The Senate Economics References Committee has published its report on its Inquiry into Cooperative, mutual and member-owned firms.
The report contains useful data on the scale and extent of the sector as well as an overview of current state and federal legislation governing co-operatives and mutuals.
While most of the 17 recommendations are aspirational, the following specific recommendations may facilitate better regulation of the sector:
The committee recommends that a mutual enterprise is explicitly defined in the Corporations Act 2001, and its associated regulations.
The committee recommends that the role of directors in mutual enterprises is defined in the Corporations Regulations to align with the proposed definition of a mutual enterprise in the Corporations Act.
The committee recommends that APRA set a target date for the outcome of discussions with the co-operative and mutuals sector on issues of capital raising and bring those discussions to a timely conclusion.
The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government examine proposals to amend the Corporations Act 2001 to provide co-operative and mutual enterprises with a mechanism to enable them access to a broader range of capital raising and investment opportunities.