Archive for January, 2017

  • Xeikon sets up in Australia/NZ

    'The time is right': Bent Serritslev, Xeikon

    European digital printing technology leader Xeikon is establishing an Australia/New Zealand division that will be fully operational in February.

    The move follows the acquisition of Xeikon by printing and packaging giant Flint Group and a subsequent review of synergies between the companies.

    “After assessing the opportunities for both companies, we have decided the time is right to establish a direct sales and service organization in Australia and New Zealand,” says Bent Serritslev, Xeikon’s managing director Asia Pacific.

    “It will handle the full range of Xeikon digital presses and solutions for labels, folding cartons and commercial printing.”

    At the same time, Xeikon will end its collaboration with Melbourne dealer Absolute Electronics. “Xeikon would like to thank Absolute Electronics for their great long-term service and support in the region and helping us to build such a firm foundation. We will work closely with Absolute Electronics during the transitional period to ensure our customers remain a top priority,” says Serritslev.

    Xeikon, based in Eede, the Netherlands, is an innovator in digital printing technology and designs, develops and delivers web-fed digital colour presses for labels and packaging applications, document printing, as well as commercial printing.

    It’s estimated Xeikon currently has around 20% global market share of the digital print equipment market, second to digital giant HP.

    Xeikon, Belgium

    Flint Group, headquartered in Luxembourg, is one of the largest suppliers to the global printing and packaging industry, employing 7900 people and posting revenue of € 2.2 billion in 2015. The company develops and manufactures an extensive portfolio of printing consumables, including conventional and energy-curable inks and coatings, pressroom chemicals, printing plates and equipment, printing blankets and sleeves, and pigments and additives for use in inks and other colorant applications. Flint is Privately owned by Goldman Sachs in partnership with Koch Equity, a subsidiary of Koch Industries.



  • Neschen makes the cut with butchers

    Terry Wright’s Premium Meats of Randwick, NSW was one of the butchers who used Easy Dot removable signage.

    Starleaton CEO Ben Eaton used Neschen Easy Dot printable vinyl to solve a  signage problem facing 2,600 butcher shops around Australia.

    Hygiene is paramount in the promotion of meats at point-of-sale and shop windows need to be cleaned daily to hospital standards. Signage attached to the glass can be problematic.

    “We had been trying several products but some would just not remove from the glass for cleaning while others left a sticky mess behind,” says Andrew Howie, group marketing manager for Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), whose team is responsible for award-winning campaigns including the Australia Day Lamb ads.

    Eaton realised that Neschen Easy Dot user-peelable printable vinyl would be a solution to the problem. So, samples in hand, he met with Howie, who was an instant convert.

    “We could see right away that Easy Dot, with its dot-structured removable adhesive, could not only solve the remove-and-re-apply conundrum but, because it eliminates air bubbles, was quick and easy to apply by non-skilled people,” says Howie.

    Tests were conducted in association with Sydney digital wide-format printer Shout Media and soon the ‘You Never Lamb Alone’ POS marketing kits were rolling out from the MLA’s distribution warehouse to the nation’s butcher shops.

    Shout Media produced and cut the 1.2 and 1.5 metre-long strips on Easy Dot using food-friendly odourless inks on a digital wide-format printer.

    “The big advantage with Neschen Easy Dot is that it can be removed and re-applied several times; more than enough for the life of a campaign,” says Eaton. “The air channels between the dots mean that no special application tools are needed, just hand-smoothing. If a butcher gets it on crooked, just peel it off and try again. The same goes for cleaning the glass; peel of the Easy Dot signs and put them back on again once the cleaning is done.”

    “Easy Dot is a simple glass signage solution,” says Howie, “but then some of the best marketing ideas are just that: simple. Butchers love it and it’s on our radar for future campaigns.”

    Starleaton will be demonstrating Neschen Easy Dot and other sign & display solutions at PacPrint, Melbourne from May 23-26 2017, stand E30.

    Close-up of Easy Dot’s removable adhesive structure









  • PIAA Qld member wins OAM

    John Ferguson (r), at Fergies Print & Mail

    Prominent PIAA member John Ferguson, MD of Brisbane-based Fergies Print & Mail, has been awarded an Order of Australia medal (OAM) in the Australia Day Honours List for his service to sailing and to the community.

    'Chuffed': John Ferguson, MD, Fergies Print & Mail

    “Obviously, I’m chuffed about the award,” says the Olympic yachtsman. “Sailing has been part of my life all the way through and I spent last weekend out crabbing on the boat and fishing.”

    Ferguson was part of the Australian yachting team in four Olympic Games from 1968 -1988 – both as a competitor and a team manager – and is a former commodore of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. “Back in my day, we had to run chook raffles to buy a new sail. Unlike the athletes of today, we never received a penny for our equipment and training expenses. The only things we did get was airfare and accommodation.”

    A former 25-year member of the management board at University of Queensland Press, Ferguson just notched his 50th year at family-owned Fergie’s – the company originally founded in 1868 by his great grandfather – where he’s been managing director since 1976.

