Associations heading into mergers

Print industry trade associations are teaming up, with suppliers groups GAMAA and Visa to become one on July 1, while LATMA (label printers) and ANZFTA (flexo printers) are heading towards an imminent merger.

The moves come a year after the PIAA absorbed GASAA, and four years after then Heidelberg ANZ CEO Andy Vels Jensen called for all print related Associations to become one.

Vels Jensen, and many others, believe that the fragmented nature of print Associations does the industry a disservice, while one Associaiotn would be able to communicate the message with clarity.

Australia’s leading supplier groups the Graphic Arts Merchants Association of Australia (GAMAA) and the Visual Industries Suppliers Association (VISA) will merge to become Visual Connections on July 1.

Meanwhile next month the Label and Tag Manufacturers Association of Australia (LATMA) will meet with the Australia New Zealand Flexographic Technical Association (ANZFTA) with the intention of framing a new constitution to enable the two groups to become one.



GAMAA represents the commercial print equipment suppliers with VISA comprising the display graphics equipment suppliers. Between them the two associations have around a 100 members, with some in both.


Karen Goldsmith, chief executive of GAMAA, says the idea of the merger has been floating for some time and became a mandate for the members at the association’s biannual retreat. She says, “The merger of the two associations made sense as they have been co-locating exhibitions since 2011, and together with 100 members they will have a stronger voice.”

She says the Visual Connections executive team will include Mitchell Mulligan from Bottcher, Russell Cavenagh from DES, Ian Martin from WRH Global, Luke Wooldridge from Kodak, Mark Tailby from Graphic Art Mart, John Wall from Roland DG, Marcus Adler from Adler Digital, and Troy Macintosh from Sign Sheet Distributors.

Peter Harper, general manager of VISA, says: “It is good news for everyone and for most it will be business as usual. This might be something new for some people but it has been talked about for years.

“A good portion of members belong to both associations and this merger means there will be one revenue source and the savings will be used for industry trade shows, marketing and other joint ventures.”

GAMAA owns half of the biannual industry trade shows, PacPrint and PrintEx, that swap between Melbourne and Sydney, the other half belongs to Printing Industries. Visual Impact show belongs to VISA, which runs the exhibition twice a year between Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne.

According to GAMAA the merger will take 12 months after which time the two associations will consolidate and move under one roof.

The LATMA / ANZFTA merger is being driven by falling membership and merging technologies. And as with GAMAA / VISA some companies are members of both organisations.

Once the new constitution is agreed the Associations will take it to their members for final approval.

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