A unified, single voice for the accommodation sector in Australia moved a step closer this week with the proposed merger of the Australian Hotels Association/Tourism Accommodation Australia and the Accommodation Association.
Tourism Accommodation Australia chair Martin Ferguson AM and Accommodation Association chair Julian Clark (pictured) provided a joint update at Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) in Adelaide, 5 May, saying ‘substantial work’ had been conducted over the past 12 months on the governance framework required under the complex legal and regulatory processes that apply.
They reported necessary governance foundations had been put in place to move into a more formal, mandated and complex process run by the Fair Work Commission, while the working group can now focus on the operational framework and approach.
The merger is expected to take over nine months to complete.
“Australia’s accommodation sector deserves and wants one united voice. Government has told us that a united body would place us in a much stronger position, especially moving forward in the current landscape,” said Ferguson.
“This is a monumental and historic moment but there is still a long and complex path ahead in bringing together two democratic organisations with much of the approval process managed and determined by ASIC, the FWC, the AEC and shaped by association law. It’s further complicated by the legal complexities of bringing together a national organisation and a federated organisation with plenty of legal requirements that need to be met. We have and will continue to take our time to get it right in the interests of all members of both organisations,” he added.
Clark said a point had been reached whereby the commercial and legal framework had been largely agreed by the respective boards and the draft rules had been sent to Fair Work Commission for review. “It’s not sexy work but it is fundamental work. Indeed, it has taken us nine months to get to this stage. Whilst this may appear painstakingly slow to an outsider if we don’t get this right the amalgamation is Dead on Arrival. It’s that important and it’s why we have spent so much time on this.”