    “It’s a hard market out there but we’ve all been through tough times before and it’s all part of the repositioning of the printing industry. We’re looking forward to a great year in 2017.

     Fergies Print & Mail, based at Hamilton, an inner northern suburb of Brisbane, is a leading provider of communication services which include digital and offset print, mail, cross media, secure storage and supply chain management. The company services the eastern seaboard, into the Northern Territory and across the Pacific.


  • Screen rolls out latest Truepress models

    TruepressJet 520NX

    The biennial Hunkeler Innovation Days focussing on high-volume digital print production are on again from February 20-23 in Lucerne, Switzerland. Long supported by Screen GP, at this prestigious event the company will demonstrate its very latest models from the innovative Truepress Jet520 range of high-speed roll-fed inkjet presses, and also introduce important new features and functionality.

    While Screen GP Australia managing director Peter Scott will not attend this year due to PacPrint, he says: “Our flagship Truepress Jet520HD press featuring new inkjet inks designed for printing onto standard offset coated paper will be a major drawcard. For the first time the press is integrated with a Hunkeler Roll-to-Stack solution with Dynacut function to show automatic cutting and stacking of variable sheet lengths. Our very latest Truepress Jet520NX model, debuted at drupa 2016, makes its commercial launch at this event. It will be integrated near-line to a Hunkeler Roll-to-Stack solution featuring the HL6 laser module and printing value-added transactional applications.”

    Screen’s Jet520NX press is equipped with a newly developed 5-inch printhead module and supports a maximum resolution of 600 by 1,200 dpi, plus advanced ink volume control. This press can be fitted with an extra printhead for a ‘fifth color’ that enables the use of MICR black ink and other special or security inks.

    New front-end functionality to automate the production of complex, personalised direct mail and books, where each item varies in page size and volume is also being demonstrated at Hunkeler Innovation Days. Screen is also partnering with Horizon on their booth to demonstrate automation of binding books with variable page sizes and volumes.

    Screen GP is in Hall 2 of the Lucerne Messe exhibition facility. “Any Australian and New Zealand visitors to Hunkeler Innovation Days will find a warm welcome on our stand,” says Scott.

    SCREEN GP Australia Pty Ltd is a subsidiary of SCREEN Holdings Ltd, (Nikkei 225 Index No. 7735) one of the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of technology for the printing and pre-media industries. Its large range of equipment includes digital printing presses, grand format UV printers, digital label presses, workflow systems, RIPs, proofing systems and CtP platesetters. The company is also a well-known manufacturer of equipment for the semiconductor and flat panel display manufacturing industries. Screen GP Australia Pty Ltd was established in 1987.




  • Roland offers free RIP software upgrade

    VersaWorks screen

    Roland DG says its Roland VersaWorks Dual RIP and print management software is now available free of charge for customers of several previous printer models.

    “A major benefit for Roland customers is that our software is tailored exclusively for Roland DG printers and printer cutters, and optimised to maximise their performance and ease of use,” says Greg Stone, Roland DG Australia Product & Marketing Manager. “Our colour management tools and other functions have become important factors in the popularity of Roland products worldwide.”

    Roland VersaWorks Dual builds upon the intuitive, easy-to-use capabilities of Roland VersaWorks to provide high-quality printing while adding enhanced processing and editing functions. Roland VersaWorks Dual enables users to work not only with PostScript® files, but also allows for native processing of PDF files to ensure transparency effects are processed accurately. In addition, white or clear ink data can be generated easily in the RIP, ideal for use in producing transparent window graphics, stickers and personalised accessories with special effects. The position and size of special colour data can also be adjusted in the RIP for perfect registration. Features like rotation and mirroring of the data can be configured in the RIP as well, without the need to return to graphic design software. For LEF users, the newly available Maintained Clipped Position function is included which enables you to print designated images only. This feature is useful when extra processes such as clear effects are required for printing specific items.

    “Now that Roland VersaWorks Dual supports native PDF processing, we believe our printers provide an even greater level of value for not only the printing of signs and graphics, but for decorating a wide range of original goods and for prototyping applications such as package printing and press proofs,” says Stone. “We are committed to developing powerful, world-class RIP software that makes customers’ work even easier, while expanding their creative potential.”

    The software is now available for the following models:

    • · SOLJET PRO 4 XR-640
    • · VersaCAMM VS-640i/540i/300i, SP-540i/300i
    • · VersaSTUDIO BN-20
    • · VersaEXPRESS RF-640
    • · VersaUV LEJ-640, LEJ-640FT, LEC-540/330, LEF-20/12
    • · Texart RT-640

    For more information and to access the Roland VersaWorks Dual RIP download, visit, or contact Roland DG on 1800 500 119.



  • Currie Group tech boosts Optima Press

    Warrick Finlay, Optima Press managing director (left), and Andrew Finlay, production manager, with their new Horizon CRF-362 creaser folder from Currie Group.

