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Motor traders tie knot under new body

AMIF launch: Back row (L-R) - Pat Browne, Neville Gibb, Malcolm Little, Maurie Pinfold. Front row (L-R) - Tony La Rosa, Christine Macauley, Richard Dudley, David Fraser, Catherine Phillips.

Split auto retail industry heals as state bodies agree to new national voice

General News logo5 Jul 2011

THE Australian motor retail trades industry has finally been reunified more than a year after splintering over dissatisfaction with the management of the former national body, the Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA).

Leaders of state-based motor trades groups from all states and territories on Monday put the seal of approval on a new national peak body, the Australian Motor Industry Federation (AMIF), to take up the cudgels on behalf of automotive retailers and repairers.

The new organisation brings break-away states – New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania – back together with states that stayed with the MTAA – South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.

The big eastern states also have agreed to fold their own industry organisation, the Australian Automotive Industry Association (AAIA), which they formed in May last year after walking out of the MTAA.

They had hoped the other states would join their new group, which effectively gutted the MTAA by taking 80 per cent of the industry’s small auto businesses to the new body, but after a year of negotiation, a compromise deal has been struck to form an entirely new organisation.

 center imageHowever, the Canberra-based MTAA will remain as an entity, as will the MTAA Super Fund that has been the subject of several negative news reports that say the fund – managed by former MTAA executive director Michael Delaney – suffered a $1.93 billion hit on its investments in the 2008-09 financial year and had drawn the attention of Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

The wounds in industry have taken time to heal, and although all parties agreed that a national body was needed, the road to a new arrangement has not exactly been rapid.

Member organisations of the new body are the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC), the Motor Trades Associations of NSW, Queensland, WA, SA, NT and ACT, and Tasmanian Automobile Chamber of Commerce.

Last year when the eastern state organisations announced their breakaway group, MTAQ executive director Ian Field said: “We had sought to reform MTAA from within but found that was impossible.

“Therefore, we have established a new association which will be less distant and more connected with the needs and desires of automotive businesses nationwide”.

Announcing the new-look organisation after the meeting in Melbourne on Monday, AMIF chief executive officer Richard Dudley said organisations from all states and territories had been present at the launch event, demonstrating the unity within the federation.

“The Australian Motor Industry Federation is important because the RS&R (retail, service and repair industry) is the nation’s largest small business industry sector, representing 100,000 businesses, 310,000 employees and an aggregated turnover of $160 billion per annum,” he said.

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