Summary – Uniform national laws changing the legislative requirements for co-operatives have passed the NSW Parliament and have been introduced into every State Parliament.Successful negotiations

On 10 May 2012, New South Wales Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts welcomed the passage of the new Co-operatives (Adoption of National Laws) Bill 2012.

The new national law scheme introduces a significant reform for the Co-operatives sector as it moves towards uniform legislation regulating Co-operatives within each State and Territory. It aims at empowering co-operatives, cutting costs and reducing red tape.

The object of the Bill is to enact co-operatives legislation applying in each State and Territory. It does so by introducing a uniform legislative framework applying the Co-operatives National Law in each State and Territory, with a view to overcome the issues arising from separate legislation in each jurisdiction.

The Bill also contains the Co-operatives National Law which is to be used as a template for all jurisdictions. This is to ensure that legislation in each jurisdiction is based on the National Law and that key principles of co-operation are retained.

Further to applying the Co-operatives National Law, the Bill specifies local administration details, such as which courts deal with various matters and how official notices are to be published.

Once the Bill is passed by each State and Territory, it will effectively streamline compliance issues and reduce associated business costs for co-operatives through the implementation of uniform regulation and administration.

By applying a uniform scheme of legislation in each jurisdiction, it will enable co-operatives intending to conduct business across State and Territory borders to do so without the costly and lengthy process of registration in each jurisdiction.

Moreover, it will benefit smaller co-operatives through simplified financial reporting to members as well as removing the obligation to lodge publicly available accounts.

Now that the legislation has passed the NSW Parliament, it is understood that each State and Territory will adopt, or make regulations consistent with, the National Regulations.