Melina Morrison is an experienced cooperative leader working for more than two decades in the cooperative and mutual movement.
Melina was the driving force behind the formation of the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) in 2013 after heading Australia’s Secretariat for the International Year of Cooperatives.
As chief executive officer of the BCCM she has led the movement to historic achievements. Her campaign for access to capital resulted in new laws and more than A$350 million released into Australian cooperatives and mutuals since 2019.
Melina led the development of the Mutual Value Measurement Framework© to measure the value of cooperatives and mutuals. She has raised A$24.5 million in government funding for cooperatives in agriculture and care. Melina is leading a project to develop the first reporting framework for cooperatives for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). She is a director of Australian Mutuals Foundation which assists financial cooperatives in South-East Asia.
Melina’s work for the ICA includes editing the ICA Digest for five years and writing the message platform for the ‘Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade’. She was engaged to write a strategic communications plan and assist ICA’s media outreach in the International Year of Cooperatives.
Melina was educated and raised in the island state of Tasmania in Australia. She studied law and arts at the University of Tasmania and started her career in communications and the arts, before taking these skills into her work raising the profile and promoting cooperatives internationally, including for the ICA, and in Australia. She lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband, a journalist and her daughter, an intensive care nurse. The family lived and worked in London for seven years and she holds Australian and British citizenship.
- Proven leadership of the cooperative and mutual sector.
- Dynamic campaign strategist successful in uniting the sector and galvanizing industry-wide support for peak representative bodies.
- Proven ability to raise significant financial and industry backing.
- Successful track record gaining governmental and intergovernmental, NGO, institutional and public support for the cooperative sector.
- Repeatedly delivering on fundraising campaigns and achieving regulatory and legislative reform for the sector.
- Highly regarded cooperative commentator with impressive record for sector advocacy.
- Led the formation of Australia’s first, national apex body for cooperatives and mutuals; representing a movement with 31 million memberships and $A35 billion turnover
- Developed the first national blueprint for cooperatives and mutuals in Australia leading to a raft of regulatory and legislative reforms and improvements in public awareness
- Built a bipartisan coalition for legislative reform leading to the first new laws in 18 years, when new financial instruments for cooperative and mutuals were legislated in law
- Facilitated the widening of options of new capital instruments for growth, which have already released A$350m into Australian cooperatives and mutuals
- Secured political support for cooperatives including the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and the Australian Treasurer (now Prime Minister) who have granted the sector more than A$14m in industry funding and an independent government review of legislative barriers
- Successfully granted a further A$2.5m for agricultural cooperatives program in 2020 and A$7m to develop cooperatives in the aged care, disability and social care sector
- Led a decade-long communication campaign to improve awareness of cooperatives, starting in 2012 when Melina conceived and delivered Australia’s International Year of Cooperatives campaign including being the only UN Member State to secure both a minted coin and a postage stamp.
- In 2021, Melina successfully developed a documentary on agricultural cooperatives on Australian TV. Fightback Farmers was viewed by more than 400,000 people in the first month of streaming.
- Successfully lobbied for the first co-operative business leader, Dr Andrew Crane, to join the B20 when Australia hosted the G20 meeting in 2014.
- Successfully delivered key communications strategies for the ICA including the International Year of the Cooperatives Commemorative Book, Building a Better World: 100 Stories of Co-operation; the global digital platform, stories.coop; and the message platform for the Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade – Our Storybook.
- Developed the first measurement framework for cooperatives and mutuals.
- Developed an education program and governance principles for cooperatives and mutuals
Selected research and publications
Melina has written and commissioned over 30 research reports, including the first diversity and inclusion reports for cooperatives in Australia.
- Sticky Money: Recognising the total value created by Australian Co-operatives and Mutuals, EY 2014
- National Mutual Economy Report, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
- Eliza’s Project: Advancing Gender Equality in the Cooperative Sector, Percapita 2017
- Disability Inclusion in the co-operatives and mutuals sector in Australia, 2019
- Leading the Resilience Report, 2020
- Co-operative Farming: Blueprint for future proofing Aussie farmers, 2020
- Primary producer co-operatives: The beating heart of community resilience and recovery, 2021
- Purposeful, Sustainable Business – Co-operative and Mutual Enterprises meeting the challenge of ESG, 2021
- Doing Business Together – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Inclusion in the Australian Co-operative and Mutual Sector, 2021
- A strong economy: It’s every Australian’s business – Blueprint for an enterprising nation, 2021