New laws adopt national approach and simplify financial and reporting requirements for Queensland’s small co-operatives

New laws adopt national approach and simplify financial and reporting requirements for Queensland’s small co-operatives
New laws simplifying the function and operation of Queensland co-operatives come into effect today 1 December 2020.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said Queensland has adopted a nationally consistent approach by replacing the Cooperatives Act 1997 with the Co-operatives National Law 2020 (CNL).

“Queensland’s 138 co-operatives have around 19,000 members and a collective revenue of $250 million, making them a vital part of Queensland’s economy,” Mr Bauer said.

“The new laws will reduce financial reporting and audit requirements for small co-operatives and introduce new ways for all co-operatives to fundraise.”

Co-operatives will now be broken into two categories according to their size and fundraising activities – small or large – to allow for more appropriate financial reporting.

Small co-operatives will no longer need to have their financial statements audited and lodge an audit report with the Office of Fair Trading.

“It also removes the need for co-operatives to register and pay a fee in each state and territory that they wish to operate in, as the CNL provides mutual recognition without requiring separate state registration,” Mr Bauer said.

Co-operatives will be able to raise funds to finance their operations through the issue of cooperative capital units to members or non-members.

“Co-operatives in Queensland support many local jobs and small businesses particularly in regional communities, across a range of sectors including agriculture, dairy, water supply, grocery and hardware supplies, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts,” Mr Bauer said.

“The changes mean a more modern standard of governance for directors and officers of cooperatives which is consistent with the Corporations Act 2001.”

Co-operatives can continue to use their existing rules without being required to update them unless the co-operative wants to issue co-operative capital units. Also, if there are any inconsistencies between a co-operative’s rules and the CNL, the rules of the CNL will prevail.

Further information can be found at the Office of Fair Trading website or by emailing Registration.Services@justice.qld.gov.au or calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

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