A Print & Visual Communication Association petition calling on all government bodies to have all their printing produced in Australia has attracted well over 4,000 signatures and has been submitted to the federal government.
The petition to lobby government at all levels, government departments and government-owned institutions such as national and state art galleries to stop sending print offshore and instead support local operators is adding to a groundswell for the return of manufacturing to Australia.
PVCA CEO Andrew Macaulay says he’s been amazed with the number of signatures on the petition which was supported by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and Wayne Eastaugh of Marvel Bookbinding.
Macaulay is now working on a submission to the federal government to support the petition.
“We are heading towards 5,000 signatures. We are having amazing feedback from industry and outside of industry and from politicians across the spectrum and government as well. The next question is what the government does about it?” Macaulay told Sprinter.
“It’s a no brainer. If the government and government departments are already spending this taxpayer money then why send it overseas especially when the government is working so hard to stimulate the economy right now.”
Citing a 2019 Ibis World report, Macaulay said $340.9 million worth of print was imported into Australia and of that $150 million of mostly eight to 10 week lead time print work was ordered by government or government-owned institutions.
The Ibis report shows that in the same period the domestic industry generated $7.6 billion in total revenue.
Imported print has risen to $340.9m from $207.1m in 2010 and Ibis has projected this will increase to $365m in 2024.
Macaulay says the cost justification made by government for offshore procurement must be addressed as Australian printers aren’t able to fairly compete with operators in China and Vietnam which don’t have the same overheads, including higher wages and energy pricing.
“We know that some of these foreign countries, China in particular, support the export of print, they subisidise the cost as well as having lower energy costs and lower workplace health and safety standards and lower environmental standards, the government supports through the Belt and Road Initiative, the export of manufactured product which includes print,” Macaulay said.
“So we are spending tax payer money in markets where the government is subsidising competition with our own private industry and that is poor government practice and it is not a level playing field and it is not free trade.”
Click here to sign the petition.
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