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National reforms create level playing field for WA co-operatives

Western Australian co-operatives have now been included under national regulations, completing a reform process that enables them to compete equally with other enterprises.

The final step in the reform process came with the recent approval of amendments to the national regulations, which recognise new WA laws that came into effect on January 1, 2017.

The new laws offer several advantages to co-operatives registered in WA:

  • Co-operatives are now able to conduct business in all participating States and Territories without any additional registration or approval requirements;
  • The regulation of co-operatives will be more closely aligned with other forms of corporate enterprise, enabling co-operatives to compete on equal terms; and
  • Co-operatives will benefit from increased public recognition and better access to support services.

Some unique features of the Western Australian co-operatives law have been retained under the new system as allowable differences in the context of the national scheme.

This will give co-operatives flexibility in controlling voting age and the use of proxies to meet the particular needs of co-operatives in regional areas.