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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 March 2017) . . Page.. 776 ..

The new regime will also enable better access to external capital funding. The Co-operatives National Law allows cooperatives to raise capital using cooperative capital units. This fundraising arrangement is flexible, as it allows for a combination of equity and debt funding. Cooperative capital units are combined with checks and balances to ensure that the core principles of cooperatives are upheld.

The Co-operatives National Law (ACT) Bill 2017 will modernise how we regulate cooperatives to encourage efficiency and innovation. This bill will simplify and modernise how cooperatives are regulated in the ACT. It will also bring several governance and financial obligations into line with the Corporations Act, levelling the playing field for different business models. By adopting the national law, we will contribute to a cohesive national market based on best practice. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (11.50): This government is committed to supporting and developing a vibrant non-government and private sector in Canberra. We recognise the importance of a diverse economy with as many options as possible for people to participate. Legislative changes like those in this bill can support that diversification. Laws provide the framework necessary for new associations and organisations to develop and for existing ones to be successful.

A well-considered, simple piece of legislation helps define the governance structures, rights and responsibilities that make an organisation work. Our legislation already offers choices about how to create a new venture. The territory’s laws support a diverse range of beneficial organisations, including clubs, community councils and business associations like partnerships. More and more, well-developed options to create an organisation help to put the creative talent in our community to work.

This bill furthers the aim of diversification by introducing nationally uniform legislation and simplifying regulatory arrangements for cooperatives. Cooperatives are an integral part of our community, and they often run on a not-for-profit basis. The ACT already has numerous cooperatives, and it currently has legislation to ensure that they are able to form and operate successfully. This bill recognises the value of their contribution, by making it easier for cooperatives to serve their members in Canberra and across Australia.

For a corporation, the importance of nationally consistent legislation to do business is quite clear: that is, being able to do business across Australia under a consistent set of rules. The same justifications for national consistency apply to other kinds of organisations in our community.

This bill will ensure that the ACT’s cooperatives legislation is broadly consistent with all other states and territories apart from Queensland, which I am advised is currently considering its position on the national law as well. Nationally consistent laws reduce red tape and associated business costs for cooperatives, particularly those which are operating across state and territory borders. Specifically, in all states and territories

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