What is a co-operative?
A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily join together to meet common business, social and cultural needs through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
Co-operatives play an important role in our economy and community. They are diverse organisations and are often regionally based supporting a wide range of industries including retail, agriculture, water distribution, manufacturing, taxi services and arts and crafts.
In Western Australia all co-operatives must be registered with Consumer Proteciton.
Types of co-operatives
Two types of co-operatives operate in Western Australia:
This structure allows returns or distributions to members on surplus other than the nominal value of any shares at the time of winding-up. Distributing cooperatives must have share capital.
This structure does not allow returns or distributions on surplus other than the nominal value of any shares at the time of winding-up. Non-distributing co-operatives can choose whether to have share capital.
Is becoming a co-operative the right choice?
The following seven guiding principles distinguish a co-operative from other business structures:
- Voluntary and open membership to anyone willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.
- Democratic member control. Members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).
- Economic participation. Members contribute and control the capital of their co-operative in an equitable and democratic way.
- Autonomy and independence. Co-operatives are autonomous organisations controlled by their members.
- Education, training and information is often provided to members so that they can contribute effectively to the organisation.
- Co-operation among co-operatives helps to reinforce co-operative ideals and further the co-operative business structure.
- Concern for the community. Co-operatives also the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.
Co-operatives National Law
As a result of the implementation of the Co-operatives National Law in Western Australia on 1 January 2017, co-operatives registered in this state can operate in any participating jurisdiction without any additional registration or reporting requirements. As at 1 January 2017, all Australian States and Territories with the exception of Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory are participating jurisdictions.
If you require any information about co-operatives please do not hesitate to contact the staff in the co-operatives unit.
Telephone: 1300 304 074
Postal Address: Locked Bag 14, Cloisters Square WA 6850
Physical Address: Gordon Stephenson House, 140 William Street, Perth 6000
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