The owners of five of the 11 units in MTAA Super’s trustee company will demand details on its direct employment of staff for the $6 billion fund, following the severance of a contract with Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA Ltd) to provide the secretariat.

Executives from the motor trader associations of NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, which last week formed their own national automotive industry body claiming to represent 80 per cent of the industry, said they had no idea how MTAA Super’s trustee was staffing the fund now that the previous secretariat contract with MTAA Ltd had been severed.

The eastern states launched the Australian Automotive Industry Association (AAIA) last week after all leaving MTAA Ltd over the past five years.

The executive director of MTA Queensland, Ian Field, said the majority of compulsory contributions to MTAA Super now came from employers represented by the AAIA, and the body had the right to know how the super fund would now be staffed.

The four states behind AAIA control five of the 11 shares in the MTAA Super trustee because the owner of one, the Service Station Association of Australia, is merging with MTA-NSW.

The chief executive of the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce, David Purchase, was dismissive of the possibiltiy that the AAIA could sway another state or territory to leave the MTAA, and thus gain a controlling majority of the MTAA Super trustee.

“We don’t need to increase our shareholding to ensure that our members interests are properly represented in regards to MTAA Super.  We will be seeking discussions with the chairman, Allen Hawke, who we know would want our members’ interests to be properly represented…we can’t say what actions we will be taking to protect our members’ interests, but we hope common sense will prevail,” Purchase said.

Interestingly, the associations behind the AAIA own over 70 of the 115 units in the MTAA Unit Trust, which owns MTAA House in Barton, Canberra. The Unit Trust has been the subject of legal action initiated by MTA Queensland against MTAA Ltd. MTA Queensland claimed MTAA Ltd ignored pre-emptive rights and acted illegally in issuing itself four units redeemed last year by MTA-NSW.

MTAA Ltd occupies a floor of MTAA House, with most of its 30-plus employees working at least part-time on MTAA Super business. However it is understood to not have a lease on the office space, despite holding a 99-year lease from the Government over the land on which the low-rise is built.

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