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The majority if not all of AMA co-operatives (coops) are distributing, which means they have share capital and members must hold at least the minimum shareholding specified in the rules.

A distributing co-operative may distribute to members a part of the surplus generated in a year by way of:

  • a rebate, or
  • the issue of bonus shares to members, or
  • the issue of a limited dividend.

The Co-operatives National Law requires each distributing coop to produce a disclosure statement, which must contain the information necessary to ensure prospective members understand the extent of their financial involvement and liability.

Investor Shares are issued to members with the primary purpose of funding the acquisition of land and establishing facilities in suitable localities throughout Australia to support the primary activities of each of the AMA Coops.

By law, no single member can own more than 20% of the share capital in any AMA distributing coop.

Subject to the consent of the board, shares can be transferred to other members or repurchased by the co-operative.

A co-operative (coop) is a democratic member owned organisation that is owned and controlled by its members for a common benefit. Coops are traditionally based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, equality and solidarity.

Even though coops are companies limited by guarantee, they are different from public companies because voting rights are based on membership (ie. one member, one vote) rather than shareholding. 

While other types of corporations are owned by shareholders or stockholders, coops are owned by its members or the people who use the services of the cooperative. 

What can a coop do?

Coops can be involved in a variety of social and commercial activities such as owning and operating 4WD parks, motorcycle parks, caravan parks, residential parks, campgrounds, etc. A co-operative may carry out any activity defined within its rules, which must be approved by the relevant Australian state/ territory government agency.

Who regulates coops?

All registered Coops except those in QLD, are governed by the Co-operatives National Law (CNL) and are regulated by the relevant state/ territory agencies, eg. NSW Office of Fair Trading.

Documents such as disclosure statements, rules, etc relating to a coop, must be approved by the relevant Australian state/ territory government agency.

What is coop membership?

Coops must have at least five active members at all times. There is no limit on the maximum number of members a coop may have.

Coops are controlled by their members, who each have one vote, no matter how many shares they hold.

Only members who actively utilise or support the coops primary activities as required by the coops rules (ie. active members) are able to vote and are able to retain their membership. 

All coop members subscribe to the seven international coop principles.

What are the international coop principals?

The seven co-operative principles ensure all stakeholders in the economy – customers, workers, suppliers – can have a say in business decisions. These are:

  1. Voluntary and open membership
  2. Democratic member control
  3. Member economic participation
  4. Autonomy and independence
  5. Education, training, and information
  6. Co-operation among co-operatives
  7. Concern for Community

What are the different types of coops? 

Co-operatives can be either distributing or non-distributing. Distributing co-operatives must have share capital and members must hold at least the minimum shareholding specified in the rules.

A distributing co-operative may distribute to members a part of the surplus generated in a year by way of:

  • a rebate, or
  • the issue of bonus shares to members, or
  • the issue of a limited dividend.

Non-distributing co-operatives are not required to have share capital.

A non-distributing co-operative must not distribute surplus funds to members. If the co-operative is wound up members can only get back the nominal value of any shares they hold in the co-operative. The surplus must be distributed as provided for in the co-operative’s rules. A non-distributing co-operative structure is more likely to be suitable for community organisations.

What is a coop's liability

Coops are incorporated bodies, so members are not liable for the coops debts. A coop is a limited liability entity. A coop is a separate legal identity, so it can buy, own or sell property itself.

Where do I find more info about coops?

The Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals has plenty of information on offer, plus they have a video which simply describes What is a Coop.

About AMA Coops

To learn about AMA Coops, please refer the About AMA Coops page. 

Each AMA co-operative (coop) property has insurance to cover any and all physical assets, including buildings, stock, contents, fixtures & fittings, plant & equipment from fire, business interruption, accidental damage & crime.

No AMA coop property has insurance to cover any event or activity of the coop or its members. All  

 

Growth in memberships has enabled the Australian Motorist Association and the Australian Motorcyclist Association (the AMA) to test funding models that could be used for acquiring land and establishing facilities in suitable localities throughout Australia to support the objects of the AMA.

It was decided that the co-operative (coop) model was the most appropriate legal model for this enterprise because it was capable of bringing in investment from AMA members and engaging the same community in its activities through active membership. 

The AMA has now moved to its operational phase where AMA coops can issue shares in order to finance the acquisition of land and associated infrastructure for camping, driving, riding, living and any associated activities.

What are the primary activities of AMA coops? 

As described in the rules, the primary activity of an AMA RV Park, is to provide an area where people can stay overnight, or longer, in allotted 'campsites', whereas the primary activity of an AMA RV Village is to provide an area where people can live with their RV's and visitors can stay overnight, or longer, in allotted 'campsites'.

The primary activity of an AMA ORV Park, is to provide an area where camping and associated activities and driving and riding skills and knowledge can be learnt and practised ‘off road’, whereas the primary activity of an AMA ORV Village is to provide an area where people can live with their ORV's and visitors can camp overnight and participate in associated activities and learn skills and knowledge from practising driving and riding 'off road'.

Are AMA coops distributing or non distributing? 

The majority if not all of AMA coops will be distributing, which means the AMA coops have share capital and members must hold at least the minimum shareholding specified in the rules of the coop. As a distributing coop, members shall receive a part of the surplus generated in a year by way of:

  • a rebate, or
  • the issue of bonus shares to members, or
  • the issue of a limited dividend.

 

The AMA coops idea is simple, to provide an avenue where Australians can come together and affordably own their own slice of Australia.

In short - the AMA coops are about people coming together to share in the cost of buying land for the establishment of member owned Recreational Vehicle (RV) and Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Parks and Villages.

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