Co-op Resources

Here you will find a collection of resources that may be useful to your co-operative and the wider housing co-operative sector. We will be adding to this collection as time goes on, so please watch this space.

A guide to preparing the annual audit

This video provides a guide to the steps and requirements for completing your co-op’s annual audit.

Can Housing Co-operatives offer a mainstream solution for housing affordability?

At the Co-operatives Assembly 2022, a lively panel discussion was held to explore this question. Hosted by the Co-operatives Federation in Sydney on July 29, the panel of speakers drew together a diverse wealth of expertise on the subject.

The tone was set by A/Prof Louise Crabtree-Hayes, Lead for the AVIHC research project, who affirmed that co-operatives could indeed become a mainstream solution, by building on the strengths of the established housing co-op sector. The sector could scale up by harnessing its diversity and expertise, to offer a variety of price points and tenure types all based on longevity of tenure. This would need to be embedded in appropriate funding and policy support. Dr Sidsel Grimstad, from University of Newcastle and Researcher on the project team, provided insight on housing co-operative sectors overseas that operate on a large scale, and the structures that enabled them to expand and flourish.

Speakers L-R: Dr Sidsel Grimstad, Annette Maguire, A/Prof Louise Crabtree-Hayes, Carmen Osborne, and Andy Fergus.

Urban design expert, Andy Fergus, outlined design models that optimise opportunities for social interaction, green space, and multi use while retaining privacy, and options for tenure and financing that offer a third way beyond private rental or homeownership. Carmen Osborne, the Chair of Common Equity NSW, underlined that the co-op sector is keen to expand and explore innovative ways to build ownership options into the sector. The panel was rounded out by Annette Maguire, PhD scholar, research assistant on the AVIHC project and long-time housing co-operator, who explored how co-operatives produce social value by harnessing people power. For example, taking steps to create community and sustainability within the co-op setting produces social value. Whether it be shared gardening or meals, or events like parties, concerts, film nights, these activities bring benefits for quality of life, which flow beyond the boundaries of the co-operative. Further, co-ops can multiply social value by producing more housing – through careful use of rental income and reserves – as KB Co-operative in Sydney’s West has done, with great success. A lively discussion followed, with keen questions from the floor, and input from members of KB Co-operative on the ‘secrets of their success,’ to great interest from the audience.  The session then flowed into a practical workshop on how to set up a housing co-operative, with bumper attendance.

More vibrant photos of Co-op Assembly 2022 can be viewed at:

Further Resources from the Assembly are available on the Co-op Federation website:

Resource: Co-operative Communication

This short resource gives a good summary of a key ingredient for co-operative flourishing: co-operative communication techniques, which the resource refers to as Dialogue. It provides a useful comparison with a more competitive style, shown in the column marked Debate.

Educational resource courtesy of @holidayphillips

Resource: Infographic on Co-operatives

The infographic resource below is a great summary of why co-operatives are wonderful. While it refers to co-operatives overall, it definitely rings true for housing co-operatives. This can be a useful tool to share with folks who are new to the world of co-ops, or as a handy reminder for seasoned members.

Produced by the Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA)