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Industry talks back to Rob Eastment call to pulp organisations

Wednesday, 26 September 2007
By Print21

Should printing and graphic arts groups join forces as Robert Eastment maintains or should they stay separate and independent? Here’s what some of the office bearers have to say:

 

Philip Andersen, CEO, Printing Industries

As the peak employer association and advocate for companies in the print, packaging and visual communication industry in Australia, our representations cover all sectors of the value chain from creative through supply including paper manufacturing, into the many forms of industry production including ink on paper, digital production right into fulfilment.

While we are acknowledged by government and other industry stakeholders as the peak body, the proliferation of sector-specific groups can lead to confusion by non industry organisations and certainly does dilute the effectiveness of our very large and diverse industry.

Voluntary managed groups cannot hope to achieve the results they could and should achieve for their members if they are unwilling to put their issues on the table or collectively work to achieve a good result for all.

I am a strong believer in fostering unity to create greater industry influence, but ultimately the decision to throw off historical attitudes rest with the individual groups and their members.

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Alastair Hadley, President GAMAA.

GAMAA continues to be supportive of an environment of greater co-operation
between the industry’s associations and welcomes any move in this direction
as we believe a united front will provide the industry with the solid
foundation it needs to prosper into the future.

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Frank Gavrilos, president, LATMA We’ve had similar discussions. I’m not sure I agree that we’re ‘over represented’ but I think there’s sense to be made in consolidating some of these industry groups.

I think firstly, in sheer numbers there’s so much consolidation going on in each industry that it makes sense.  Companies are becoming bigger and there are less of them. Secondly, the industry groups need to do a better job of focusing on the business side of things instead of the technical side.

By having broader consolidated industry groups you’ll be pitching a different message and have to appeal to a much wider audience.

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Allan Wetherill, TAFE teacher and secretary, LIA


I agree with Robert Eastment; we have an array of
industry associations all struggling badly but none are ready to bite
the bullet and do something.
Around five years ago, GAMAA brought a number of associations together so that a dialogue might emanate. However, this meeting was not followed up so the status quo remains. We at the
LIA have had occasions to cancel an industry night due to lack of
numbers. Other associations have similar experiences: JPE, LATMA, SPAA,
GASAA, and more.

Is there a solution? Well, I’d like to offer one that could work and may go toward lifting the profile of the graphic communications industry, which has managed to develop a very ordinary profile over recent years.

Firstly, the industry can be broadly divided into two areas/groups –
1. Printing and Publishing
2. Pulp and Paper.
There is no reason why these two groups should not have a synergy and an
educational overlap but it is easier to deal with them in these groups. GAMAA for example tends to be the umbrella under which Printing and
Publishing sits.

Having agreed on the two broad groupings I will deal with the one I know
Best – printing and publishing. It would be sensible to have an
Executive Officer of the collective, the EO would treat all current
associations as subgroups with very clear communication lines. This
could all be run out of say PIAA at Auburn. The funding for this person
and maybe some clerical support could be derived from each of the
associations.

The mechanics of this function would ensure that a diary of events was
managed and if one group was doing a plant visit then this would be
automatically offered to other groups – if appropriate. Awards
presentation events could be coordinated instead of maybe the six or eight
each year that are conducted now.

At present there is too much distance between industry and the training
providers, such a plan could help connections. There is also the non
traditional areas such as mail-houses and carton and corrugated board
producers that have tended to sit on the edge of mainstream industry.
The digital printers that have evolved over recent times need to be
welcomed into the mainstream.

So, yes I agree that there are too many industry associations and they
are getting ready to either die or embrace a renaissance that will see
their futures guaranteed.

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