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Closer to unified & powerful industry voice: Accommodation Australia

Amalgamation milestones: Agreement on 'Scheme', extended interim role for Michael Johnson & search underway for Accommodation Australia CEO

The amalgamation of the Accommodation Association of Australia Council and the Australian Hotels Association Board has reached several important milestones and is now closer toward a unified Accommodation Australia

After a pivotal moment last week, when the peak industry bodies agreed on a ‘Scheme of Amalgamation’ and announced a search was underway for the new CEO of Accommodation Australia, it was also announced that Michael Johnson will be supporting the existing team of AAoA as interim CEO.

The proposed new peak body, Accommodation Australia will become the single national voice for the sector through the merging of the Accommodation Association (AAoA) and Tourism Accommodation Australia.

A joint application to the Fair Work Commission to proceed will be lodged.

Our latest AccomNews print issue is available now! Read it HERE.
With both the AAoA and the AHA registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act, there are a number of regulatory steps to follow as part of the proposed amalgamation process which is on track for completion in mid-2023:

  • This includes a Fair Work Commission hearing in late November as part of its decision to allow the amalgamation to go to a member ballot
  • In Feb 2023, the Australian Electoral Commission will conduct a secret postal ballot of AAoA members
  • On April 23, the FWC makes its final orders regarding the proposed amalgamation 

It’s intended that Leanne Harwood will be the inaugural President of the merged entity, with Sean Hunt Vice President, and Bruce Copland as Treasurer.

On the agreed Scheme of Amalgamation Leanne Harwood, Accommodation Association Chair said: “With substantial work from both organisations over the past 16 months, the amalgamation is now progressing to the next stage.

“As member led and member-driven organisations, we stand united in our mission to deliver members a new merged body with an independent board and leadership team to best represent their interests.”

“We are one step closer to unlocking the power of a unified national voice for the accommodation industry, which is critical as we continue to rebuild our businesses after one of the worst trading environments in decades.”

“Accommodation Australia will draw on the considerable scale of our combined member base to ensure accommodation takes the lead in tourism decision making with government, given the flow on economic effect to local communities and businesses when providers like hotels, motels, and caravan parks enjoy elevated occupancy.

“We are taking the time to get this right and secure the relevant regulatory approvals from the FWC as efficiently as possible. I’m pleased to share the search for the first CEO of Accommodation Australia is already underway.

“As we continue working to build the best outcomes for members in terms of representation through a clear voice, we need our members to also continue working with us on overcoming all of the challenges we face.

“As a member organisation, the Accommodation Association need the support of our members to continue to monitor, respond to and advocate for policy decisions that work for you, especially at a Federal level and where new governments are elected, to ensure the best outcomes for your businesses and our industry as we continue recovering post-Covid.”

Sean Hunt, TAA Board Member and proposed VP of Accommodation Australia added: “There’s no doubt today is a pivotal moment for the accommodation sector nationwide. For the first time, we have come together with one voice.

“It truly is a historic moment.

“After a tough two years for our industry, is great to see both the Accommodation Association National Council and the AHA National Executive and Board unanimously agree to move forward together – with the proposed rules and scheme of amalgamation now going to the Fair Work Commission for approval.”

“While there are still some steps to take along the road, today marks a major milestone to providing that one strong, united voice for accommodation, a voice in which all members and stakeholders have a say as we work together for the betterment of all.”

Michael Johnson

The Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) also announced that Michael Johnson will be supporting the existing team as interim CEO in the lead-up to the proposed amalgamation with Tourism Accommodation Australia.

This news follows last week’s key milestone of both the Accommodation Association Council and Australian Hotels Association Board separately agreeing on the Scheme of Amalgamation to create the new, united peak body, Accommodation Australia, subject to a member vote and a couple of regulatory steps.

Recruitment for the inaugural CEO role for Accommodation Australia is already underway.

Accommodation Association President Leanne Harwood said: “Michael will primarily be focused on our core business, ensuring we maintain our focus on Advocacy, National Policy, and delivering services and events that add value for our members. His parallel role with TAA will greatly assist in alignment across these areas.”

“Cass Champion will continue to lead our RTP business with a focus on attracting, training, and placing talent, and our career development pathways in hospitality. I know this is important to our members and that they have been seeing the benefits of our work in this space.

“There’s no doubt staffing remains our biggest challenge, and it’s important to acknowledge the significance of our recent major wins including the Victorian Government’s $5.6 million investment in the Accommodation Association’s Victorian jobs program to support the placement of up to 400 candidates in regional and metro member properties for at least 12 months; and the Federal Government’s commitment of $10 million to expand and enhance the Accommodation Association’s ‘The Hub’, our market-leading portfolio of game-changing programs to build our workforce for members.

“Thank you to our members for your support to date. This is another step forward to Australia’s Accommodation Sector speaking with one voice to deliver even stronger industry representation for our members.”


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