Rules of a co-operative
Before you can register a co-operative, you must draft its rules and have them approved by the Registrar.
We recommend using one of the following sets of model rules to draft the co-operative's rules:
For definitions of distributing and non-distributing co-operatives, view our What is a co-operative? page.
Your co-operative can alter the model rules, but as soon as changes are made, the rules will be deemed to be the co-operative’s own. You can also use a third party tool, such as the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals' online Get Mutual Co-op Builder website. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice if you plan to draft your own rules.
For more information, view our Make changes to a co-operative page.
Disclosure statement for a distributing co-operative
Before you form a distributing co-operative, you must prepare a disclosure statement. This document must contain the information necessary to ensure prospective members understand the extent of their financial involvement and liability.
The disclosure statement should contain:
- the estimated costs of formation
- the active membership provisions of the proposed co-operative
- the rights and liabilities attached to shares in the proposed co-operative
- the capital required for the co-operative at the time of formation
- the projected income and expenditure of the co-operative for its first year of operation
- information about any contracts the co-operative will need to enter into.
If the disclosure statement includes a supporting report from an expert (such as an accountant or auditor), the disclosure statement must also state that the expert has given (and has not withdrawn) their consent. Use our Disclosure statement for formation of a distributing co-operative (Word, 51KB) as a guide to drafting your own.
Approval of name, rules and disclosure statement
The name of a co-operative must include the word ‘Co-operative’ and end with ‘Limited’. Acceptable abbreviations include ‘Co-op’, ‘Ltd’ and ‘&’. Any other abbreviations must be approved by the Registrar.
Your proposed co-operative name will be rejected if it is deemed to be too similar to an existing co-operative, body corporate or business name. To avoid this issue:
Once a name, rules and disclosure statement are finalised, complete and lodge the Application to approve name, rules and formation disclosure statement (Word, 176KB), including any supporting documentation. Lodgement details, including any fees required, are on the form.
After you lodge your application
The standard processing time is 28 days.
If we approve your name, rules and disclosure statement, we will send you an:
Alternatively, we may ask you to choose another name, redraft your rules, or redraft your disclosure statement.
Where to next: