Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 7 April 2022) . . Page.. 966 ..
produce. It fails our environment, where choices of what to grow are informed by price and the dictates of major supermarkets, rather than with consideration of the eco-systems and what the community needs and what the community actually wants to eat. It fails all of us when fresh food becomes too expensive for people on low incomes to afford.
We have great opportunities to expand agricultural co-ops, particularly as the ACT government develops this food and fibre strategy. Agriculture co-ops contribute to food security while distributing profits fairly, and they can ensure that climate adaptation and resilience is central. There are some great examples of collectives and community supported agriculture models that work as co-ops between farmers and eaters in our region, including Southern Harvest, Patchwork Urban Farm, Many Ways urban farm, FIG and BurraBee farm. We know there are opportunities to look beyond food production to manufacturing and delivery and to every other aspect of our food system.
This motion asks us to envisage a co-op culture in Canberra. It asks us to create opportunities for workers and for members to establish co-ops that give back to our community and create job opportunities at the same time. It is the perfect time for us to think about this, as we are seeing so many changes in our society and we know that we need more ethical business models in order to deal with the problems we have and look after the people who live here. I commend this motion to the Assembly.
MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (4.54): So often, from this Labor-Greens government, we have ministers and members lecturing businesses about their duties, obligations and responsibilities. And we see that again today with Mr Davis’s motion. He notes that Canberra businesses have an important role in reducing unemployment, underemployment and economic inequality, including through alternative business models such as micro and small business member and worker-owned cooperative social enterprises and not-for-profit corporations.
Excuse my ignorance, Madam Assistant Speaker, but I thought it was the government’s responsibility to reduce unemployment, tackle underemployment and challenge economic inequality. So often we hear this government lecturing small business, yet all too rarely do we hear the government speaking up for small business, supporting them, encouraging them and backing them, as the Canberra Liberals always will.
Mr Davis calls on the government to provide accessible information about setting up co-ops. This already exists. So much information is available. If Mr Davis had done his research, he would know that Access Canberra is responsible for the registration of co-ops and maintaining registrations in the ACT. He would also know that on 21 March 2017, the Legislative Assembly passed enabling legislation that adopted the Co-operatives National Law (ACT) Act 2017. Access Canberra has a wealth of useful and detailed information about co-ops on their website, including: what is a cooperative? What is the difference between a distributing and non-distributing cooperative? What are the options, other than forming a co-op? How is a co-op formed? How is a co-op registered? What financial records must a co-op keep? And what does a co-op have to report on? There is also detailed information about