Who should read this manual

This manual is intended to assist anyone who wants to start or join a co-operative, and also to increase the understanding of members already involved in co-operatives in Australia.

Co-operatives are usually formed by groups of people who are interested in working together to achieve a particular goal. They may also be formed when another incorporated body such as an association, a company or an indigenous entity decides that the co-operative structure is better suited to its purpose and membership base.

So this manual is also designed to assist members of other entity types to understand the pros and cons of the co-operative structure (compared with their existing structure).

At the time of writing, the CNL or alternative consistent legislation has commenced in all jurisdictions except Queensland.

The CNL does not apply to certain financial mutuals such as co-operative banks, credit unions, building societies and friendly societies as these organisations are federally regulated. Subject to state and territory legislation, the CNL also does not apply to certain housing co-operatives.