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Promoting print to the politicians

Friday, 03 November 2017
By James Cryer

Addressing the issues of print: Andrew Macaulay, CEO Printing Industries, Trent Zimmerman, Federal MP North Sydney and James Cryer, JDA.

Andrew Macaulay, CEO, Printing Industries, meets with Trent Zimmerman, the Federal Member for North Sydney, as part of a his ongoing campaign to raise the industry’s public profile. James Cryer went along.

This week I had the privilege of being present at a meeting between Andrew Macaulay, CEO Printing Industries, and Trent Zimmerman, Federal MP and Member for North Sydney. It was part of a plan to encourage Trent to get out and visit some printing companies in his electorate and to sit down with the owners to gain a better understanding of any concerns and issues impacting on them.

There are no shortage of issues affecting the industry and Andrew was quick to draw attention to them during the meeting. Among the issues he raised were:

  • the energy security/energy pricing issue, the impact of which is starting to bite as printing companies experience higher and more volatile energy cost pressures.
  • the skills-based immigration program which seems out of kilter with the needs and demands of our industry, in two ways:
  • we are not allowing many highly-educated people in, who would assimilate rapidly and bring not only assets but management skills; and
  • the recent changes to the 457 visa’s list of acceptable skills has meant we have too many of some and not enough of others.
  • the destruction of TAFE colleges by the States, combined with the ramping up of universities by the Feds as the favoured tertiary education provider. This has created a perfect storm, by virtually starving the manufacturing sector, of which print is the largest sub-set, with the demise of the car industry, of new entrants. The skills shortage is now imposing a limit to growth on many printing companies who just can not find staff – be they factory-floor or client-facing roles. 

Andrew explained, in no uncertain terms and I think to Trent’s genuine surprise, how the modern print industry of today is now a great employer, and an exciting career choice; ideas which are alien to many including politicians. These notions will no doubt be dramatically demonstrated when Trent is taken on a tour of various printeries around the lower North Shore –just make sure to hide those Vertical Miehles.

The meeting was part of a drive we’ve undertaken to ensure that our industry adopt a higher public profile. By that I simply mean get out in the public arena, send ‘print ambassadors’ to talk to school kids and TAFE colleges about our exciting ‘new’ industry, invite political leaders to more print industry functions. Printers should be encouraged to hold a function at say the Art Gallery as Whirlwind/Lindsay Yates did last month and invite the mainstream media. My spies tell me our industry may even hold an exhibition of print in the hallowed halls of Parliament House in Canberra – what a fantastic idea!

Anyway, it was a great meeting, if judged by the fact that, after the unrelenting propaganda campaign waged by Andrew and me, Trent appeared genuinely interested in our industry, impressed by its achievements in terms of efficiency, and I think, fair to say, much more sympathetic to the idea of print as a career choice, than ever before. 

And maybe an industry worth saving – instead of trying to kill it off as Australia Post tried to do

I’d like to think that Trent can see more clearly now, the consequences it will have on an otherwise thriving industry, if his government starves us of skilled staff and allows energy prices to shoot through the roof.

And don’t forget there’s a printing company in virtually every electorate with employees who vote! So send any thoughts on what you’d like in your Christmas stocking to the PIAA, which is now playing a more active role than ever before in its history, in terms of reaching out directly to our political decision-makers.


2 Responses to “Promoting print to the politicians”

  1. November 06, 2017 at 9:46 am,

    Inky McFee

    Why not hold the print awards in Canberra and invite some of those people on the public purse (ie politicians of all stripes), including the new Australia Post MD? Why not a week’s ‘festival of print’ showcasing ALL parts of the industry – from Litho to Car Wrapping and everything in between? Print and post still has a good story to tell.

  2. November 06, 2017 at 10:38 am,


    Inky, because no one apart from the board of the PIAA would attend and in any case, Canberra is the primary assassin of print, thanks to our print-hating PM

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