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Shadow treasurer casts his net on NSW printers

Tuesday, 19 October 2010
By Print 21 Online Article

NSW Shadow Treasurer, Mike Baird, told a gathering of printers in Sydney recently that the Opposition’s priority will be on making NSW a better place to do business in if they win office in the 2011 state election.

The Printing Industries-run and Employers Mutual Limited-supported lunch featured a select group of the industries major NSW printing companies concerned about the state’s future development.

Baird (pictured) said the Liberal Opposition was going through a three-stage program to prepare itself, should it win office next year. This included changing the culture of government, having a process, and preparation – getting ready for government.

He said a state Liberal government would build on the government model successfully developed by Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett involving the engagement of small, medium and large companies.

“Private investment is a crucial part of going forward,” Baird said.

Talks had already begun around Australia and internationally, including Japan, to encourage investment in NSW to grow employment under a Liberal state government.

He also announced that a Coalition government would provide payroll tax rebates for the first 100,000 jobs created in NSW and urged NSW printing businesses to consider employing more staff should the Coalition take office.

Baird was questioned about escalating power charges and procurement policy and in particular how the printing industry could better connect with procurement people in government to educate them about industry environmental sustainability.

He said the party’s policy was to have a more open system of procurement with a balance of supporting local contractors and also being competitive and transparent. NSW currently had a $14.8 billion procurement spend with only three contracts in place.

A central procurement authority would be established to “do things better” and not just focus on cost cutting. He conceded that electricity charges were becoming a major issue for industry and needed to be addressed.

Asked about the biggest threat the Opposition would face if elected, he said it would be in not getting the right people.
“It’s always about getting the right people in the right spots – including the public service,” Baird said.

He conceded a new incoming government could have a problem with entrenched unionism, “ … but there are always ways of achieving a win-win with the right sort of approach.”

Baird said a Liberal state government would also examine the relationship between industry and TAFE in regard to training and would review business costs including workers compensation.

Printing Industries CEO, Philip Andersen, said Printing Industries would be revisiting its specialised workers compensation scheme which was geared to assist industry but had fallen fowl of a NSW Government legislative change in 2008 withdrawing the issuing of licenses to industry based schemes.

“I thank Mr Baird for his directness and, should the Opposition win government next year, look forward to working with him and his colleagues for the benefit of our industry and for the NSW economy,” Andersen said.

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