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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.
At 8:30 p.m on 29 December ABC1 showed the first of four programs on the People's Supermarket in the UK. The programs were first broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK in early 2011. The People's Supermarket was established in May 2010. Is the People's Supermarket a food co-operative or is it something else?
On behalf of all States and Territories, on 8 November 2011 NSW Fair Trading invited submissions on reporting requirements for small co-operatives. Submissions closed on the 7 December 2011. Seven submissions were received from - NSW Department of Education and training, the Co-operative Federation of Victoria Ltd, the Australian Accounting Standards Board, Co-operatives WA, Mark Snell and the Sydney Live Steam Locomotive Society Co-operative Ltd.