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$12 million greenfield printing site for Woollongong

Tuesday, 03 April 2012
By Print 21 Online Article

Focus Press has snagged $6 million from the Federal and NSW State Government to build a state of the art print factory in the Illawarra, south of Sydney. The 50% grant kickstarts the project, which according to David Fuller, CEO of Focus Press, will primarily target printing currently going offshore to China.

The printer scored the largest piece of the $30 million Government-backed aid package, which follows BlueScope Steel’s August downsizing of 800 jobs at its Port Kembla plant.

Fuller said he intends to operate its new ‘centre of print manufacturing and training excellence’ by employing up 190 people from the Illawarra region; previous print experience not required. His Sydney-based printing business, Focus Press, was the only printer of the 13 businesses to claim the first round of regional financial assistance.

“The fact that the Federal and State Government’s are contributing to the setting up of this site with new equipment is just unbelievable. It’s a fantastic result for our industry and a vote of confidence by the Government,” he said.

“To start with we will be placing around 30 local people and train them up in direct mailing and value added services to printing. We aim to get them up and running while we decide on what technology to put into the plant.”

When the new green print facility scouted for the Unanderra is in place it will act as a digital and offset printing hub for the rest of the printer’s multiple sites around Sydney that are operating at capacity. With his new site Fuller aims to deliver prepress and design services, offset and digital print manufacturing, coatings and binding, packaging, warehousing and supply of purchases made through Focus Press Online.

He intends Focus Illawarra to become a centre of excellence in new technology R&D, sustainability and training, complementing services provided by existing printers in the region making them more viable in the long term.

“The printers in the area that know me, know that I won’t be a threat because I don’t play in their market. I’m not interested in picking up the work currently done by local businesses. Rather I am keen on grabbing the work that is currently being exported overseas. I have targeted quite a bit of that already and have some in place to start the site off with.

“A lot of the work that is currently outsourced to China is high value added technical work such as jewellers books. I believe we will be able to bring a lot of that work back with new manufacturing techniques,” he said.

In line with the manufacturing workforce of the region the facility plans to have a major focus on training, with partnership in place with the University of Wollongong and TAFE to work up an education plan.

“The focus of the new site will be to bring new printing techniques to this industry. We plan to search the world, find out what the newest manufacturing techniques are and apply them to our operation and make that available to everyone through white papers, mentoring and working with other printers,” said Fuller.

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