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2018 news wrap: Print comes out of the shadows

Friday, 21 December 2018
By Wayne Robinson

Making mates in Canberra: Andrew Macaulay with prime minister Scott Morrison, crossbencher Bob Katter was never far away

2018 will be noted as the year print came out of the shadows and into the Canberra spotlight, thanks in large part to the tireless lobbying of the PIAA and Andrew Macaulay.

Invigorated by a new Board with some of the country’s most dynamic printers around the table the PIAA CEO Macaulay and its president Walter Kuhn made multiple trips to the nation’s capital, to convey to the legislators and policymakers the big six vital issues facing print; energy, skills and training, IR, sustainability, AusPost pricing, and Aussie first print procurement.

Due to its fragmented nature print has always had a low profile, even though it employed as many people as the car industry had, and is now the country’s largest manufacturing industry.

However that profile is rising rapidly, and the inaugural Print2Parliament held in October saw more MPs and Senators turn up than for any other industry event, according to the politicians present.

More MPs and Senators at Print2Parliament than any other industry event

Print2Parliament was the highlight event of the year’s lobbying, which saw Macaulay and printers use plenty of show leather walking the corridors of power, and talking with everyone from the prime ministers and other government minsters, their opposition shadows, and the powerful crossbenchers, most of whom were also at Print2Parliament.

By any measure Print2Parliament could be judged a serious success, certainly in raising the profile of the print industry and creating a new level of engagement in Parliament, with both printers and politicians taking the opportunity to dialogue together. Senator Wayne Swann – who says he has more printer in his constituency than any other – told the crowd that printers and politicians were joined at the hip.

Amid all the warm salutations coming from the platform Media Super boss Graeme Russell gave the politicians a volley, calling on them to tell the nation’s banks to support manufacturing, especially print, which he said they had ‘virtually abandoned.’

Real Media Collective was also spending plenty of time in Canberra on the trail of politicians, including engaging with them over AusPost, and running the Keep Me Posted campaign, scoring wins including seeing Consumer Affairs Ministers telling telcos, banks and utilities that they have 12 months to get paper billing organised, or the government will intervene, and may totally ban charging for bills.

Print also played its part in mental health coming out of the shadows at long last, with many industry leaders making it clear than there is no need to hide, with great initiatives like Man Anchor and the Media Super mental wellbeing scheme.

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