NickWhitlamAll of Australia’s state motoring associations have formed a new federation which will absorb the Motor Trades Association of Australia, while two candidates interviewed for the MTAA Super chairmanship, including former NRMA president Nick Whitlam, have so far failed to gain majority board approval.

The chief executive of the NSW Motor Trades Association, James McCall, said his West Australia and South Australian counterparts had agreed to join the rest of the states in a new body, the Australian Motor Industry Federation (AMIF), which would become “the industry’s representative body”.

However NSW MTA has also rejoined the MTAA – at a rate of $10,000 per year rather than the $550,000 it was paying prior to its break-away in 2009 – while it “works out what, if any, role” the body will play in the future, according to McCall.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers report attached to the latest MTAA audited accounts sent to ASIC cast doubt on the body’s viability, particularly given the loss of its $9 million-per-year contract with MTAA Super for secretariat services. That contract is being transferred to a new service company owned by the super fund trustee itself.

The head of MTA Queensland, Ian Field, said his body was yet to rejoin MTAA, but he acknowledged there was value in MTAA assets such as its shares in the MTAA trustee and the Canberra headquarters for MTAA Super, MTAA House.

McCall said bones of contention, such as the control of MTAA House, should be smoothed over now that all the state motoring associations were working together through AMIF. For almost a year, MTAA had operated with the WA and SA motor trades bodies as its only state members.

The next challenge for the industry reps on MTAA Super’s board is to find a long-term chairman, following the departure of Allan Hawke in August citing health reasons.

The pro tem chairman of the fund, David Lloyd QC (a former judge of the NSW Land & Environment Court) confirmed that two candidates had been interviewed for the role, including former NRMA president Nick Whitlam, however “no final decision” had been made and a global search remained ongoing.

It’s understood that Whitlam, the preferred candidate of MTAA Super CEO Michael Delaney, received unanimous support from the four employee representative trustees, but none from the employer reps. It’s understood that support for the other candidate, a senior female executive from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, fell the opposite way.

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