¬In April, the Hardware Association of New South Wales (HANSW) reclaimed its identity as an independent and autonomous industry association. The formation of the HANSW followed the winding up of the same organisation in 2001 under an agreement reached with the Australian Retailers Association.

After considerable deliberation, the HANSW Executive Committee decided that it would be in the best interests of the hardware sector in NSW if HANSW established itself as a separately incorporated association and reviewed its service provider arrangements. The establishment of HANSW as its own entity means that the association will have control over its own membership subscriptions and other forms of income, and will have the autonomy to decide how funds are to be allocated and how products and services are to be delivered. April also marked the affiliation between the HANSW and the National Retail Association (NRA), the largest and most representative employer organisation in the retail and service sector. NRA also services the Hardware Association of Queensland (HAQ) and the Hardware Association of Victoria (HAV).

HANSW will provide its members with a full suite of services, ranging from employment law to consumer law, and including tenancy and leasing and workplace safety advice. Members will access professional services via a ‘hardware hotline’, where advice and guidance will be given in respect to matters such as the defence of unfair dismissal or anti-discrimination claims, and for up-to-date information about wage rates and conditions of employment. Additionally, members wanting to invest in the training and development of staff will be able to turn to HANSW and NRA for help in formulating training plans and understanding how government funding can be obtained to mitigate training costs.

The President of HANSW, Michael LoRicco, says that the affiliation between HANSW and the NRA will strengthen the hardware sector in NSW and nationally. “Our decision to choose the same provider makes good sense, and will facilitate a better profiling of the hardware sector at the national level and generate a more cohesive advocacy and lobbying effort.”