Landmark laws set to bolster Queensland’s cooperatives’ sector
5 February 2020 at 4:01 pm
Advocates say the bill will boost the competitiveness of Queensland cooperatives
Queensland is set to put in place a nationally-harmonised legislative scheme regulating cooperatives Australia-wide.
The Co-operatives National Law Bill 2020, introduced to state parliament on Tuesday, will reduce costs for cooperatives by creating uniform regulation for the sector and bringing it in line with the rest of the country.
The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) has thrown its support behind the legislation.
CEO Melina Morrison said these laws would make Queensland, the last jurisdiction to come into the national scheme, “a more attractive location to start and grow cooperative enterprises”.
“This legislation will make cooperatives more competitive with companies, encouraging the formation and growth of more, Queensland-based cooperative businesses,” Morrison said.
“As member-owned enterprises they are rooted in local communities and have a particular focus on supporting local jobs and local small businesses. Supporting community-led economic development is a social purpose embedded in the structure of all cooperatives.”
There are currently more than 150 cooperatives in Queensland, operating in a diverse range of industries including agriculture (Sunfresh), disability employment (Nundah Community Enterprises Co-operative), and retail (Killarney Co-operative, Maple Street Co-op).
The BCCM said this bill offers Queensland entrepreneurs a greater ability to choose an appropriate business structure, while also placing the state’s cooperatives on an even footing with other businesses when trading interstate.
Morrison added that these laws give Queensland co-ops better access to capital, and release small co-ops from needing to conduct a compulsory formal audit process.
She said the BCCM, on behalf of Queensland co-ops, recommends the state parliament pass the bill without delay.
“We have been advocating for these changes on behalf of our members and the wider sector for many years,” she said.
“As the last jurisdiction to come into the national scheme, Queensland’s adoption of this legislation cannot come soon enough for the large and small cooperatives serving people in every corner of the state.”