Co-operatives Council of Australia Inc.
The Co-operatives Council of Australia was formed in 1944 under its former
name, the Co-operative
Federation of Australia (CFA). The members of CFA comprised the 5 state
co-operative federations (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western
Australia and Victoria), with each federation having one representative on the
5 person governing committee.
The operations of CFA were suspended in 1986
following the withdrawal of support from the Co-operative
Federation of NSW. As the best resourced state federation, CFNSW had the goal of
becoming the national body for Australian co-operatives.
In that year, CFNSW
changed its name to the Australian
Association of Co-operatives and restructured its operations to establish state
From 1988 to 1996, the Co-operative Federation of
Western Australia played a caretaker role for CFA, maintaining a "watching
brief" over its registration, investment of funds and tax returns.
National Co-operative Congress
Following the closure of the Australian Association of Co-operatives in
March 1993, a National Co-operatives Congress was held in Sydney in that year to
the future of the Australian co-operative sector. The congress resolved to
establish an interim body called the National Co-operatives Council (NCC) to
a final structure for a national organisation. NCC comprised representatives
from the 5 state federations and two co-operative service providers, the
Australian Co-operative Development League and the Asia Pacific Co-operative
were established and met in various states over the next two years. At a
conference in 1995, NCC decided to revive the Co-operative Federation of
Australia entity and recommended a number of changes to update its constitution
including changing its name to
the Co-operatives Council of Australia.
Co-operative Federation of Australia revived
In 1996, the state federations revived CFA,
changing its name to the Co-operatives Council of Australia and adopting a new
constitution for the organisation. The
Council meet on average two times a year
between 1996 and 2000.
Between 1996 and 2000, the Council proved to be an effective political
organisation with a number of
achievements including -
Successfully lobbied for the defeat in the Australian Senate in
1996 of Federal
Government legislation to repeal an important co-operative tax concession.
Supported the establishment of the
Australian Centre for Co-operative Research and Development (ACCORD).
Achieving federal and state governments' support for nationally
consistent co-operatives legislation, which resulted in the Co-operatives Law
Agreement being signed by the states, territories and the commonwealth.
national policy conference
in Canberra in October 1998.
Put forward two submissions to the Ralph Review of Business Taxation,
mutuals were recognised in federal government's "New Tax System".
From 2001 to 2006, the Council was in hiatus. Dissatisfaction grew among state
federations about the effectiveness and direction of the Council, cumulating
in the winding up of the corporation in 2006.
In 2008, delegates of the state
federations met in Sydney and decided to form a new national body called
Co-operatives Australia as an
About the author
was an active participant in national co-operative affairs during
the 1990's. In 1989, he was employed by the Australian Association of
Co-operatives to revive the co-operative sector in Victoria after a period of
decline. Following the closure of AAC
in 1993, Tony was appointed secretary of the
Co-operative Federation of Victoria
and represented the federation on the National Co-operatives Council
and the Co-operatives Council of
Australia between 1994 and 1999.