By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
On Monday, Scott Leach was unanimously elected as the national president of the Australian Hotels Association. Leach had previously held the position as senior vice president of the AHA, while also serving his fifth consecutive term as president of AHA NSW – a position which he will retain. Australian Hotelier spoke to Mr Leach about his new role, and the causes he will champion as national president.
What was your reaction to being elected national president?
The AHA has a collegiate tradition of presidents serving a three year term. Mr Burnett had completed his term with distinction and I was humbled by the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of industry legends like Peter Burnett, Peter Hurley, Tom Maguire and many others.
How do you view the state of the national hotel industry?
Historically, the industry has always had its challenges – regulatory, political and economic. But regardless of what we are facing, it’s the resilience and determination of the AHA network across Australia that can deliver results for members – both at the state and federal levels.
What do you see as the main issues facing the national hotel industry? Do they differ from those facing NSW hoteliers?
The key concern of our industry at the local, state and federal levels is to ensure that policy is well thought out and properly researched. We need to ensure that knee-jerk ‘populist’ policies made up on the spur of the moment are avoided. It’s the same challenge everywhere.
I look forward to working with a Federal Government that is delivering record funding for Australian tourism, and ensuring pubs and accommodation hotels are seen as key participants in the engine room of the hospitality economy
What will be your first task as national president?
Our first task is to encourage all Federal Parliamentarians to support the Government’s backpacker tax reform bills – Tax Rates Amendment (Working Holiday Maker Reform) Bill 2016; Treasury Laws Amendment (Working Holiday Maker Reform) Bill 2016; and Superannuation (Departing Australia Superannuation Payments Tax) Amendment Bill 2016 – to encourage labour into remote parts of Australia.
How will you juggle both the national and NSW presidencies?
Like my predecessors, with the active support of our members at the state and federal level. Also with the help of my loving wife and supportive family. I am excited and grateful for this opportunity and will do my utmost to protect the interests of our great industry.