    “It’s hard to find new sales out there in this marketplace, there’re so many competitors. It’s so hard to secure new business,” said Warrick Finlay, managing director of Optima Press in Osborne Park, Western Australia.

    Optima, a family-owned business that started out as a small A3 printer back in 1989, has long been a stalwart in both the offset and digital sectors – but with so much competition in the region, times haven’t been easy. “The Perth market is definitely oversaturated. The pricing that’s going around the industry – some of it is quite desperate, I’d say,” Finlay said

    That’s why, in April 2016, Warrick and his brother Andrew, Optima’s production manager, decided to expand the business their father Ian had founded nearly 30 years ago. The Finlays bought out Imatec Digital, bringing the company’s staff and clients into the Optima fold. “Imatec was looking around to move on, so we saw an opportunity there to work with the old owners and take the business over, which increased our digital sales quite significantly,” Finlay said.

    Taking on the clientele of an all-digital printing house was an eye-opening experience for the Finlay brothers and their crew, who had to quickly catch up with the speed these new customers required. “Imatec was a full digital house, whereas we catered for larger jobs. It was a bit of a learning curve for us as to how quickly the work needed to be done for that group of clients,” Finlay said.

    Imatec’s former staff have quickly become members of the Optima Press family, which prides itself on its quality hires and an ethos of personal responsibility in production and delivery of all print jobs. Even Warrick and Andrew Finlay themselves started at the ground floor of their father’s business – Warrick in 1995, Andrew in 2005 – and worked their way up to management positions. “We’re just a small group of guys who work well together and are relatively experienced in the industry,” Finlay said.

    Since buying out Imatec, things have been looking up for Optima. The company has adapted to the new fast-paced work cycle digital printing requires, and found digital to be a huge growth sector – one that it plans to target more heavily in 2017. “We’ve had a good start to the financial year, better than the last three or four years, so for us turnover’s increased slightly, and the profits are starting to improve as well,” Finlay said.

    To help grow this space, Optima turned to Currie Group, whose HP Indigo 3550 digital press had been a mainstay in its digital operations for more than five years. Optima also already owned a collection of Horizon equipment from Currie Group, including a AFC-566F folder and a VAC-1000, SPF/FC-200A stitching finishing line – but the new gear it purchased from Currie Group last year, including an HP Indigo 5000 digital press and a Horizon CRF-362 creaser folder, has given it a major efficiency boost. “Optima Press have been actively expanding their digital market for some time now. Adding a second HP Indigo 5000 series last year was further evidence of that strategy. With the increased volume in their digital printing facility there comes a need to expand the finishing area to eradicate bottlenecks – after all, it is no use having the firepower in the printing department to meet the new demand only to fall short on customer deadlines finishing the product,” said Adrian Dixon, WA state manager at Currie Group.

    Adrian Dixon, WA state manager, Currie Group.

    “Optima Press have been aware of this and have introduced a number of fully automated Horizon finishing products to keep pace with the HP Indigo presses,” he said.

    The Finlays say they’re more than happy with their purchases from Currie Group. “The Currie machines are going really, really well. For efficiency, they’re second to none, especially with the creaser folder and the stitching finishing line, and the Indigos are excellent for short form print,” said Andrew Finlay.

    The Finlays have nothing but praise for Currie Group’s install process and after-sale service. “They always seem to deliver on time, they’ll give you a realistic timeframe to work to and they’ll deliver on that timeframe,” Warrick said.

    Warrick says Currie Group’s equipment works well and suits the company’s needs, and Optima will look to buy more gear as its business continues to expand. “We’ve looked to purchase new equipment that’s quicker and capable of doing multiple things at one time, and that’s something we’ll push towards in the future as well – equipment that is going to have more than one purpose,” he said.

    Tough though times are in the West, Optima’s innovative thinking – combined with its customer-first philosophy that “printing is a service that every client expects to have a high level of quality, produced on time in a cost efficient manner” – should keep the Finlays’ company going for a good while yet.

  • Issue 877 – January 27, 2017

    A gremlin in the process caused a glitch in the first issue of this email news bulletin. Apolgies if you’re getting this twice.


    You’ve got to love Australia. We’re in the middle of an ‘unofficial’ four-day long weekend, with more people than not taking off this Friday after the Australia Day holiday. There are plenty of wowsers condemning the resurgence of the ‘land of the long weekend’ ethos but for me, even as I sit here working away, it’s a sign that we have our priorities in the right order.

    The sun is out, the water’s warm, the beaches and parks are crowded, the snags are on the barbie. It’s truly Godzone. The working year begins on Monday.

    Welcome to your latest issue of Print21, the premier news and information service for the printing industries across Australia and New Zealand.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing editor

  • Opus share buy back opens door

    Up to 20 million shares up for grabs will allow Richard Celarc, (pictured) former managing director to cash in most of his stake in the Hong Kong-controlled company.

    The deal, which became live on 8 December, will distribute some of the proceeds from Opus’ sale of Cactus to oOH Media in August. It represents approximately 20.7% of the company and the offer will remain open until 8 December 2017 or until the 20 million shares have been bought back.

