By James Wells
SYDNEY: The board of the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (AEEMA) and the national executive of Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) have announced plans to amalgamate by the end of the year.
The proposed merger is expected to eliminate duplication in both groups and coincides with the announcement that AEEMA chief executive, Angus Robinson, will retire in 12 months.
The announcement of the proposed merger was made through a joint statement issued by the national president of the Australian Industry Group and Electrolux Home Products managing director, Trevor Carroll and the president of AEEMA – Ken Bridges.
“A key outcome of the consolidation will be to create a substantial national grouping of both large and small technology driven companies in the electrical manufacturing, electronics, and information communication and technology (ICT) industries,” the statement said.
“The move will deliver enhanced and more effective services to companies who are currently joint members of Ai Group and AEEMA as well as to those AEEMA companies who would come into Ai Group for the first time.
“AEEMA currently has some 300 members in the electrical manufacturing, electronics and ICT sectors and around a third of these companies are also Ai Group members.
“Following a period of consultation, confirmation will be formally sought from AEEMA’s membership at the October AGM, with the objective of completing the consolidation process by the end of November."
Carroll and Bridges both observed that the amalgamation would represent improved public advocacy and representation; business networks and business development as well as specialised technical and business services.
“Within the cross sectoral umbrella grouping of Ai Group member companies, the new organisation will include a core high technology group of some 1,000 members,” Carroll said.
“An enhanced ICT Australia grouping will provide substantial leadership to the further development of Australia’s information and communication technology (ICT) industry, with a particular focus on growing Australia’s digital suppliers industry."
Bridges said AEEMA has been privileged to have provided administrative support for the National ICT Industry Alliance (NICTIA) since its inception over six years ago.
“Ai Group has committed to continue and nurture the collaborative operating culture and operational mode of NICTIA, and to assist NICTIA in working cooperatively with governments at all levels to realise the aspirations of the recently launched 10 year vision statements,” Bridges said.
Robinson will work over the next 12 months with Ai Group chief executive Heather Ridout, to ensure that the consolidation arrangements are finalised, current commitments to the Electronics Industry Action Agenda are completed, and to oversee the consolidation of the ICT Australia grouping.
“We just think it is a terrific opportunity to provide greater value for members and a more powerful voice for the industry,” Robinson told Current.com.au
“This is absolutely designed to complement the work we do and receive the benefits of the commercial and business services offered by Ai Group such as human resources, industrial relations, occupational health and safety as well as education and training.
Robinson said that AEEMA’s focus on technical compliance and action agendas will be built into a larger organisation.
“AEEMA will disappear in time as a brand with forums such as ICT, Australian Digital Suppliers Forum will remain unchanged. The branding of the forums will be lifted in the context of a larger group.”
Ridout admits that there is a “very significant” overlap, but cannot commit to a specific percentage until due diligence has been conducted.
“It’s a positive move. We are very confident we can maintain a high level of service for AEEMA members,” Ridout told Current.com.au.
According to Ridout, the amalgamation of the two groups has been discussed several times over the years due to the shared membership particularly in the information communication and technology industries as well as electrical manufacturing sectors.