The Australian cooperative sector covers a wide range of industries, services and functions. By their very nature, successful cooperatives bring together people with a common interest and shared goals. There are cooperatives operating in each state and territory across a diverse range of industries.
Housing Cooperatives are owned by tenant/members who have a common need for affordabe, secure and environmentally sustainable housing and a commitent to cooperate.
SouthEast Housing Cooperative (SouthEast) is a non-trading cooperative without shares. The members elect the Board and the Board employs staff to provide services to the members. The board is the link between the members of SouthEast and the organisation. The board’s authority stems from and is accountable to the membership.
The role of the board is to govern SouthEast so that its mission is carried out effectively, whilst acting ethically and prudently, operating within the law, the Rules and agreements with Government.
The defining point in a cooperative is that the members have a close association with the cooperative as producers or consumers of its products or services, or as its employees. However, it is the principle of “one member – one vote” which separates it from capital stock corporations.
“Cooperative members learn from each other, innovate together, and by increasing control over their livelihoods build up a sense of dignity that the experience of poverty destroys.”
Rental Housing Cooperatives are governed by two main pieces of legislation:
- Housing Act 1983 (Vic); esp. Part VIII to the Housing Act 1983 – Housing Registrar.
- Cooperatives National Law Application Act 2013 (Vic).
Other important legislation which directs Cooperatives include:
- Residential Tenancies Act (1997) which details the rights and duties of landlords and tenants of rented premises in Victoria.
- Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission Act 2012
- Disability Act 1992 (Vic);
- Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic);
- Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic);
- Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic);
- Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (Vic);
- Child Wellbeing and Safety Amendment (Child Safe Standards) Act 2015 (Vic).