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Tasmania is now part of a national legislative scheme regulating the formation, registration and management of co-operatives.  On 1 September 2015 the Cooperatives Act 1999 was replaced by the Co-operatives National Law (Tasmania) Act 2015 and the Co-operatives National Law (Tasmania) Local Regulations 2015


Existing co-operatives do not need to do anything to transition to the new law.  All co-operatives currently registered under the Cooperatives Act 1999 will have their registration transferred to the new law automatically. A Fact Sheet explaining the Co-operatives National Law as well as new forms (with corresponding fees) are available.


For further advice on how these changes affect your co-operative, please call the Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading hotline on 1300 654 499 or email registration.services@justice.tas.gov.au 


Summary of key changes 

Terminology changes

  • Trading co-operatives are now known as distributing co-operatives; 
  • Non-trading co-operatives are now known as non-distributing co-operatives. 

Nationwide registration 

A co-operative that is legally registered in one jurisdiction can now operate on a national basis without the need for any further registration or reporting requirements in each State. This is in line with the rights and obligations of companies under the Corporations Act 2001

Registrar of co-operatives

The new legislation provides for the creation of the role of Registrar of Co-operatives.  This role will be undertaken by the Director of Consumer Affairs in Tasmania. The Registrar can be contacted through the Office of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading. 

Two tiered system - small and large co-operatives

Co-operatives have been divided into small co-operatives and large co-operatives based on their size, membership, assets and fundraising activities. 

Reports to members and annual returns

  • Small co-operatives will now need to provide financial reports to their members and a brief annual return to the Registrar; 
  • Large co-operatives are required to prepare annual financial and Directors' reports and satisfy audit requirements as contained in the Corporations Act 2001.

Management of a co-operative

Directors and officers of co-operatives have certain obligations and duties under the Co-operatives National Law.

Model rules

A set of Model Rules containing the minimum requirements for co-operatives are available.