The chairman of one of Australia’s largest print companies, Ovato, says if something is not done right now to make operating conditions easier for printers then many businesses that have weathered major storms will unfortunately fall by the wayside.
Michael Hannan is one of Australia’s most pioneering and respected print identities and has made some grim forecasts about what lies ahead when the JobKeeper scheme comes to its planned halt at the end of September.
“Nothing like the Covid fallout has ever been on anyone’s risk analysis of what could go wrong, Hannan told Sprinter.
“It is unprecendented and unless we get the ear of government then this ‘fools paradise’ of JobKeeper is going to end with the destruction of many proud printing houses who have weathered everything else that has been thrown at them over many years.”
The Hannan family were the owners of the successful print and digital services provider IPMG which in 2016 merged with another printing giant, PMP. This entity was later re-branded to the ASX-listed Ovato with Hannan now serving as that company’s chairman.
Hannan is passionate about print and frustrated that more is not being done to promote it and push for it to be supported by government.
He has penned an article and published it on LinkedIn imploring the state of manufacturing, and thereby print, in Australia and saying the industry desperately needs a voice and more importantly ‘the ear of government’ to halt the carnage that will follow when JobKeeper finishes up at the end of September.
“We need a voice. We need people to speak up for us, as many livelihoods are at stake,” Hannan wrote in the piece on LinkedIn.
“JobKeeper is to be applauded as it has kept many in the country employed, but there is a huge cliff in front of us all at the end of September which will be near impossible to climb.
“The impact of COVID-19 will not end anywhere near as surgically as JobKeeper is slated to end.
“Some assistance from government, even some recognition that what we do matters, would be helpful. Some industries have received substantial Government support to keep them operating and viable. Consider the automotive industry, which found itself rewarded with billions of dollars of incentives to stay operational in Australia over many years.”
Hannan reflects on manufacturing in Australia and how it once was a strong sector, employing many thousands of people.
“Everyone is suffering at the moment, but some are doing it more silently than others. This isn’t out of choice but because they have no voice,” Hannan wrote.
“News reports discuss football and other sporting codes, tourism, travel, the airlines or universities as though they are the only one’s doing it tough.
“Manufacturing used to be strong in Australia. But is anyone championing the cause or yelling from the rooftops about the state that many sectors of the manufacturing industry find themselves in because of COVID-19? Look at the difference in media attention being paid between manufacturing and the arts industry. Powerful people have powerful voices, and we need to work together to make our industries’ voice heard.
“I’m choosing to champion the printing industry. Believe it or not, it’s the largest sector in Australian manufacturing and our company alone employs 1,300 people. Manufacturing continues to be a big employer nationally, but from blanket coverage of COVID-19 there is hardly a mention in the news.”
To read Hannan’s article in full please click here.
Comment below to have your say on this story.
If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at [email protected]
Sign up to the Sprinter newsletter