Industry association representing the paper, print, publishing, mail and distribution industries, The Real Media Collective (TRMC), has joined forces with Australian Made and has launched a communication campaign to government to print locally.
With increasing calls from trade unions and industry bodies to government to produce all government print work in Australia as a result of COVID-19, TRMC said it has supported the sentiment and has been working in the background to develop a solution that could assist government to implement new procurement guidelines.
“We reviewed the figures and analysed statements from various stakeholders. However, we could not find the numbers to marry with the government data that we were reviewing,” TRMC CEO Kellie Northwood said.
“Ibisworld reports $340 million of print work is off-shored annually; however, when we broke this figure down through our Industry Insights surveying, we quickly determined this was a combination of publishing, noting cook-books made up a large majority of off-shore book publishing, signage, including a double-digit percentage of fabric flags, and a smaller percentage of some government print work.”
From the Industry Insights surveying, TRMC then reviewed government guidelines which highlight priority for Australian companies, environmental and ethical procurement.
Northwood mentioned that when exploring the major government print contracts, it was determined that the majority sit with print management contractual agreements and it is in this realm that the data is difficult to report without breaching confidentiality conditions.
“Government departments prefer to share the government print work across many organisations, and thus the print management modelling is more common than direct print company contracts. Print management groups also offer single supply management and standardised reporting,” she said.
“However, once the print manager is selected, it has been found that the government procurement departments may not be specifying or rating higher for the products to be produced in Australia, rather the contract KPIs lean more closely to cost reduction targets.
“As an industry, we know that the estimated cost is not the only measure to which government should be assessing. Freight, environment, modern anti-slavery legislation and related responsibilities, ethical business practices and more have an economic cost and social impact on Australia.
“Governments at all levels should include these factors into their entire procurement formulas and ultimate reporting regardless of whether adopting a print management or direct commercial print model.”
To gain greater insight, provide information and lead the industry discussions, TRMC said it has written to all government ministers – federal, state and local – highlighting the concerns of industry, the impact to Australian jobs, the environment and ethical sourcing.
“During this year, we have seen government and businesses affected by supply chain issues. If governments at all levels consider the benefits of implementing our proposals, they would create an agile sourcing and procurement model, that would minimise any future supply chain disruptions.
This would bring about economic benefits, savings and efficiencies to government and the overall Australian economy,” Northwood said.
“In addition to our communication campaign with government we have built facts sheets highlighting our industry’s environmental, social inclusion and ethical sourcing credentials as well as highlighting the effectiveness of print to maintain print volumes across government as a truly effective way to communicate with all citizens.”
About its partnership with Australian Made, Northwood added that TRMC considered developing its own campaign but looked to how well recognised the Australian Made brand is and wanted to bring its members into a campaign that was well-established.
“We will be promoting the Australian Made brand, workshops, information and tips to all our members in the new year and are thrilled to be an industry association partner with such a well-revered organisation,” she said.
“We have also aligned our position with government to the philosophy and purpose of Australian Made to ensure government is hearing consistency from industry and industry recognised campaigns such as this.”
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