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Worsening floods to put co-ops and mutuals to the test again, as the sector’s leaders converge on State Parliament: BCCM

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Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM), Media Release, 19 October 2022

The Business Council for Co-operatives and Mutuals said the worsening flood outlook across the state underscored the need for greater collaboration on disaster and resilience planning, as it launched the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Co-operatives and Mutuals.

With scores of flood warnings in place across New South Wales, the BCCM said its members’ community values would once again be in action in coming days and weeks.

“These weather events are now a recurrent nightmare,” said BCCM CEO Melina Morrison. “But co-op businesses – particularly in regional New South Wales – have an ethos of just doing what needs to be done.”

“We have seen in recent emergencies like the Lismore floods that co-op businesses are among the first responders, having the local knowledge, experience, resources and networks to make a difference,” she said.

The NSW Parliamentary Friends of Co-operatives and Mutuals will promote recognition of the vital role co-operatives and mutuals play in the state’s communities and economy, and allow parliamentarians to engage more effectively with the State’s 750 co-ops and mutuals.

It is chaired by Gurmesh Singh, Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Premier, who said the challenging environment made the spirit of co-operation an essential support for farmers, small business and local communities.

“The resilience of co-op businesses and mutuals through recent crises has shown them to be shining examples of how responsible businesses can look after the communities in which they operate,” he said.

Greens Member for Newtown and the secretary of the new Parliamentary Group, Jenny Leong, said, “Co-operatives are key to bringing people together in times of community need and in times of crisis. It’s about collective action, a recognition that together and united we are stronger.”

The BCCM’s Ms Morrison said this year’s independent Flood Inquiry had concluded that Government needs to harness and empower safe and coordinated community-led initiatives, not only for rescues but also for evacuation support and the provision of services.

“The people living in local communities affected have very often experienced previous natural disasters and their aftermath and can have invaluable knowledge to share,” she said.

Co-operatives and mutuals are member-owned and governed businesses serving eight in every 10 New South Wales citizens with essential goods and services.

Co-ops and mutuals are active in all parts of the NSW economy contributing more than $12.8 billion to the State’s economy, and directly employing more than 22,000 people.

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