As the AHA(WA) celebrates 125 years of representing the hotel and hospitality industry, we also enter a new year of technological and economic changes. If one thing has remained consistent in the past 125 years, it’s the AHA’s ability to predict and react to change that affects our members. Disruptive technologies like the sharing economy and online travel agencies are impacting many of our members and we are on the front foot when it comes to representing industry interests in discussions with policy makers.
The change of government in Western Australia has brought momentum to a number of important issues that the AHA has been pursuing for years. These changes range from injecting funds into urgent destination marketing campaigns, reducing liquor licensing red tape through to direct industry consultations on policies such as the proposed Container Deposit Scheme for WA in 2019.
The new McGowan Government has been quick to activate discussion with industry around hospitality regulations, particularly areas that require reform, in order to stimulate business activity and new jobs. All of this reflects well on the government, which understands that to create new jobs for the state, our sector needs to thrive and not be held back.
In August the Federal Government Cabinet met in Perth and the Prime Minister used the opportunity to launch the AHA’s national commitment to the PaTH program and opportunities for young people to move off welfare and have their first job experience in the hospitality sector.
The AHA has nationally committed to supporting the Youth Jobs PaTH Programme with the aim of delivering 10,000 internships across the country and unemployed people to move off welfare and encourage employers who can access up to $10,000 in wage subsides.
I was privileged to join the Prime Minister and the Employment Minister, Hon Michaelia Cash, at a joint press conference, where our industry’s commitment to the programme was announced.
The Prime Minister also took an hour out of his extremely busy schedule to join myself, AHA staff and the management of the new Aloft Perth Hotel to tour the premises, meet hotel staff and engage in very productive discussions around the importance of the hotel sector.
Interestingly, the Prime Minister’s childhood was influenced by his involvement in the hotel industry as his father was a hotel broker in New South Wales.
The AHA continues to work on important issues for members, including regional alcohol restrictions - from the Pilbara to the Kimberley, supporting the development and activation of new regional events in conjunction with Tourism WA, and developing new workshops and programmes to assist members on the changes to the Federal Hospitality Award.
On the industrial relations front, the AHA has been successful in delivering for members a reduction in penalty rates and Award changes to make permanent part-time roles more flexible, all of which require our team to inform members about the important progress.
The AHA Government Relations work continues, with many opportunities to be pursued with the new State Government. In particular we are focussing on ways to make obtaining ETPs more streamlined, reduce objections and lengthen the period of time for which they can remain in force.
The AHA events team, after a successful hospitality trade show in late May, delivered the Accommodation Awards for Excellence on 21 August. Congratulations to David Constantine, General Manager, Parmelia Hilton Perth, on his elevation into the Accommodation Industry Hall of Fame.
The events team is now planning our gala event for November, with over 1,000 guests expected to attend the AHA Hospitality Awards for Excellence. I encourage you to nominate for AFE, which has a range of categories to ensure all hospitality businesses and staff have the opportunity to be considered Western Australia’s best.
Of course, the work of the AHA could not be done without the support of our members, our corporate partners and sponsors, and I thank you.