Thursday, December 3, 2009

Greens Launch ‘Cooperative Tasmania’ Initiative

Venezuelan national govt has been doing something similar for a while...
Nick McKim MP
Thursday, 26th November 2009
For Comment: State Parliamentary Offices of the Tasmanian Greens, (03) 6233 8300

The Tasmanian Greens today released in Smithton their election policy initiative Cooperative Tasmania, which will provide practical assistance to local communities seeking to establish a cooperative, including provisions for the government to intervene to prevent asset-stripping.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP, who was joined in Smithton by Greens’ Braddon candidate Paul O’Halloran, said that cooperatives have the potential to empower regional communities, by allowing producers, workers and local businesses take back control and responsibility for their employment and future.

Mr McKim has long advocated for greater recognition of the role cooperatives can play in securing local economies and regional communities, and has supported a cooperative model to be developed for the King Island abattoir following JBS Swift’s threat to leave.

“Cooperatives can be very successful, particularly in the agricultural sector, by giving local communities more power over their job security and economic future,” Mr McKim said.

“The Greens’ Cooperative Tasmania election commitment seeks to shift the government’s focus to supporting producers and communities, rather than companies simply being offered taxpayer funded bailouts as a knee-jerk reaction.”

“The Greens’ policy will put the onus onto the government of the day to work with local communities to investigate the viability of a co-op alternative as an initial response to any company quitting Tasmania.

“Then a range of practical assistance options will kick in to help in the establishment of a coop including the ability for the government to prevent the company from asset-stripping.”

Mr McKim again suggested that a tripartite approach be adopted to respond to the recent decision by McCain to close its Smithton vegetable processing plant.

“Mr Bartlett should not be playing politics here. We all should be working together to try to deliver solutions.”

The Greens’ Cooperative Tasmania policy will create a unit within the Department of Economic Development to:

- Establish the impact of a company’s decision to quit either Tasmania or its operations;

- Ensure the cooperative option is fully explored before any taxpayer funded bailout is offered

- Involve the Valuer-General in valuing the Tasmanian assets of a company to ensure a fair value deal is made between any new cooperative and the company;

- Prevent asset stripping by providing for the State Government to acquire plant and equipment;and

- Facilitate start-up financial assistance to newly formed cooperatives.

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