Guest Blogger: Joe Kowalewski (National Director, Marketing & Media Services, Printing Industries of Australia)
Recommendations “fly in the face” of good economic management
The recommendation to end territorial copyright three years after the date of announcement by the Government will open the flood gates into the book market putting at risk hundreds of jobs in book printing across Australia and severely affecting employment prospects in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, say the Printing Industries Association of Australia (Printing Industries).
Printing Industries CEO Philip Andersen, said it was shocking to see a Commonwealth Government agency recommending a policy that would increase unemployment and dismantle industry when employment prospects were deteriorating due to the global economic downturn.
“Australian book printers have invested substantial amounts of funds in equipment, facilities and skills training since 1991. The impetus of that investment and the confidence expressed in the Australian book printing has been attributed to the copyright changes of 1991 and the introduction of the 30-day rule which helped boost demand for local book printing.
“These investments have helped to improve the international competitiveness of Australian book printers despite our much smaller market and much longer internal distribution chain. It has also encouraged the local industry to become more environmentally responsible.
“The recommendation by the Productivity Commission to remove the 30-day rule by opening the market for books now threatens both the future growth and viability of the Australian book printing industry.”
Printing Industries National Manager for Policy and Government Affairs, Hagop Tchamkertenian, reinforced this saying that the Commission’s recommendation would not only risk undermining the industry gains of the past 18 years but was also likely to result in the export of hundreds of skilled jobs, many in regional areas, and at a time when unemployment was increasing and businesses are closing.
“The only English speaking nation that has introduced an open market is New Zealand and book prices did not fall there. Instead fewer New Zealand books were published relative to the trend in other English-speaking countries and publishers rolled back their infrastructure in New Zealand,” he said.
“The copyright changes of 1991 have helped to deliver Australian book consumers with internationally competitive book prices in a timely manner whilst supporting Australian culture, industry, and the jobs of local authors, publishers and book printers.
“If implemented the Commission’s recommendations would represent a mindless destruction of a thriving, creative industry without a skerrick of evidence of any offsetting national benefits. They must be completely rejected by the Federal Government.”
Mr Tchamkertenian said Printing Industries supported the current arrangements because they benefit both book consumers and book producers and would be strongly lobbying the government to ignore the recommendation.
Given the importance of the issue to the Australian book printing industry Mr Tchamkertenian confirmed that Printing Industries plans will lobby the Prime Minister and his key Ministers. One such key Minster is the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Hon. Kim Carr, who will be attending the next Printing Industries CEO forum in Sydney on 5 August.