    The shares are priced at $0.48 each, with the paid up share capital of the company valued at $23,465, 028.44.  This will drop to $23 million if all the shares are bought.

    1010 Printing, which owns the majority of the company is not intending to sell any of its shares in the buy back. Celarc and his associates own 12.33 million and have voted for the buyback. He has announced his intention to sell over 9 million of the shares, which will net him $4.5 million.

    The buy back leaves the book printer clear to focus on its operations. It has already indicated it will not be investing in new presses while it waits to see how nano ink digital technology i.e. Benny Landa, develops.

    Located in Yuanzhou, Guangdong Province in South China, 1010 Printing gained control of Opus in 2014 in a virtual firesale. Describing itself as the ‘fastest growing book printer in the Far East it remains one of Australia’s largest book printers with plants in NSW and Victoria.


  • Cashed up EFI breezes past $1 billion

    Guy Gecht, CEO, calls ‘mission accomplished’ for billion dollar revenue as negative currency shifts steals some of the glory.

    Achingly close to hitting the ambitious target set three years ago of boosting EFI’s revenue over the billion dollar, Gecht announces the company got to 99.2% or $992M in revenues for 2016. “In my view, the billion dollar mission was accomplished!  In fact, if the dollar exchange rate remained constant since 2015, we would have delivered $1.002B this year!  From about $500M in 2010, our growth story is quite impressive, especially at a time when others in our industry have shrunk,” he said.

    Gecht’s unusual publicly announced target, featured in Print21 2014, will be easily accomplished this year as the leading print technology company continues on its growth trajectory. The ‘billion dollar man’ said he’s happy with the results and prefers to look ahead to the next goals.

    For the year ended December 31, 2016, EFI reported revenue of $992.1 million, up 12% year-over-year compared to $882.5 million for the same period in 2015. Net income was $45.5 million, up 36% compared to $33.5 million for the same period in 2015.  Cash flow from operating activities was $121.1 million, up 77% compared to $68.3 million during the same period in 2015.

    “EFI delivered another record revenue quarter and our team’s execution drove significant improvements in margins, cash flow, and earnings per share, despite the negative impact of foreign currency,” said Gecht.  “As we start the New Year we are even more excited about the road ahead, especially with our upcoming introduction of the Nozomi platform targeted at digital printing for packaging.”



  • Show your Pride – early Pride in Print entries closing

    New Zealand printers looking to take advantage of the Pride in Print awards’ early entry fees should act now, as regular entries close on January 31.

    After Tuesday, the fee will increase from $65 to $99 NZD, with final entries closing on February 28. Categories include publications, business print, packaging, labels, sign and display print, promotional print, specialty products, and industry development and creativity.

    Sue Archibald, Pride in Print awards manager.

    According to Sue Archibald, awards manager, labels and publications have seen the most entries so far this year, with overall entry numbers at promising levels. “We’ve probably had about 250 entries so far. The number of entries right now is actually quite high, it’s a good indicator,” she said.

    Organisers are applauding the high quality of entries received so far, and anticipating more to choose from. “Historically, each year the entry level increases as quality of print keeps pushing boundaries, and Pride in Print reflects that, because we’re highlighting the best. Printers are very careful about what they’re entering, making sure the jobs they’re putting in are the best samples of what they’ve got to offer and they’re pushing the boundaries in some way,” Archibald said.

    This year, Pride in Print returns to Christchurch for the first time since 2008, after the 2011 awards were moved to Wellington following the earthquake. “We’re looking forward to a strong campaign this year, and particularly looking forward to announcing the winners in Christchurch. We’re excited that the 24th Pride in Print awards will be held there.

    “We have all been affected by the so many heart-wrenching stories about what the people of Canterbury had to go through – with many still facing significant challenges to return their lives to normal. There have also been many touching stories of courage, determination and unbridled generosity – with members of our industry featuring in many of these. Now we have a chance to let those colleagues, their families and their customers take centre stage in our industry’s special celebration,” Archibald said.

    The awards night will be held on May 12 at the Wigram Air Force Museum.

  • $250k still up for grabs in Future Print finale

    The Future Print project, the landmark joint venture initiative between Printing Industries and the AMWU, winds up in just over four months and with $250,000 in subsidised training still to be taken up, the race is on to fill the final subsidised training places.

    Future Print was established in 2012 to address two key areas of challenge for the industry – apprenticeship training and business transformation.

    The project sought, and was granted, Federal Government Funding for two projects. The now completed Future Print Apprenticeship Project saw a new, competency based apprenticeship training model designed and piloted by more than 300 apprentices. The more recent Future Print Business Transformation Project provided the opportunity for businesses to assess their performance, plan the transitions needed to meet future market demands, and train and equip to meet those demands.

    It is this second project, which is due to conclude in mid-May, which David Galbraith and the Future Print team at Printing Industries are working hard to ensure delivers every dollar’s worth of value to the industry.

    David Galbraith, Victoria Future Print advisor, PIAA.

