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"Co-operative business is not business as usual", declared Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Co-operativce Alliance, in launching the Australia Post IYC 2012 commemorative products on the 15 February 2012 at the Melbourne Town Hall.
The launch was organised by the IYC Secretariat.
There were about 85 co-operators present including representatives from bankmecu, Barossa Community Store, , Capricorn Society, CBH Group Co-operative Development Services Ltd, Hepburn Wind, Fitzroy and Carlton Community Credit Union, Co-operatives Victoria, SouthEast Housing Co-operative, Norco and West Belconnen Health Co-operative.
"Co-operatives are people-based businesses," Dame Pauline said.
She said that co-operatives do make profits but "it is what we do with them and who decides that is different. She said that co-operatives had a triple bottom line - investing in the business, providing a return to members and investing in the communities co-operatives are located in and trade with.
Dame Pauline said that throughout the world there were 327 million shareholders of companies but nearly one billion member-owners of co-operatives. She said that it had been estimated that there were 1.4 million co-operatives throughout the world employing 100 million people. It is not "a niche model," she said, "we are a successfull business model and we have scale."
Dame Pauline said that co-operative financial institutions had come through the Global Financial Crisis and had not required Government bailouts." She said that in the UK the Co-operative Bank had experienced an increaase of 79% in people switching to the bank.
She said that unlike other financial institutions, "Co-operative financial institutions have sustained their loans to businesses and individuals."
She said that the reason was the ownership structure of co-operatives and that "co-operatives service human need - not human greed."
Dame Pauline said "Our challenge as co-operatives is that not enough people know the size, scope and reach of co-operatives. "The challenge" she said was " to do something about it."
She said that IYC 2012 is an opportunity for co-operatives as "one dominant model of business is no longer acceptable. She said that the co-operative movement "must work together regionally, nationally and globally.
She said that Australia had a "great start' for IYC 2012 with the commemorative stamp products and the collectable coin.
Dame Pauline said that the end of IYC 2012 should be the beginning of a decade of co-operative growth.
The Australia Post stamp commemorative products are a tribute to the work of the IYC 2012 Secretariat and the willingness of Australia Post to respond to the request.. The co-operatives featured on the stamps are the CBH Group, the Community Mutual Group, CEHL, Capricorn, Barossa Community Store, the Fitzroy and Carlton Community Credit Co-operative, Norco, West Belconnen Health Co-operative and Hepburn Wind.
The Hon. Bill Shorten, Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, spoke at the Australian International Year of Co-operatives 2012 Launch - announcing the release of a $1 collectible coin produced by the Royal Australian Mint recognising IYC 2012. Australia is the only country in the world that has produced a collectable coin celebrating IYC 2012. Minister Shorten said: "It's very fitting we talk about the important role of co-operatives like credit unions and building societies when launching this collectible coin. While not many of these particular coins will be kept in a co-operative, Australians can be confident their savings will be safe and accessible in a credit union or building society."The coin will be available from the Royal Australian Mint in January 2012.
The International Year of Co-operatives 2012 will be launched in the Main Committee Room at Parliament House, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., The launch will be opened by Mr. David Bradbury, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer. The launch has been organised for the Australian International Year of Co-operatives Steering Committee by the IYC 2012 Secretariat.
There is only one month to go! In a month Australia will see the National Launch of the International Year of Co-operatives in Australia at Parliament House, Canberra, Australian Cqapital Territory on 22 November 2011. RSVP is essential for House Pass. Co-operatives throughout Australia are urged to send representatives to the launch - to demonstrate support for IYC 2012 and their support for co-operative values and principles. Co-operatives Victoria will be represented at the launch.
The UK Co-operative College has released its proposed 2011 program for Australia and New Zealand. It is a critically important time to consider the role and importance of co-operative education with the International Year of Co-operatives in 2012. Since 2005 the Co-operative College has been working with co-operatives in Australia and New Zealand. All of the College's work can be customised to meet the needs of individual co-operative businesses. Download the brochure.
The international Co-operative Alliance's General Assembly will be meeting between 14 -18 November 2011 in Cancun, Mexico. This year's General Assembly takes on specific importance because it is the last General Assembly preceding the International Year of Co-operatives 2012. The theme for this year's General assembly is "International Year of Co-operatives 2012 - Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World." Motions to be considered by the General Assembly cover and open consultative process and an Extraordinary General Assembly in Manchester in 2012, amendment to Seventh Principle, supporting the establishment of a Co-operative Institute for the Promotion of Peace and Social Cohesion, admission of mutuals to membership, declaration of Rochdale as World Co-operative Capital and the use of susrtainable timber & forest products.