Bluetongue Resources

Blue Tongue is a research-based consultancy in the field of worker cooperatives and employee-owned firms. Our members have written and produced articles, books and papers and case studies from around the world which are aimed at providing resources to the general community in Australia. Our aim is to advance the employee-owned sector by providing a roadmap to success based on our praxis methodology. “Learning by doing”.

The employee-owned firm is not a new concept and has not received enough assisted support to bring it into the mainstream of Australian business.  Globally there are inspiring examples of businesses that have been transferred to their staff.  We look into success stories of this type of succession around the world and a few interesting local transitions. 

 Join us on our journey.

Learning about Employee Owned Businesses

Succession planning is challenging, and in many cases business owners fail to sell. This usually results in a negative situation with employees losing their jobs, and in some cases unemployed long term. The Blue Tongue CDN aims to reverse this trend utilising employee buyouts in the form of employee-owned worker cooperatives. 

Employee Buyouts – Price Waterhouse  

This manual outlines the steps an owner can take to sell their business to their employees. Initially issued in July 1996 as a joint project by Price Waterhouse, the Co-operative Enterprise Project, the Registry of Co-operatives and the Australian Employee Ownership Association. (now called Employee Ownership Australia). This is the third edition updated Set. 2020.

Creating Jobs through Employee-Owned Cooperative Enterprises

Being unemployed, especially long term, is one of the toughest challenges anyone faces. This guide takes you on the journey of how a group of individuals can combine their resources to embracre the co-op sultion in creating their own work. Produced by the Cooperative Enterprise Project and the Commonwealth Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs.

1980s Co-operative Development Agency (CDA) Model

Dr Anthony Jensen writes this one-page article about the successful Cooperative Development Agency which had the support of the NSW government in the 1980s. This is the model we should replicate today with changes learnt through praxis since.

ICA-Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade

This paper has been written under the guidance of the planning Work Group of the International Co-operative
alliance by Cliff Mills and Will Davies, Centre for Mutual and employee-owned Business, University of Oxford. 

Insolvency, employee rights & employee buyouts

The Employee Buyout (EBO) is seen as a breakthrough in dealing with both the issue of employee entitlements and when appropriately used, is a successful strategy for corporate rescue, with a lower failure rate than management buyouts.  Compiled by Anthony Jensen, Ithaca Consultancy, London August 2006 

Internal-Capital-Accounts (ICA) 

An illustrated guide to the internal capital account system for employee-owned worker cooperatives. The Bluetongue co-op believes this is an ideal system for Australia.

Worker Co-operatives in Australia History

Short six-page read on the six phases of worker cooperative formation in Australia.

Developing Skills in Australian Manufacturing “Future of Work”

Outlining the development of a market strategy for Australian manufacturing to move towards a High-Performance Employee-Owned workplace by developing different employment relations and employment structures.  Includes details of C-Mac, a manufacturing co-op. Dr Anthony Jensen

Socially Responsible Succession 

Presented by Frank Webb, Business Clarity to Family Business Australia the cooperative structure, the processes and challenges of a consultant.  

The Co-op Federation

The Co-op Federation represents and services cooperative enterprises in Australia.
Provide advice, support and advocacy to member co-ops. Educate the public about cooperatives and assist new cooperatives in forming or existing businesses to convert to a cooperative structure.
Provide co-op specific training – Formation, Board governance, strategic planning, conflict resolution, compliance.
Facilitate co-operation amongst cooperatives nationally and in solidarity with the vibrant global movement.

Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals (BCCM)

The BCCM is the peak body for cooperatives and mutuals in Australia and exists to raise awareness and improve the business environment so that member-owned businesses can compete on a level playing field with other forms of business.

The International Cooperative Alliance Asia-Pacific

The regional organisation unites, promotes, and develops cooperative enterprises across all business sectors in Asia and Pacific business sectors.


It is the International Organisation of Industrial and Service Cooperatives. Promotes and represents workers’, social and producers’ cooperatives at the world level.

International Cooperative Alliance (ICA)

The voice of cooperatives worldwide.

General Links

Document with a host of links to other helpful sites on worker cooperatives put together by a member of the Blue Tongue Co-op to help new members source information.

Worker Coop buyout Experiences in 1980s in Australia

The transforming of moribund manufacturing businesses through the medium of a worker buyout in a mature industrial country such as Australia in the 1980s has enabled a deeper understanding of the factors that make up the characteristics of the success of such a radical venture in workplace democracy. 25 Pages by Anthony Jensen, University of Newcastle, Australia

The Labour Managed Firm

A theoretical model explaining the emergence and behaviour of six cooperatives in Italy, Spain and the United States. Dr Anthony Jensen

Worker Cooperatives as a Model for Family Succession? The case of C-Mac Industries Cooperative Ltd in Australia.

An extract from “Waking the Asian Pacific Co-operative Potential” Chapter 37.  Written by  Dr. Anthony Jensen1 and Frank Webb based on their experiences as academic and business coach facilitating this project. 1University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia  and Business Clarity, New South Wales, Australia

Proof Bakery sold to employees in 2020

The employees at Proof Bakery have taken over the business. The popular pastry spot – a mainstay along Glendale Boulevard for more than 10 years – has been sold to its employees, who are now running it as an employee-owned co-op.

ICA-Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade – Environment

This paper produced by the ICA as a blueprint for this decade talks about how worker cooperatives can have a positive impact on the environment. Environmental statements are highlighted in green for easy reference.

Australian Worker Cooperative Listing

Bluetongue Cooperative Development Network has compiled a list as of 2020 of known employee-owned worker cooperatives in Australia.

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