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Mel Ireland becomes first woman to lead LIA

Wednesday, 10 May 2017
By Print21

'Let bygones be bygones': Mel Ireland, president LIA.

Mel Ireland, the popular former PIAA Queensland manager whose dismissal helped to spark a revolt against former CEO Jason Allen, has become the first female federal president of the Lithographic Institute of Australia (LIA).

Ireland was elected unopposed to replace former federal president Luke Wooldridge, who is stepping down.

“After 5 years in the executive roles and three as president, I felt it was the right time to step aside,” says Wooldridge. “I have worked closely with Mel for several years during her roles with both the PIAA and the QLD LIA committee and I have every faith that Mel will do a fantastic job for the LIA in her role as president.”

Ireland, one of a number of PIAA staff members who left following the arrival of Allen, is now an executive with national employers’ organization the Australian Industry Group (AI Group), which represents 60,000 businesses employing more than one million staff.

“I was rapt, obviously,” says Ireland, about hearing she would be the first woman to lead the venerable 54-year-old printing industry organisation. “But whether I’m the first woman or the second or the third, I’m just privileged that my peers have faith in me to do the job. You can’t lead anything without support.”

Ireland says her immediate agenda will include heading down to Melbourne this month to meet as many LIA members as possible face-to-face at PacPrint.

“One of the first issues we’ll be looking at is how to encourage new people to join the industry, hence our recent focus on the state LIA apprentice of the year awards. At present, the average apprentice drops out after just 18 months so we need to do all we can to encourage them to stay in the industry. Industry training is a passion of mine and one that fits perfectly with the core values of the LIA.”

Ireland has little interest in revisiting the imbroglio of early 2016, that led to the departure of former PIAA CEO Allen.

“It’s in the past and I really don’t want to comment. We have to move on. It’s not worth getting caught up in and I’m happy to let bygones be bygones.”

It’s understood Ireland reached a confidential settlement with the PIAA after her case went to the Fair Work Commission.







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