The High Court delivers the Mabo Decision, which rules that indigenous native title does exist. This effectively extinguishes the concept of terra nullius


MTIA opens an office in Jakarta, “flagging a significant new era for the Association and its members — an era of global competition and recognition of the importance of the Asia/Pacific region to Australia”.

Eighty per cent of Australia's emerging exporters rate Indonesian markets as a priority, according to an MTIA survey.


Longstanding Contributor

National Database Operator Val Fiala was fresh out of school when she joined EEASA (Engineering Employers Association of South Australia) as a Payroll Officer for the EEASA Group Training Scheme.

When EEASA merged with Ai Group in 2009, she joined, and continues to be part of, the membership and database team.

“My team is amazing, and I love it,” Val says.

“Twenty-eight years later and I am still here! First and only job to date with duties ranging from payroll to accounts and general admin work. There is always enough to keep me interested and busy.

“Coming straight out of school, I’ve gained a lot of experience, learned a lot of new skills and made long-lasting friendships.”


MTIA steps in when the AFMEU tries to recruit employees from Mona Vale’s Asahi Diamond Industrial, which had no union members.

In a newspaper ad after the successful conclusion of the case, Asahi said: “MTIA, which handled the case so effectively from the outset, spared no resources to ensure its members’ rights are protected.”


On May 22, Queensland Premier Rob Borbidge officially opens MTIA’s new $2.5million QLD headquarters at 202 Boundary St, Spring Hill, the same building that houses Ai Group staff in Brisbane today.


Bert Evans is made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). He had already been honoured in 1984 when he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).   

Bert Evans retires as Chief Executive of MTIA on October 26.

“It would be no exaggeration to say that Bert Evans, more than any other industry leader, was responsible for the adoption of a new, positive industrial relations culture gaining hold in this country.” — MTIA Directors in a tribute book to Bert Evans upon his retirement


Prime Minister John Howard’s tribute to Bert Evans is published in MTIA Input, a national magazine for our members.  


CEO Bob Herbert is appointed Chief Executive of MTIA, a position he held for eight years. He was a Director of Ai Group for 30 years, having joined the organisation as an IR trainee.  


During the award simplification process between 1996 and 1998, the content of awards is substantially simplified to deal only with ‘allowable award matters’. Extensive negotiations between MTIA and MTFU and lengthy AIRC proceedings take place to simply the Metal Industry Award. The award is completely re-written, with many new flexible provisions inserted, and a large number of outdated provisions removed.


Bob Herbert facilitates the merger of MTIA and the Australian Chamber of Manufactures on July 1 to form The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group). The merger was driven by a realisation by both organisations that the industry base was changing with the general industrial environment and, as such, a new approach was needed. Significant competition had existed between MTIA and ACM for members.


Longstanding Contributor

Ai Group’s Canberra-based Office Manager and Events Coordinator Cathy Whitmore joins the organisation as an Administrative Assistant, a year after the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures (VCM) and MTIA merge to become Ai Group.

“When I joined Ai Group, we were using WordPerfect and our access to the Membership Database was via a printed folder that was updated a couple of times a year,” Cathy says.

“My role has evolved over the years from administration to Executive Assistant to events management and I have had the pleasure of working for all parts of our organisation including Defence, Environment and Energy and Government Relations.”


The unions pursue a major campaign in Victoria to replace enterprise bargaining with pattern bargaining in the manufacturing industry.

Ai Group works hard on many fronts to protect members’ interests including pursuing major cases in the AIRC and in the Federal Court with successful outcomes. Throughout the unions’ campaign, Ai Group conducts briefings every two to three weeks to keep members informed and involved, with hundreds of employers attending each briefing.

Ultimately, the unions’ campaign fails, and genuine enterprise bargaining is retained in the manufacturing industry.