Advancing the Co-operative Movement in Australia and Italy - A Three Year Research Project
15th Feb 2010 -
The Italian Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Gian Ludovico De Martino Di Monetgiordano opened the inaugural international symposium on the Cooperative Movements in Italy and Australia. The Italian Consul General for NSW, Dr. Latteri, was also in attendance. The symposium's theme was "The Past, Present and The Potential" and was held over three days at the Sydney University Village, The symposium signalled the first joint collaboration between the European Research Institute for Cooperative and Social Enterprises (EURICSE) at Trento University, Italy and the newest research group in the Faculty of Economics and Business, the Co-operative Research Group (CRG). Co-directors of the CRG, Prof. Greg Patmore, Pro Dean at the Faculty and Dr Leanne Cutcher hope that the symposium marks the beginning of more joint research activities between the two groups.
Cooperatives are associations of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. In Italy and Australia today there are a range of co-operatives, including; consumer, producer, finance, and worker co-operatives. The cooperatives movement in Italy is well established, dating back to 1854 and is a now a major component of the national economy. Cooperatives are today the main provider of social services in Italy. The symposium explored the contribution that cooperatives have made to social and economic life in both Italy and Australia.
The opening address for the two day symposium was by the President of EURICSE, Prof. Borzaga from Trento University. His address focused on providing an account of the evolution of the flourishing cooperatives movement in Italy. In papers that followed Australian comparisons in the retail and finance sector, worker co-operatives and the indigenous community were explored. Dr ErmannoTortia also from EURICSE provided some stimulating discussion around a possible theoretical framework for studying co-operatives. Presentations were also given by Australian practitioners including; Mr Neville Parsons from Holiday Coast Credit Union, Mr Peter Mason from the Credit Union Foundation and Mr Richard O'Leary from Macleay Regional Co-operative.
Anthony Jensen, a Sydney University PhD candidate played a key role in organising the symposium which also brought together representatives from credit unions, the ACTU and retail cooperative sector interested in exploring the cooperatives movement.
Left to Right: Dr Latteri (Italian Consul General to NSW); Prof. Borzaga (Trento University and President of EURICSE), H.E. Gian Ludovico De Martino Di Monetgiordano (Italian Ambassador to Australia), Prof. Greg Patmore (Co-Director of CRG at Faculty of Business and Economics), Dr Leanne Cutcher (Co-Director of CRG at Faculty of Business and Economics)