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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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International Year of Co-operatives

MEASURING THE ACTIVITY OF CO-OPERATIVES

For reasons explained in the introduction and in the earlier article by Professor Mazzarol and Dr Mamouni Limnios, for statistical purposes, co-operatives in Australia are not easily defined.

The Australian Taxation Office’s Australian Business Register categorises a number of co-operatives as other types of entities, including Australian public company, Other incorporated entity and Other unincorporated entity. These entity types flow through to the ABS business register, used as the population frame for ABS business surveys. In addition, ABS samples of businesses are not optimised for representing particular types of units, instead using industry and size as the basis for sample selection. For both these reasons, reliable data on co-operatives are generally not able to be produced from ABS business surveys.

While the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) recognises the business form, ‘cooperative’ in its Company tax return, it is not known how entities describe themselves when completing the form. The ATO reports data in respect of businesses that self-reported as co-operatives in its annual Taxation Statistics publication. The 2008–09 edition reports that 891 co-operative companies paid net tax of more than $0, with the total tax paid $73 million (ATO, 2011).

Data on registered co-operatives are collected for regulatory purposes and, since 2009, Co-operatives Australia has released annual data on Australia’s top 100 co-operatives, credit unions and mutuals by annual turnover. The release of April 2011 reported that the ‘top 100’ had a combined annual turnover of $14.77 billion, with 13,085,000 members and 26,000 employees (Co-operatives Australia, 2011). Organisations are broadly categorised by type of activity as shown in table 4.


4. TOP 100 CO-OPERATIVES(a), CREDIT UNIONS AND MUTUALS, By sector

Sector
Turnover(b)
Members(c)
Employees(c)
$m
no.
no.

Agricultural
6 929
34 592
6 269
Consumer
2 503
8 016 537
7 371
Financial
2 293
3 735 496
8 941
Purchasing
1 214
19 438
1 129
Other (housing, transport, insurance, education)
1 832
1 279 153
2 328
Total
14 771
13 085 216
26 038

(a) Based on a functional rather than legal view of co-operatives. See Introduction for a discussion of the difference.
(b) Turnover data are primarily for year ending in 2010 and are based on total group revenue including marketing pool revenue classified off balance sheet by Australian Accounting Standards and International Accounting Standards. For building societies and credit unions, turnover is net interest income plus other income.
(c) Most recent available data at time of compilation. Note that totals are understated as not all entities reported membership and number of employees.

Source: Co-operatives Australia (2011).

Data collected for regulatory purposes in New South Wales are provided in the next article as an example of information available from state/territory registries.



FINANCIAL DATA ON NSW CO-OPERATIVES

This article was contributed by New South Wales Fair Trading, Department of Finance and Services.

The information provided in table 5 is compiled from annual data lodged on the public register as a result of reporting obligations imposed on co-operatives registered under the NSW Co-operatives Act 1992. Accordingly, the Registry does not provide any guarantee as to the accuracy of the information as reported.

The number of co-operatives registered in NSW decreased by 64 co-operatives (9%) between 2006–07 and 2009–10. This could be due to co-operatives merging, ceasing operations entirely or transferring to another entity structure type. The largest decrease occurred between 2007–08 and 2008–09 with a decrease of 29 co-operatives (4%).

Despite the declining number of co-operatives, the number of co-operative members reported between 2006–07 and 2009–10 increased by 11% and also increased each financial year. In contrast, the number of co-operative employees reported each year varied, with a net decrease over the period of 462 (5%).

The total turnover reported for co-operatives decreased over the period from $4,415 million to $2,878 million (a decrease of $1,537 million or 35%). This decrease likely reflects both the drop in the number of co-operatives and the trading conditions of many Australian businesses over this period, including as it does the final years of the drought and the Global Financial Crisis. Similarly, the share valuations reported over this period halved, from $305 million to $149 million (a decrease of $156 million).


5. NSW REGISTERED CO-OPERATIVES(a)(b)

2006–07
2007–08
2008–09
2009–10

no.
744
728
699
680
Turnover
$m
4 415
4 240
3 268
2 878
Members
‘000
1 605
1 667
1 753
1 786
Employees
no.
10 208
10 613
10 172
9 746
Share valuation
$m
305
263
176
149

(a) Excludes financial co-operatives and other entities not registered as co-operatives under NSW legislation (NSW Co-operatives Act 1992). Data therefore exclude companies that operate as mutuals but are registered under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cwlth).
(b) The NSW Registry of Co-operatives and Associations does not provide any guarantee as to the accuracy of the information reported in this table. Data reflect information received by the extraction date of 31 October 2011.

Source:
NSW Registry of Co-operatives and Associations, data extracted from the public register at 31 October 2011.

 

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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.


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