Page 2143 - Week 07 - Thursday, 29 June 2023

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showcase their diverse talents. As the cooperative models thrive, small businesses would come together to form cooperative networks. Imagine innovative co-working spaces where entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners converge, sharing their resources, their ideas and their expertise.

This vibrant ecosystem of cooperation would fuel creativity. It would nurture innovation and foster cross-pollination of ideas, resulting in a flourishing start up culture here in the capital. Cooperative housing initiatives would flourish, offering affordable and sustainable living options. Community members would actively participate in the decision-making, creating neighbourhoods that prioritise inclusivity, sustainability and social cohesion. Cooperative housing complexes would feature shared amenities and communal spaces, helping to foster a strong sense of community and interdependence with our neighbours.

In this cooperative driven Canberra, the community’s vitality would stem from the shared excitement, the mutual support and collectively shared prosperity. The city would become a shining example of how collaboration, inclusivity and cooperation can transform not just small businesses but also the very fabric of a community, creating a more harmonious and fulfilling way of life for all in the territory.

The ACT Greens have been working with the local cooperative sector to advocate for greater support and recognition of the cooperative business model and encourage even more small business people in the territory to take up the cause of cooperatives. It is gratifying to see that some thought has been given to how the government can better support and promote the uptake of the cooperative business model, in response to my motion.

I again thank Minister Cheyne and the good team in her office for providing me a briefing about the government’s response to my motion earlier in the week. While it may not be ground-breaking, the government’s response is an important step forward, a step in the right direction. I would extend that appreciation to the staff of Access Canberra for their efforts thus far.

The government response says that a refreshed business hub website will include clear and accessible information relating to the cooperative business model. I am also very pleased to hear that the ACT government is committed to promoting business models that deliver social outcomes and, to reflect this, will be establishing a social enterprise grant program.

One specific example worth mentioning is the existing four-hour free business consultation advice service, which is funded by the ACT government. I am pleased that this valuable resource is available for those interested in starting cooperatives here in the ACT. This demonstrates the government’s commitment to fostering a cooperative friendly environment and providing the necessary assistance to those who seek to work within it.

While we recognise that there is so much more work to be done, this is a great starting point. We will continue to consult with stakeholders and engage in constructive dialogue to further refine and enhance the government’s initiatives.

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