Strong bipartisan support for Australian co-operatives
Would you prefer to be a part of an organisation that operates solely in your interests or one that has to balance the needs of their shareholders with yours?
This concept of putting customers first is the main theory behind cooperatives.
A motion in support of Australian co-operatives and the International Year of Co-operatives was recently put to the House of Representatives.
In an encouraging move for the sector, the motion received overwhelming support from the Labor Government and the Liberal-National Opposition.
The parliament acknowledged that co-operatives create diversity in the Australian economy and that they play an important role in delivering services to regional and rural communities.
The movement is gathering pace in Australia with 1,800 co-operatives across the nation and more than 7.5 million members. The top 100 Australian co-ops, including banks, were responsible for turning over $14.7 billion last year alone.
bankmecu CEO, Damien Walsh says as a co-operative, bankmecu has been able to offer better rates and lower fees to their customers because the bank reinvests the profit it earns back into the business.
“The community and environment also benefits from this co-operative approach to banking either directly through our more responsible approach to investment and lending or as a consequence of a percentage of our after-tax profits being invested in a variety of community and environment projects.
“All in all, it is our customers and the community that comes out on top,” Mr Walsh said.
Interesting facts - did you know?
- There are 1 billion owner / members of co-operatives globally.
- Co-operative enterprises employee 20% more people than all multinational corporations put together.
- The top 300 co-operatives in the world have a turn over of more than $US1.6 trillion which is equivalent to the GDP of Canada.
- The United Nations estimated in 1994 that the livelihood of nearly 3 billion people or half of
world’s population at the time were made secure by cooperative enterprise.
- There are 1,800 co-operative businesses and 108 co-operative banking institutions in Australia.
- An estimated 7.5 million Australians are member shareholders of co-operative enterprises – more than the number of Australian private retail investors*.
- In 2011, Australia’s Top 100 co-operative enterprises turned over $AUD14.7billion**.
- All profits go back to their customer owners or members as dividend payments, better prices and improved services.
- Australia has the third largest co-operative banking sector (credit unions, building societies and banks) after the US and Canada.
- Australian co-operative banking institutions hold $83 billion in assets and serve over 4.6 million Australians.
To read more about how co-operatives are building a better world, please visit http://stories.coop/
*Source: Latest Australian Shareholding study showed approximately 7.26 million people, or 43% of the adult Australian population, own shares.**Co-operatives Australia Top 100 List of Co-operatives, Credit Unions and Mutuals – http://www.australia.coop/.