    “To date, we have had hundreds of businesses undertake strategic reviews using the Media Super online Business Benchmarking service and many of those have gone on to work with Future Print consultants and use our Business Toolkit to create workforce development plans,” Galbraith reports.

    “Of the 500 federally-funded places for subsidised training, however, only 465 have been taken up – and now time is running out for businesses to snap up those last 35 places as once the project officially concludes in mid-May, the remaining funding is off the table.”

    While 35 places may not seem many, they collectively represent a quarter of a million dollars in savings for the businesses who take them up – but once the project reaches its end date, the funding is ‘off the table’.

    “Funds must be spent by the project’s conclusion, so while you can theoretically still commence subsidised training at any time up until the middle of May, those who don’t complete the course and get their paperwork done before that cut-off won’t qualify for the second subsidised payment. Realistically, that makes late January this year about the latest a trainee would want to start.”

    Courses available under the Future Print Business Transformation Project including Competitive Systems & Practices (Lean Manufacturing), Small Business, Colour Management, Sales and Digital Upskilling. Further information on each, together with information on how to register, can be found at or by contacting David Galbraith at Printing Industries on 0434 746 313 or by email at

  • Starleaton eyes photo & fine art sector

    Awagami paper being hand-made from Mulberry (Kozo) in Japan

    Starleaton, with newly acquired DES, will devote part of its stand at PacPrint 2017 to professional photography and fine art digital reproduction.

    “There is no dedicated photography trade show in 2017 and DES has built a very substantial following in this area with photo-art inkjet papers from Hahnemuhle, Breathing Colour, hand-made Awagami, its own-brand ChromaJet plus Epson printers and original media,” says Starleaton CEO Ben Eaton.

    “We see an opportunity to reach out to professional image-creators, print labs, schools, colleges and TAFEs and present a comprehensive display of photo/fine art technology, media, colour management and know-how.”

    Awagami Inkjet papers are favoured for reproduction by fine art studio Magnolia Editions; this is an inkjet print from Chuck Close’s famous ‘Phil’ portrait of composer/musician Philip Glass.

    Eaton says this will expand PacPrint’s appeal to a new audience that covers both professionals and ‘prosumers.’ The area will be dynamically themed and will feature Eizo calibratable monitors, X-Rite colour measurement and profiling products, plus free profiling services for users of Starleaton-supplied media.

    “Our PacPrint presence is the largest of any dedicated wide-format supplier and that includes the major equipment manufacturers,” says Eaton. “Now that Visual Impact is co-located with PacPrint and organisation is by the Visual Connections team, we feel very positive about the timing and success of the event.”

    More information about Starleaton’s photo and fine art initiative will be announced in the lead-up to PacPrint, which takes place at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre from 23-26 May 2017. Starleaton’s 483 sqm stand is E30.





  • Media Super seminars on law changes

    Media Super CEO Graeme Russell

    Media Super – which finished 2016 as one of the top 10 funds in Australia – is hosting a national seminar series to inform members about the changes coming to superannuation in July.

    “The changes affect everyone differently and the free Media Super member seminar will give you the information you need to feel more confident about your future,” says a spokesperson.

    The changes to superannuation law that take effect on 1 July 2017 will include: the introduction of a low-income super tax offset (LISTO) and a transfer balance cap, lowering the concessional contributions cap, reducing the Division 293 income threshold and the annual non-concessional cap, expanding tax deductions for personal contributions, altering the tax on investment earnings in transition to retirement income streams (TTRs), and introducing a catch-up measure for those with balances under $500,000. (Details below)

    The Media Super seminars will be held in April and May. “After the seminar, you’ll have the chance to meet your local Media Super Business Development Manager and Financial Planner to ask the questions that you need answers to. To set up a workplace session for your employees, contact your local Business Development Manager. 

    Media Super finished 2016 as one of the top 10 funds in Australia, with a Balanced (MySuper) return of 8.7% for a 12-month period. Media Super’s Balanced (MySuper) option, in which most members are invested, returned 6.72% for the six months to 31 December 2016, ahead of the median return of 5.51%, placing the company in the top quartile of Australian super funds for the period.

    The super changes include:

    Low Income Super Tax Offset

    The Low Income Super Tax Offset (LISTO) will provide a super savings boost of up to $500 a year for those earning up to $37,000 who have had a concessional contribution made on their behalf. This replaces the existing Low Income Superannuation Contribution (LISC), which is scheduled to expire on 30 June 2017.

    $1.6 million transfer balance cap

    A $1.6 million cap on the total amount of superannuation savings that an individual can transfer from an accumulation superannuation account to a pension account will be put into effect 1 July 2017. Superannuation savings accumulated in excess of the cap will be able to be maintained in an accumulation superannuation account, where the earnings will be taxed at 15 per cent.

    Those individuals already in retirement as at 1 July 2017 with balances in excess of $1.6 million will need to either transfer the excess back into an accumulation superannuation account; or withdraw the excess amount from their superannuation. Transitional arrangements will apply.

    Like the Age Pension, the cap will index in line with the Consumer Price Index.

