Want to launch a co-op? Don’t know where to start? Australia’s first co-op builder will be free and online from next month.
The Farm Co-op Builder has been developed by the national Farming Together program and will be launched on June 6. Developed in conjunction with Australia’s peak body for co-ops, the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM), the online tool has been written by some of the country’s leading experts in co-op law and education.
The Farm Co-op Builder will:
- Make it easier to put together the key paperwork you need to register as a co-op
- Help plug the information and resources gap for farmers and the experts advising them
- Show how to write a compliant constitution (the rules for how the business operates) and disclosure statement (how the co-op will put the money together from its member investors)
- Link to other industry resources.
It will be launched at the national Farming Together forum at Adelaide Convention Centre on June 6. Entry to the day-long forum is free due to Australian Government support. Attending the forum will be experts to help explain how to use the Farm Co-op Builder.
“This tool will make it easier for people to set up, register and then run their co-operatives,” said Farming Together project director Lorraine Gordon. “It is a valuable DIY tool for start-up co-ops and offers great support for those ready to expand.”
Melina Morrison, CEO of the BCCM said: “This is a monumental step forward for the development of co-ops in Australian agriculture – and for the entire co-op sector. Recent Government inquiries into business competition have recognise that co-operatives are an important way for small, regional and ag-based businesses to compete in markets that favour larger players.”
“We look forward to seeing more co-ops able to get set up and running with this new resource,” said Greg McNamara, chairman, NORCO milk co-operative and also chair of Farming Together’s industry advisory group.
Farmers from across Australia are expected to attend the Farming Together forum on June 6. They will be hearing from farmers who have used the program to form or expand co-operatives and collaborations as well as experts offering practical ‘how-to’ advice. Free farmer registrations for the Adelaide conference are now open at www.farmingtogether.com.au
BACKGROUND: The 2015 Harper Competition Review recommended that raising awareness of co-operatives would promote their use and potentially strengthen the bargaining position of small businesses dealing with large businesses. And the 2016 Senate Economics Reference’s Committee’s inquiry into co-operatives recommended that it should be easier to set up and run a co-operative in Australia.
ABOUT US: Farming Together is a two-year, $13.8m initiative from the Australian Government designed to help agricultural groups value-add, secure premium pricing, scale-up production, attract capital investment, earn new markets or secure lower input costs. Farming Together is being delivered by Southern Cross University on behalf of the Australian Government. It comprises a highly experienced senior team drawn from a wide range of commodity groups from across Australia and is backed by an industry advisory group representing experts from Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and NSW. More? www.farmingtogether.com.au