By James Wells

CANBERRA: The Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (AEEMA) today approved a motion at its annual general meeting to consolidate its operations with influential industry association the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group).

In May this year, AEEMA and AI Group announced the proposed merger 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.

The amalgamation of the two groups has been discussed several times over the years due to the overlapping membership particularly in the information communication and technology industries as well as electrical manufacturing sectors.

According to a statement released by AEEMA, the resolution was passed at the AGM by a majority of the Association’s 300 members, “who recognise that consolidation provides an enhanced membership package and more powerful advocacy through the strength of Ai Group’s brand and high standing with governments throughout Australia”.

“This is an historic chapter in AEEMA’s long and proud history, with the consolidated association positioned to address the needs and challenges of our members both today and in the future,” said AEEMA’s Chief Executive, Angus M Robinson, who has announced plans to retire next year.

“Members will quickly see the benefits of being part of a large industry grouping committed collectively to creating business opportunities for its members which in turn bring economic development for future generations of Australians,” Robinson said.

Ai Group’s Chief Executive, Heather Ridout, welcomed the decision, saying that Ai Group was able to offer AEEMA members an extensive and enhanced suite of services and programs, as well as a more influential voice in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

“From 1 January 2008, AEEMA members will gain access to Ai Group’s comprehensive business services and specialised technical programs, such as training, advice and assistance on human resources, workplace relations, procurement, energy and environment services, economic analysis, export development, occupational health and safety and legal issues,” Ridout said.

“The two associations have already identified a number of natural synergies, particularly between Ai Group’s large industry sector groupings and AEEMA’s forums. We will be working together over the coming months to integrate AEEMA’s groups into Ai Group’s business networks and facilitate interaction, partnering and business development opportunities.

“Bringing the organisations together will provide a boost to AEEMA’s advocacy effort on core policy issues such as delivering fast, reliable broadband, addressing the challenges of a global market, supporting innovation across the whole value chain, and developing cleaner, greener and smarter manufacturing,” she said.

“Perhaps one of the most important opportunities for AEEMA members is Ai Group’s environmental and energy support services. Ai Group is already an important player across a whole range of environmental issues, including climate change and carbon trading. AEEMA’s long-standing position on a wide range of ‘cleaner, greener and smarter’ manufacturing issues and its close linkages with key government agencies will fit neatly with Ai Group’s objectives.

“AEEMA has accomplished much for its members, particularly in recent years, and, as part of Ai Group, its members will be well positioned to realise even greater achievements in the future,” Ridout said.