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Labor moves to protect Aussie book printers

Friday, 09 December 2016
By Jake Nelson

Bill Shorten has announced the Labor Party will block Scott Morrison’s plan to relax parallel import restrictions, which would scupper the local book printing industry.

The Opposition Leader, together with MPs Tony Burke and Mark Dreyfus, announced the move at Ligare Printing in southern Sydney today. Australian authors Thomas Keneally and Anna Funder, and Printing Industries representative Rebecca Mason, accompanied Shorten on his visit to the Ligare premises; Ligare is part of the Opus Group, one of the PIAA’s largest members.

In a letter to the Australian Booksellers Association, Shorten said Labor would block the Government’s plan announced last year, which would allow more books to be imported from international sellers at great cost to local printers – especially after companies such as PMP have invested millions of dollars in bringing new book presses on-stream. “Labor is committed to ensuring that Australia has a vibrant local book industry. That means ensuring we support Australian authors, publishers and booksellers to continue to create local content for Australian audiences.

“We believe the removal of parallel import restrictions would have caused significant damage to our local book industry, just as it did in New Zealand. As strong supporters of the arts – and our local book industry – we cannot stand by and let that happen,” Shorten said.

Printing Industries welcomed the announcement, with CEO Andrew Macaulay calling it a step in the right direction. “Printing Industries has been working tirelessly for some time now with the various representatives of the Books Create Alliance to ensure the safety and stability of this vital and creative industry sector. Things are moving in a favourable direction for the industry and we commend the position of the Australian Labor Party on parallel importation rules,” he said.

Shorten’s announcement follows intensive representation by the Books Create Australia campaign, which is supported by Printing Industries, the Australian Booksellers Association, Australian Publishers Association, Australian Society of Authors, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and Australian Literary Agents’ Association.

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