Living Co-operatively Symposium 13-14 February 2008, Petersham NSW.

Symposium Agenda: To consider the connection between housing provision and strong sustainable communities and to develop a co-operative response to Australia's affordable housing crisis. Co-ops = Financial and social revenue + primary social objectives and contribution to society! (Hon. Linda Burney, NSW Minister for fair trading, youth and co-operatives) “We need to initiate a broad discussion and open dialogue with the government and wider community about ageing cultural views on home (ownership). We need to redefine housing to meet our cultural needs instead-home ownership-it's a farce. It is the responsibility of co-ops and other local housing groups to increase awareness and share knowledge about what we can and have done to improve our living through collective resourcing”.(Gunn-Britt and also Hon. Linda Burney) 1. Co-ops helping co-ops (Gun-Britt Keyntoe Speaker from Sweden)-Establish or identify local positions-in council, local department and local ministers, etc- but also other co-ops. Now is the time to really form a strong community within your networks and also with the wider community! 2. Social Capital (Jenny Onyx UTS Professor) - Is not individual but reliant on combined and connected effort and requires material and social capital from each individual particularly at commencement of project. Be clear about “for whose benefit” the project is. The key is in the relationships-ie. Bonding networks (within the group) and Bridging links (to the wider community). Also consider the social agency within the group, ie the capacity of each to be actively particpating. This may be measurable (http://www.mapl.com.au/A2.htm). 3. Learning and education-Maintaining a high quality of social capital through skilling ourselves where needed so as to reduce the need for financial resources and to keep us informed and ahead in the market. 4. Public and Private partnerships (Adam Farrar NSW Fed of Housing Assoc's)Changing our attitudes from an “us and them” approach and seeing Housing as a complete (yet unmet) market in this country. Accommodating for the 'new' family setting and building for smaller households (efficiency and sustainability). 5. 'Thinking outside the square $$' (Joseph Connellan)-Always consider the most effective and efficient use of $, Housing those in need is about moving them from 'Needy' > Accessing resources and education > middle to higher incomes and opportunities. Utilising old 'mansion' homes, volume building and single roofline housing. Combine resources, equity, needs-A collective and co-operative approach to living- eg. group insurance, collective maintenance, etc wherever you can! Could we incoporate social capital (sweat equity) into our balance sheet??! Consider measuring the ($ and social) cost and repercussions of poor housing to government?! 6. Uniform and united approach (John Mant ARCH, Lawyer and urban planner)Discard old ideas (like choosing the leader in housing ie Europe not US!) and redistribute the power and resources in a uniform way-not public verses community housing! Have or (lobby for) a Minister specifically for housing-find out who and what the best local representation is that you have!

Other things to consider: -Encouraging beauty of our environment to include art..eg. Dedicate a small percent to this. -Maintaining savings/education/investments accounts as a group to pool capital resources/attract better rate of return... -Encouraging 'ownership' via internal investments, opportunity to buy in/shares...? -Maintaining life quality through long term planning for the elderly...extra needs(eg child care/disability, etc-ie. Meeting the needs of communty with a (life) comprehensive approach. -Bringing in extra income outside of rent revenue....eg, creche service, markets,produce, artworks, contribution to entrertainment funds from members -What monies are available to us? eg. State Rental Bond interest, other 'pools' awaiting our application! Positive Outcomes At the end of the seminar, we broke into groups and workshopped as to just what to do from here... 1. Form working parties for your and our cause-Make our voices heard, local to federal. 2. Expand and communicate old cultural ideas about Australian family values-Altering the idea of Housing from investment to the simple human right of having access to an affordable home! 3. Publicity on behalf of co-ops and within. Making co-ops and “attractive” option. Promote-educate and inform public and governments Partner-with others and each other! Policy-reviews on what and where is considered sutiable and appropriate (identify what specifically needs to be visited for us) Innovate-ensuring sustainable design practices and thinking broadly “Triple line accoounting-ie. Financial+Social+Environmental”

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