to their members and in delivering their social benefits as a co-operative and mutual enterprise.”