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PIAA demands urgent action on power crisis

Monday, 04 December 2017
By Graham Osborne

(l-r) Walter Kuhn, president PIAA, with Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison and PIAA CEO Andrew Macaulay in Canberra.

A high-level delegation from Printing Industries travelled to Canberra to seek immediate help for printers facing massive power bills that have already caused some staff lay-offs.

PIAA CEO Andrew Macaulay and president Walter Kuhn are pushing for some form of federal compensation for small businesses struggling to survive in the wake of “grossly irresponsible” government policy.

“As ACCC chairman Rod Sims said last week, energy security is now a national crisis and the ongoing escalation of energy prices demands immediate action,” says Macaulay. “Walter and I have met with a number of senators, from both major parties and the crossbenches, and tried to impress upon them the urgency of the situation.”

Macaulay says he’s concerned the issue is not being recognized at the highest levels of government.

“We attended Scott Morrison’s address to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in Canberra last night and were astounded that the Federal Treasurer never even mentioned the issue of energy security, but instead delivered a 30-minute election stump-type speech that was just an attack on Labor Party policy. In fact, he never even mentioned the manufacturing sector. It was very disappointing to hear the Treasurer address a business meeting and not seem to have a grasp of the issues facing industry.

“We need a coordinated approach between state, territory and federal governments to take action now – not some vague, theoretical plan to have to problem fixed 18 months from now. It beggars belief that some politicians don’t understand the urgency of this.

“Our members are facing an immediate crisis and some printing businesses have already been forced to lay off staff members because of out-of-control power bills. Some companies have let go 10 percent of their workforce.”

Macaulay and Kuhn met with Minister for Small Business, Michael McCormack, to press their case for industry assistance and have meetings scheduled with ALP Senator Anthony Chisholm and LNP Senator James McGrath, amongst others. 

The ACCI has joined in the call for immediate action on energy security. “Many Australian businesses are already at breaking point due to rising costs,” says ACCI CEO James Pearson.

“Our members are telling us that there will be job losses and business closures if rising costs are not addressed urgently. Business can’t wait. We need action that will put downward pressure on prices.”






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