The Treasury Laws (Mutual Reforms) Act 2019 received Royal Assent on 6 April 2019. This new law was conceived by the Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals and aimed at improving the business environment for co-operatives and mutuals in Australia.
The legislation was a major step forward for Australia, delivering landmark laws and the first positive change to the Corporations Act for mutuals in 18 years. It created new and unique ‘mutual capital instruments’ to help existing mutuals grow and innovate in sectors as varied as agriculture, finance and motoring.
The law also defines a mutual in the Corporations Act for the first time, demonstrating the importance of the sector as part of a diverse economy. At the same time, this has been achieved whilst adding new safeguards to mutual ownership by ensuring member control remains paramount.
Mark Love from BAL Lawyers has prepared a Guide and Checklist for Friendly Societies who wish to make the necessary changes to their constitution to allow them to raise capital in the future.