What About Co-ops in Australia?

Australia – the land of co-operators *

1,800 co-operatives and 108 mutual banking institutions.

An estimated 7.5 million credit union, co-op and mutual member shareholders – more than the number of Australian private retail investors.(1)

The Top 100 co-ops, mutuals and credit unions in Australia turned over $AUD14.7b in 2011.(2)

Australia has the third largest mutual banking sector (credit unions, mutual building societies and mutual banks) after the US and Canada.

Australian mutual banking institutions hold $83b in assets and serve over 4.6 million Australians.

At the end of March 2011 there were 22,546,300 Australian residents (3) maintaining some 23 million relationships with member-based organisations across all aspects of their private lives and business needs:

Over 5 million Australians have superannuation investments managed by an industry fund (Industry Fund website).

Around 6.5 million Australian motorists co-operate through membership of the State automobile associations. (Top 100 List).

An estimated 5 million people have chosen to have their health insurance with either a member based enterprise or Medibank (a Government Business Enterprise). (Medibank website 3.4 million; HBF WA 951k plus smaller funds).

Some 6.5 million memberships exist in other member-based organisations. (Top 100 List).

That’s more than one member-based organisation relationship per capita.


(1) According to the latest Australian Shareholding study approximately 7.26 million people, or 43% of the adult Australian population, own shares;

(2) Co-operatives Australia Top 100 List of Co-operatives, Credit Unions and Mutuals – www.australia.coop;

(3) ABS announcement 29/09

* Produced with the assistance of Co-operatives Australia and the Co-operative Federation of WA.




Joyce Clague MBE
"Over the years, I have seen the birth of many co-operatives. We choose the co-o
"We choose the co-operative structure because we want to have an equal say, we want to share the responsibility and we want to work together to improve our living conditions and our life chances..."

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