The value of co-operatives like DFMC too often goes unrecognised according to Deputy Leader of the Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie.

At our conference in Adelaide, Senator McKenzie praised the work of DFMC and regional co-operatives who have “contributed so much to the Australian way of life”.

“Co-operatives play a significant role in regional areas, contributing to the economy and providing vital jobs. In South Australia alone, co-operatives and mutuals have a combined turnover of $1.7 billion,” said Senator McKenzie.

Despite the obvious social and economic contributions of co-operatives like DFMC, a recent Senate Committee Inquiry found that there is a lack of education about the role of co-operatives, that limits growth.

Senator McKenzie highlighted that this “lack of recognition” was a “significant barrier to growth and accessing capital” for co-operatives.

She put a spotlight on the recently published Hammond Review, which “could serve as a source of hope for co-operatives”.

The Review addressed the challenges that co-operatives, mutuals and member-owned firms face in Australia. It provided 11 recommendations, all of were accepted by Treasurer Scott Morrison in the official Government response.

Among the recommendations were a number of legislative changes that would improve co-operative and mutuals access to capital, and also make it less costly for co-operatives to start-up.

Senator McKenzie remained hopeful that the implementation of the Hammond Review would see co-operatives like DFMC prosper and flourish into the future.

“The scene is changing, these recommendations that come after a lot of work, inquiry and contribution will make a real difference to your sector.”