Senate to report on mutuals

On 2 March 2015, the Senate referred the role, importance, and overall performance of cooperative, mutual and member-owned firms in the Australian economy for inquiry and report by the Senate Economics Committee by 14 May 2015.

The Terms of Reference are:

a.the role, importance, and overall performance of cooperative, mutual and member-owned firms in the Australian economy;

b.the operations of cooperatives and mutuals in the Australian economy, with particular reference to:
i.economic contribution,
ii.current barriers to innovation, growth, and free competition,
iii.the impact of current regulations, and
iv.comparisons between mutual ownership and private sale of publicly held assets and services; and

c.any related matters.

Whilst the Inquiry is expected to look at all sectors including finance and insurance, the motion was supported by Victorian Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie and South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon who have particularly expressed concerns about conduct in the retail supply chain by Coles and Woolworths.

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