Communications & Media

Murray Goulburn’s cheese-maker bid shows co-ops strong health

BCCM | 25 October 2013 This offer is only available for new customers only -

The new business council of mutual business leaders set up to champion member and customer owned business models – the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) – says that bids by successful co-operatives like the Murray Goulburn takeover offer for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, announced last Friday,was a sign of the sector’s strong commercial health and potentially offered far reaching benefits for Australian producers and farming communities.

BCCM CEO Melina Morrison said: “Warrnambool is Australia’s oldest cheese and butter processor and it’s heartening to see a well-established producer owned co-operative like Murray Goulburn make a bid to keep this a home-grown business.”

“The various bids for the dairy processor will be decided on their merits, but everything else being equal, co-operatives have the added advantage of ensuring a domestic stake in the business and a point of influence at every stage of the value chain –from the farm to the shelf.”

Morrison said the presence of co-operatives and mutuals in the economy adds business diversity and a unique ownership structure that drives benefits back to members who are the local owners and managers of the business.

“Diverse business forms are good for competition and choice for the consumer and their existence acts to mitigate risk in our business economy.”

Visiting international co-operative education expert, Dr Chris Cooper said: “Listed businesses are often focused solely on their share price and the need to make quick profits for the benefits of a limited group of institutional or high value shareholders rather than concentrating, as co-operatives do, on the needs of the member, customer and the community. Co-operatives are adaptable and flexible and in the interests of their members always seeking new and profitable opportunities.”

Morrison said the scale and scope of the member and customer owned businesses is not widely understood or appreciated but the sector combined represents a membership base of more than 13 million. The combined turnover of the top 100 co-operative and mutually owned businesses was almost $18 billion and there were some 1600 co-operatives in all industry sectors from agriculture, marketing and retail, to automotive, health, housing, social and financial services.

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New Business Council to give voice to Australia’s co-operative and mutual enterprises

BCCM | 30 August 2-13

Today will see the rise of a new force on the Australian business landscape with the launch in Melbourne of The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM).

Chief executives of leading Australian co-operative and mutual businesses celebrated the launch of the BCCM, which will spearhead a campaign and policy agenda to raise awareness about the role and power of member-owned and mutual businesses in a strong diverse economy and healthy fair community.

According to inaugural Chairman, Dr Andrew Crane, CEO of Western Australian grain handler and Australia’s biggest co-operative, CBH Group, the formation of the Council represents an important milestone in the national economic conversation in this country.

“Our businesses have shown remarkable resilience in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and we’ve been able to sustain strong outcomes for our members and the local economies in which we operate – together through this Council we have a enormous contribution to make to national conversations about a sustainable economy,” Dr Crane said.

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Chinese-Australian co-operative links forged in ag-sector

Co-operative News | 10 August 2013

Australian agricultural co-operatives recently hosted a Chinese trade and research delegation under the Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement (ACACA) aimed at strengthening bilateral co-operation and opening up trade and research links between the two countries.

Australia agricultural co-operatives recently hosted a Chinese trade and research delegation under the Australia-China Agricultural Cooperation Agreement (ACACA). Signed in 1984, the ACACA agreement facilitates exchange visits between Australia and China agricultural co-operatives with the aim of strengthening the economic and trade co-operation between the two countries.

The visit was a fruitful two-way exchange to promote ongoing bilateral co-operation, with opportunities for the Chinese to better understand Australian co-operative business models and methodologies, and for the Australians to learn about the challenges and initiatives for agricultural co-operative development in China.

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals assisted the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry with the tour itinerary and facilitated many of the meetings.

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ESOP of the Year Awards

Sommerson’s Melina Morrison meet up with guest presenter, Senator Ursula Stephens, at the ESOP of the Year Awards, Friday 24 May, Shangri-la Hotel, Sydney. The ESOP of the Year Awards recognise excellence in employee ownership and engagement – presented by Employee Ownership Australia and New Zealand.

The end of the international year of co-ops

ABC  Local | 2 January 2013

Jen Fleming talks to Melina Morrison, Director of the Australian Secretariat of the International Year of Co-operatives and Peter Knock, CEO of the Co-op Bookshop about the challenges and influence of co-ops today.

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Smooth co-operators step up after GFC

Claire Dunn, Sydney Morning Herald | 3 December  2012

How can co-operative enterprises build a better world? That was the question at the National Co-operatives Conference held in Port Macquarie recently as part of the 2012 United Nations International Year of Co-operatives.

Drawing 250 delegates from co-operatives spanning agriculture, retail, credit unions, building societies, housing, medical practices, automobile associations and renewable energy projects, the conference celebrated the achievements of the co-operative structure in Australia and made plans to develop the sector beyond 2012.

The director of the Australian Secretariat for the International Year of the Co-operative, Melina Morrison, said the conference message was clear – co-operatives are one of the fastest growing modes of business, and are playing an increasingly vital role in the post-GFC economy.

The first challenge, Melina said, lies in better communicating the benefits of belonging to a co-operative.

“Because co-operatives don’t have large advertising budgets, they deliver good value for money to their members but often fail to communicate them. For example, an average mortgage with a building society or credit union costs about $75,000 less over the life of the loan than if it was taken out with a commercial bank.”

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Our Time to Shine

The co-operative business model could bring more benefit to regional Australia. Melina Morrison talks about the International Year of the Co-op. Play ABC Country Hour podcast


Dame Pauline Green is the first woman President of the International Co-operative Alliance in its 116 year history. Elected in 2009 at the General Assembly, Pauline argued that the time is right for radical change in the priorities of the ICA, and called on members to rally to help her achieve the sort of global body that the size and reach of the movement deserves.

Dame Pauline Green’s blog, Humanitus, follows her International Co-operative Year journey.

Humanitus is defined as a manner becoming mankind – it is derived from the latin word ‘humanus’ meaning; pertaining to mankind, humane, cultured. My passion – from my years as a European politician to my leadership roles in the co-operative sector, has been to remain close to the lives of the people I am representing. In politics, elected by the people, to act in their interests through political action. In my co-operative life representing our members, by helping to build people centred businesses. To me these are both real democracy in action.

Read Dame Pauline Green’s blog, Humanitus
Read Dame is the world’s first global, digital campaign to spread the benefits of cooperation through the tradition of story-telling.

Stories connect people through the power of words and the power of pictures.

Stories tell the facts and they connect to our emotions, so your story of cooperation can make a lasting impact. delivers the UN’s message “Cooperative enterprises build a better world” to the global public in International Year of Cooperatives  2012.

Social Business Australia

Social Business Australia (SBA) was created in 2009 to assist all forms of social business to develop and grow in the competitive environment of the real economy. SBA provides a platform for developments in the national and international social business movement to be shared with the Australian business community, the public and the media. We encourage debate and discussion on the merits of moving to a more values-based mixed economy.

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