History

The Country Music Association of Australia was formed late in 1991. This followed a decision by the then organizers of the Australasian Country Music Awards, (Radio 2TM) to discontinue the traditional Awards night, started in 1973. Instead Golden Guitars were to be presented at a number of different venues during the Festival. This actually occurred in January 1992 and was deemed a failure by the industry. The decision to change the format was taken by 2TM (through it's subsidury BAL Marketing) without consultation with the industry. Artists, record companies, songwriters and other industry people were incensed by the change to our long established "night of nights". A small group comprising Slim Dusty, John Williamson, Joy McKean, Phil Matthews and Max Ellis decided to start a an organization which would fight for the interests of the Australian country music industry particularly in regard to the Awards. The Country Music Association of Australia was launched in Tamworth in January 1992 with Slim Dusty at Chairman, John Williamson as Vice Chairman, Joy Mckean as Treasurer, Max Ellis as Secretary and Phil Matthews as Public Officer.  A Board of 18 industry members was appointed. Funding was generated by a huge concert at the Rodeo Arena in January 1992 with virtually all the industry’s major artists performing for free. It raised over $40,000. In addition, APRA gave a $10,000 grant as well as legal assistance. By June 1992 the CMAA had achieved it’s first of many achievements. After lengthy negotiations, Radio 2TM generously agreed to hand over the Awards without charge to the new body.