A uniform set of national laws for co-operatives is being progressively introduced by the States and Territories.
The Co-operatives National Law (CNL) aims to reduce red tape and associated business costs for co-operatives. Co-operatives wishing to carry on business across a State or Territory border no longer have to register in each jurisdiction. Smaller co-operatives have simplified financial reporting to members and no longer have to lodge publicly available accounts.
NSW is the lead (host) jurisdiction for this national project. In May 2012 the NSW Parliament passed the Co-operatives (Adoption of National Law) Act 2012. This Act has the template CNL appended to it and refers to the template Co-operatives National Regulations (CNR).
The CNL commenced in NSW on 3 March 2014.
The NSW CNL laws consist of 4 pieces of legislation:
- Co-operatives (Adoption of National Law) Act 2012
- Co-operatives National Law (NSW) (CNL)
- Co-operatives National Regulations (NSW) (CNR)
- Co-operatives (New South Wales) Regulation 2014 (Local Regulations)
Go to the Co-operatives legislation page for more information about the NSW CNL laws.
The new co-operatives laws in the other States and Territories using the CNL will also comprise 4 pieces of legislation, being their enabling Act, the CNL, the CNR and their Local Regulations.
Australian Uniform Co-operative Laws Agreement
The Australian Uniform Co-operative Laws Agreement (AUCLA) sets out a number of functions to be carried out by a Ministerial Council. This Council consists of the Ministers responsible for consumer protection and co-operatives legislation in each of the States and Territories. The Ministerial Council is now known as the COAG Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs (CAF).
AUCLA provides for the development of uniform laws and administration to regulate co-operatives. States and Territories have developed the CNL as the new principal uniform legislation to regulate co-operatives.
Each State or Territory may use the uniform legislation or alternative legislation of its own jurisdiction consistent with the uniform template law.
Administration of the uniform laws will continue to be the responsibility of each State and Territory, but with a commitment to achieve administrative processes and policies.
Co-operatives National Law Updates
The National Co-operatives Law Update (NCL Update) is a free subscription e-news service providing information on the development and commencement of the CNL.
Go to the National Co-operatives Law Updates page to view or download all editions.
Subscribe to receive the National Co-operatives Law Update to receive email alerts about developments in this project.
Staged Commencement of CNL
The CNL is being implemented as a staged process, with each State or Territory commencing its CNL or consistent co-operatives laws when its legislation (ie. enabling laws and Local Regulations) and supporting arrangements are in place.
Jurisdictions that have commenced their CNL or consistent laws are listed in the following table. The Co-operatives Acts and their supporting Regulations for these jurisdictions have been repealed upon commencement of the CNL in the particular State or Territory.
State or Territory
Supporting and contact information for a jurisdiction's CNL or consistent co-operatives laws
Same date as Vic
NSW is the lead (host) jurisdiction for the AUCLA and CNL.
Enabling law: Co-operatives (Adoption of National Law) Act 2012 (NSW)
View or download: Commencement Proclamation for NSW CNL
For further information about the CNL template, NSW CNL and NSW based co-operatives, refer to:
Same date as NSW
Enabling law: Co-operatives National Law Application Act 2013 (Vic)
For further information about the Vic CNL and co-operatives based in Vic, refer to:
Enabling law: Co-operatives National Law (South Australia) Act 2013
For further information about the SA CNL and co-operatives based in SA, refer to
For further information about the NT CNL and co-operatives based in NT, refer to:
Enabling law: Co-operatives National Law (Tasmania) Act 2015
For further information about the Tas CNL and co-operatives based in Tas, refer to:
For further information about the WA consistent co-operatives legislation and co-operatives based in WA, refer to:
CNL section 7(3) declaration: Arrangements are underway to provide for this declaration and are reported upon in NCL Update Issue 16.
Enabling law: Co-operatives National Law (ACT) Act 2017
For further information about the ACT CNL and co-operatives based in the ACT, refer to:
For further information about Queensland, refer to the e-newsletter NCL Update Issue 16