    Concessional contributions cap from $30,000 to $25,000

    The annual concessional contributions cap of $30,000 for those aged under 50 – or $35,000 for those aged 50 and over – has been lowered to $25,000 for all individuals. The cap will index in line with wages growth.

    Reduction of Division 293 income threshold from $300,000 to $250,000

    Individuals with incomes over $250,000 will now be required to pay 30 per cent tax as opposed to the current rate of 15 per cent on their super contributions.

    Reduction of annual non-concessional cap to $100,000

    The non-concessional cap will reduce to $100,000 a year for those aged under 65, with an eligibility threshold of $1.6 million. Individuals whose total superannuation balance is $1.6 million or more at the start of the contribution year, will no longer be eligible to make non-concessional contributions. Transitional arrangements will apply. This is in place of the $500,000 lifetime non-concessional cap that was originally proposed in May.

    This reform will replace the current situation, which allowed individuals to make non-concessional contributions of up to $180,000 per year (or $540,000 every three years if aged under 65).

    Deduction of personal contributions

    Individuals under the age of 65, and those aged 65 to 74 who meet the work test, will be eligible to claim a tax deduction for personal contributions to eligible superannuation funds up to the concessional contributions cap.

    Currently this deduction is only available to those who earn less than 10 per cent of their income from salary or wages.

    Tax on investment earnings in transition to retirement income streams (TTRs)

    Earnings from assets in TTRs will now be taxed concessionally at 15 per cent. This change will apply irrespective of when the TTR commenced.

    Catch-up measure for those with balances under $500,000 (effective 1 July 2018)

    People with superannuation balances of less than $500,000 will be able to carry forward their unused concessional cap amount from 1 July 2018.

    If you would like general advice or further information about how these changes may affect your super or pension, please contact your local Business Development Manager.  




  • Roland road show to kick off in Albury

    Roland's Mobile Information Centre

    Roland DG Australia, a leading manufacturer of wide format inkjet printers and 3D devices, has announced dates and locations for the new Mobile Imagination Centre.

    Making its way around the country over the next two years, initial locations and dates for the Mobile Imagination Centre (MIC) have been confirmed. We will be kicking things off in regional New South Wales in February, with the first stop at Brad Jones Racing in Albury on 13th February, followed by Dubbo Showground in Dubbo on 15th February, and Bathurst Showground in Bathurst on 16th February. We are excited to announce that further runs have also been announced in regional Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

    More dates and locations are to be finalised. If you would like to request that the MIC visits your town, head to the registration page on the website, where you can also view the current list of MIC locations and dates:

    Along with the latest Roland devices and applications on display, the MIC will have Roland experts on hand to provide support, to educate, and to inspire. Visitors can register their event attendance via the website and also submit their entry to the ‘With Roland’ Competition by uploading image/s and details of inspiring work they have created with their Roland equipment. The best entry at each event location will receive an iDecora Desktop Vinyl Cutter and a main prize winner will be selected at the end of the year for a 3 night stay in “paradise”, a beautiful luxury island villa on a two-acre private property on the white sands of Bedarra Island, Mission Beach, Queensland*.

    To keep up-to-date with the whereabouts of the MIC, “like” us on Facebook or register your interest on the MIC website, where you can also view event locations and details, blog posts, photos, competition results, and more.

    Roland DG Corporation is a leading manufacturer of products designed to help professionals and hobbyists transform their imagination into reality, including SOLJET, VersaCAMM, VersaUV and Texart series large-format inkjet devices, MDX milling and EGX engraving machines, CAMM-1 and STIKA vinyl cutters and MPX photo impact printers. In 2010, the company entered the healthcare market with Easy Shape DWX milling machines designed specifically for creating high-quality dental prosthetics. Roland DG also recently introduced the monoFab series of desktop 3D printers and milling machines for rapid prototyping and manufacturing. The company uses its proprietary cell production technology to manufacture products that are distributed worldwide.

    For more information, please visit

  • Issue 876 – January 25, 2017

    Another year and another Australia Post price hike. For PrintPost i.e. magazines and catalogues it’s 4% up from January 3. There is no suggestion that Australia Post has improved its services or its internal working, no nod towards technology or efficiency in its operation. In other words no justification for the price rises.

    Australia Post management is killing the printing industry, or at least that substantial part of it that uses mail. And there seems to be little we can do about its monopolistic disregard.


    Welcome to your latest issue of Print21, the premier news and information service to the printing industry in Australia and New Zealand.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing editor

  • Aldus merges with Tronics

    Aldus in Melbourne

    Leading printing equipment supplier Aldus Engineering has merged with label machinery manufacturer Tronics to form Aldus-Tronics.

    “Aldus has always been looking into areas where we can expand in the printing and packaging industry and I’ve known Frank [Floriano], one of the directors at Tronics, for many, many years – he actually served his apprenticeship here at Aldus,” says long time Adlus GM Ian Guanaria, who plans to retire later this year.

