Chairman’s Report 2014/15

I wish to report to members that for the financial year 2014/15 the Co-operative Federation of NSW (CFNSW) has achieved a nett operating profit of $5,941 – down significantly from last year’s $14,023. Membership fees are up $2,073 and member numbers have remained steady. The biggest single item in the costs is our secretary, followed by membership of the Business Council for Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM).

Several years ago, the board recognised that the Federation was seriously under-resourced and steps were taken to rectify that. Richard O’Leary was appointed Secretary and your board considers that move – and the expense – as a valuable investment.

Your board considered membership of the BCCM as a worthwhile investment in member service in it’s first year and decided to continue that membership. As members of BCCM, CFNSW continues to represent the interests of all of our members with the national peak organisations for the mutual sector. To maximise the value of this membership, we must know about issues facing our members. For the Federation to fully represent you, we must know about those issues and remind you to talk to us. We cannot offer detailed advice on matters, particularly legal or accounting, but we have developed a panel of suitable qualified experts that we can recommend with confidence.

As reported last year, the Queensland and Victorian Federations became dormant towards the end of the financial year so co-operatives in those states have no representative peak body unless they can afford to join BCCM. The Federation’s constitution allows for interstate members and they are always welcome to join.

Your board still considers that we have plenty of work to do to represent NSW co-operatives to the levels that we want so we have not actively pursued interstate members. If interstate co-operatives apply to join CFNSW, they will be welcomed and represented but we are not, at this time, actively seeking interstate members; our focus remains NSW based co-operatives.

The Federation has developed a new website as a means of communicating a great deal of information to members who avail themselves of the service that is provided. The development of this new website has been a slow and, at times, frustrating process but it is a useful member resource. I recommend that members visit the site regularly to remain in touch with the Federation’s activities and developments within the sector generally.

As part of the Federation’s brief to develop the co-operative sector, Directors and our Secretary have been actively assisting a new co-operative development agency in Western Sydney and the Federation has been asked to join two similar groups based in Sydney and Newcastle Universities. It is early days for these initiatives but the possibilities are very interesting.

In closing I would like to thank the Federation Secretariat for their hard work and support during the year. I would also like to pass on my sincere appreciation to my fellow directors for their corporate governance and the support and guidance they have provided to me as Chairman. Above all I would like to thank you, the members, for your ongoing support of the Federation and we look forward to continuing our association in the years to come

Geoff Goodworth