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Accommodation merger inches closer

The agonisingly slow regulatory progress which will result in the creation of a new peak body representing the accommodation sector reached a key milestone this week, with the formal Scheme of Amalgamation agreed separately by the Council of the Accommodation Association of Australia and the Australian Hotels Association Board.

FIRST mooted more than two years ago, the proposed merger of the AHA and the AAoA will create Accommodation Australia, as a “single national voice for the sector”, with IHG Hotels & Resorts chief Leanne Harwood mooted as the inaugural President of the new organisation, alongside Marriott Worldwide’s Sean Hunt as Vice President and TFE Hotels Director Bruce Copland as Treasurer.

Both the AAoA and AHA are registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act, meaning several convoluted regulatory steps are required for the merger to be finalised. These include a formal Fair Work Commission hearing which is now scheduled for late November, which will in turn allow the proposed pact to go to a member vote.

That will in turn lead to a postal ballot of AAoA members conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission in February next year, and if approved the Fair Work Commission will make its final orders regarding the proposed amalgamation.

The Accommodation Association, which last month saw the departure of interim CEO Richard Munro, has confirmed that he will be replaced by Michael Johnson – CEO of AHA offshoot Tourism Accommodation Australia – while recruitment for the inaugural CEO role for the new Accommodation Association is already under way.

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