    Frank Floriano, CEO Aldus-Tronics

    “Frank and I got to talking about six months ago and it went from there. We’re definitely very, very happy about the deal. We’re in the same industry and share a lot of the same customers so the two businesses complement each other very well. Tronics is a manufacturer of labelling machinery and ink jet coding equipment in Melbourne and we’re more on the printing side with labels and flexible packaging. We’ll all benefit from a combined approach to sales and service around Australia and New Zealand.

    “We’ll merge the Tronics plant at Silverwater in Sydney into the Aldus facility at West Ryde by the end of March,” says Guanaria. “They have a manufacturing plant at Broadmeadow in Melbourne, which will stay where it is at present, as will our Printing and Converting Division at Scoresby in Melbourne. Tronics also has operations in the US and Malaysia and we see no change to that in the near future. We’ll still be running two operations so there will be no major staff changes at this stage.”

    Floriano has been named CEO of Aldus-Tronics and Guanaria will remain as general manager for the time being.

    'A little bit more time sailing': Ian Guanaria, GM Aldus

    “I plan to retire this year after 45 years in the business and it all came together at the same time,” Guanaria says. “It’s time to hand over the baton to the younger generation. I’m 67 years old now and I want to spend more time working with my son and a little bit more time sailing. But I will be staying on for the best part of this year to help with the integration process.”

    Aldus Engineering, established in 1949, has been serving the graphics industry in Australia, New Zealand & South East Asia for almost 70 years. Originally manufacturing flexo printing presses and slitting systems, Aldus now distributes and services Mark Andy printing presses, Rotoflex slitters, Tidland air shafts, Fife edge guides and tensions control systems, and Epson digital presses. Aldus also has a paper mill that specialises in the supply of equipment and accessories for the paper making industry in Australia and New Zealand.

    Tronics, Malaysia

    Tronics is a leading supplier of locally designed and manufactured label application machinery, serving industries across Australasia since 1985. Since 2001, Tronics has been the Videojet distributor in Australia and New Zealand, and has subsidiaries in the United States, New Zealand and Malaysia.

    Aldus-Tronics will be launched at Auspack 2017 in Sydney in March. The merger deal is expected to be completed by June.







  • A fight for press freedom – McCourt’s ReVerb

    (l-r) Trump inauguration, 2017; Obama inauguration, 2009.

    Forcing myself to listen to President Trump’s inauguration address, I remained nonplussed until I heard: “We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly …”

    Huh? Just a few days before, we had all heard Trump refuse a reporter from a major network the right to even ask a question. We heard him call journalists: “dishonest” “disgusting” “liars” and “scum”. During his campaign, he said: “Believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems…” before threatening to close bothersome media down using libel laws. It seems the truth behind the Trump mask is vastly different to the words he used in his inaugural address.

    'Without a cynical media, tyrants flourish': Andy McCourt, Editor Print21 magazine

    There was more blahblah and bluster against the media from Trump, but you probably heard it all anyway. As someone once said: “everyone wants a free press until they are featured in it.” It is a hallmark of tyrants and megalomaniacs to first attack freedom of expression and discredit it by accusing it of bias, distortion and now ‘fake news.’ Benjamin Franklin knew this when he said: “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”

    Undoubtedly, perversions of truth can occur in the media; journalists and editors make no claim to angelic perfection but it should be born in mind what ‘media’ means, and its role in a democracy.

    It derives from the Latin ‘medium, meaning: “an intervening agency, means, or instrument.” It also implies “being in the middle of…” Media in all of its forms, electronic and print, is the middle-man in information dissemination. It is and should be on the cynical side, questioning everything and assuming nothing until researched and verified. This is not to advocate pan-society cynicism; it’s a job someone has to do in a healthy democracy and the ancient Greeks who invented both (fittingly cynic means ‘dog-like’), counted great philosophers such as Aristotle, Euclid, Plato, Socrates and Diogenes amongst its founders.

    We need cynics and sceptics

    Without a cynical media, tyrants flourish, mendacious men get away with murder and people become enslaved. Perhaps Mr. Trump would do well to consider the beliefs of previous American Presidents, beginning with the first:

    “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” George Washington

    In particular, Trump might consider the words of Theodore Roosevelt: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

    More recently: “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”Harry Truman


    Lurking in the shadows behind America’s new Caesar is the worrisome wraith of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. It should be emphasized that, although he promulgates his physical prowess and therefore comes across a bit of a jock, Putin was not only a lieutenant-colonel KGB officer, but a brilliant one. After his KGB posting in former East Germany (unquestionably a country that fulfilled Truman’s quote), he wrote a thesis for a PhD in economic sciences, focusing on raw materials and minerals – or did he?

    In 2013, Time magazine published findings from the Brookings Institute that asserted Putin’s 218-page thesis was plagiarized from an American economics textbook, including diagrams. Even in Russia, where ‘degrees for sale’ is a corrupt industry, it is nervously acknowledged that this might be the case but, as Brookings’ Clifford Gaddy says: “Everybody knows about it, but nobody wants to bring it up.” Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev brought it up and was quickly shut down – using the state-controlled media.

