More than 70 delegates, representing major Australian
co-operatives, state co-operative federations and a number of Federal
Government agencies attended the two-day
Co-operatives Council of Australia
(CCA) conference in Canberra
on 20-21 April 1998.
The aim of the conference was to let federal politicians and government
officials know about the co-operative movement and the issues around business
The speakers included parliamentary representatives of all major political
parties, representatives of business and community co-operatives, and the
conference's major sponsor, legal firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
South Australian Liberal
spoke about the benefits of taxation reform. He referred to the
of Business Taxation and pointed out that it was an independent review and was
not government policy.
said the National Party is fully committed to supporting co-operatives. He
discussed the increasing pressures of concentrated market power and
corporate agricultural marketing on the primary producer, saying that
co-operatives remained the only vehicle whereby the producer can retain control
over their industry and their income. The Senator also highlighted the
importance of co-operatives to rural and regional economies.
The Shadow Minister for Small Business and Tourism,
told delegates that while the Opposition held no formal position on the
abolition of Division 9 of the Income Tax Assessment Act, he saw no reason why
the Labor Party would change its position of 1996, when it opposed the repeal
of section 120(1)(c) of the
Income Tax Assessment Act
in the Senate.
outlined the Democrats positive support for co-operative and mutual
enterprises. Senator Woodley referred to their role in saving section 120(1)(c)
in 1996 and expressed the Democrats interest in working with the CCA on
getting a fairer tax outcome for co-operatives.
The other speakers were
director of Ricegrowers Co-operative and former president of the
Professor Bob Fagan
from Macquarie University;
chairman of Netco Grain Co-operative;
CEO Ballarat Community Education Centre Co-operative;
Dr. John Swindells,
CEO Mackay Sugar Co-operative; and
of Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
The speakers covered a number of topics including value adding, the social and
economic benefits of co-operatives, demutualisation pitfalls, role of a
community co-operative and taxation.
Delegates also attended a cocktail party at Parliament House with members of the
Senate. The Communications Minister,
Senator Richard Alston,
welcomed delegates on behalf of the Federal Government.
The 30 senators who
attended the function took the opportunity to discuss co-operative issues with
delegates, including business tax reform.
National Co-op Update
No 21, May/June 1999