    Since assuming power in 2000, Putin has increasingly tightened his grip on the media. At least 21 unsolved killings of journalists and editors have occurred. The Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Russia in the top three countries where it is deadly to work as a journalist – only behind Algeria and Iraq. Many more journalists and even bloggers and Facebook posters have ended up in prison or been forced to resign after intimidation.

    As for freedom of the press, Russia ranks 148th out of 179 countries according to the 2016 survey by Reporters Without Borders. Australia, by the way, lies shamefully at 25th, well behind New Zealand at 5th. The worst? North Korea.

    A 2015 Huffington Post report notes that: “After Putin came into power in 2000, he established control over the three main TV stations. In 2001 and 2002, he took control of the two biggest TV channels, ORT (now First Channel) and NTV. The state broadcaster, RTR (now Rossiya 1), was already under his control. During his subsequent year in power, Putin moved more and more outlets under his influence until he controlled most of the major mainstream media. He appoints editors and general directors, either officially or unofficially.”

     And this is the man who America’s new President appears to hero-worship and sees as a good example. Yes, it’s a good example of total control of the media and abuse of power. As President, Putin has done a good job for Russia and no one could accuse him of not being a great patriot but that old KGB deviousness and cunning still underscores everything he says and does – it’s all about control.

    What about Australian media?

    How might all this affect Australian media? If Trump carries through on his promises to throttle the freedom out of the US media, learning from his idol Putin, it sets an example other world leaders might see as validated.

    We have not been immune from attacks on freedom of speech. Queensland under Joh Bjelke Petersen was notorious for its stifling of the media and persecution of journalists who were doing their jobs.

    More recently, we saw Gina Rinehart’s foray into media ownership, buying a large stake in Fairfax and demanding a seat on the board and the right to hire and fire editors. She did not like the way Fairfax journalists covered the mining industry and her private family stoushes. Failing to achieve either, she sold her stake again to focus on what she is really good at – mining. But not before trying to intimidate five Fairfax reporters including Walkley-award winning Adele Ferguson by subpoenaing them to reveal their sources. In living memory, journalists have been jailed for refusing to reveal sources – something that is enshrined in journalistic rights in all democracies.

    The 1975 kidnap and murder of newspaper publisher and activist Juanita Nielsen remains largely unsolved.

    If Trump is allowed to get away with a Putin-style clampdown on free media, the results will resound around the world and don’t think we will be immune in Australia. Unlikely, yes, but not immune.

    Constitutional rights

    There are a few inconvenient things standing in Trump’s way, such as the First Amendment to the American Constitution, Congress must pass any new anti-media legislation plus a vibrant, free, unreasonable and cynical media that exists coast-to-coast in America. I don’t think Trump gives a darn about any of these things, such is his self-centred lack of knowledge about the world in general. He’s used you giving the orders on reality TV, so that makes him a fine candidate for President? “You’re fired?”

    As for his meaningless mantra ‘Make America great again,’ what is not great about a country where, today, 30% of the world’s biggest 2000 companies are American (Forbes)? Where there are more billionaires than the next four countries combined? Where the IMF still ranks the USA #1 in world GDP (nominal) by a long way although China is predicted to overtake the USA in 2020 (but it does have 1.35 billion population!)? Also by far the world’s strongest military machine, spending more on defense than the next nine countries combined and possessing the world’s largest nuclear arsenal? The world’s two largest stock exchanges – four times the size of its nearest four rivals? The list goes on.

    Maybe what Trump means is: ‘Make me great again’ and anything, anyone, who criticises him is an enemy of that greatness – especially the media. Forbes reports that his wealth dropped by $800 million last year. He’s now ranked just the 336th richest person in the world. We should not overlook his six corporate bankruptcies.  He claims a net worth of around $10 billion, Forbes say $4.5 billion. Maybe he’ll finally release his tax returns.

    There is so much to report about America’s new President and his relationship with Russia (and I don’t criticize any sincere attempts at reconciling differences using diplomatic entente cordiale). The only way this can be done is with a free media, free of threats and retributions.

    But, he’s threatened and promised retributions – the first American President ever to do so, apparently learned from Putin. Even if it’s all mouth and braggadocio, it’s very unpresidential.

    Will our leaders look on and imitate? Or worse, be cajoled into clamp-downs by the Trump administration and America’s considerable sway over Australia?

    If ever this happens, welcome to 1984.

     Footnote: Trump’s PR machine’s latest accusation is that the media has not accurately reported the crowd size at his inauguration. Aerial photographs taken at the same time at Obama’s 2009 inauguration and Trump’s clearly show a greatly diminished crowd size – probably two-thirds smaller. And yet he and his minders aver that ‘the crowd was bigger and the media are liars… worst people on the planet…” blahblah. The fact that crowd size in itself is a major issue in assuaging this President’s ego is a worry, but to openly deny evidential fact, claim falsehoods as truth and those reporting the truth as liars is even more worrying. Check it out for yourself here.