TRMC successfully negotiates COVID-19 relief with Australia Post

The Real Media Collective (TRMC) has successfully negotiated with Australia Post to provide the printing industry with postage relief during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

The temporary relief applies to Print Post mailing products and allows for a relaxation of minimum quantities and frequency of titles to allow for one-off print runs of publication specials and weight leniency credits.

The relief will encourage volume stability across print and mail during this period.

TRMC has also tabled additional solutions across Promo Post and Sample Post with possible expanded discussions into Charity Mail also under review.

TRMC CEO Kellie Northwood said the organisation has been negotiating with Australia Post to provide some temporary relief for its members and broader industry across Print Post products.

Print Post is primarily used for magazines, periodicals and mail-order catalogues which our print and mail-house partners process and lodge daily,” she said.

“The current regulations include minimum volumes restrictions, however we approached Australia Post to reduce these volume restrictions for the wider industry to benefit.

“The solutions we worked through with Australia Post allows companies to shift into quick onboarding of new subscribers, conversion of office subscribers to in-home subscriptions and more to maintain volumes and to start new one-off pieces with smaller lodgement entry units.”

Northwood added that Australia Post has been positive and consultative, looking at all options to support the mail channel, and indirectly the industry, across this initiative.

“When we moved into the COVID-19 pandemic, we immediately reached out to Australia Post with relief solutions that would encourage print volume stability, get content into homes to assist with Australians struggling with social connectivity whilst in isolation and incentivise advertisers to see the power of print as a highly effective in-home media channel,” Northwood said.

“We thank the Australia Post team for pushing this through as quickly as they have, these product changes are often months in the making, however they have moved these discussions and execution in days.

“There are a lot of complexities when you consider the size of Australia Post’s network so we will need to take it step by step. To all the members who assisted in this process, I personally thank you for your input – now is a time for actions and without your focus we couldn’t have achieved this.”

TRMC has also released the Printing and Distribution protocols which it has submitted to the federal government, outlining the ‘essential service supply chain providers’ across its membership should further lockdowns be implemented.

The report outlines the size of the industry, range of employment across Australia and two key areas requests for members, which are to be: determined an essential service provider – media and communication – provision of information; and be ruled an essential service supply chain provider.

The 28-page report also provides key evidence that supports the paper, print and mail industry as an essential service supply chain provider, highlighting the work across health, food, finance, government, education, supermarkets, and pharmacy, amongst others as essential.

Included in the submission are COVID-19 Printing and Distribution protocols that the Collective is calling on all of industry to comply with as an absolute minimum.

Visual Connections, APIA and PrintNZ have shown support, with other remaining associations yet to respond.

“Our members and other associations are united in the representation to Government surrounding the definition of ‘essential service providers’. However, our discussions with the minister and work across NZ Government recognised we needed to develop strong evidential arguments,” Northwood said.

“We, like other associations, have engaged our membership first to determine if they wanted to remain open. Many of our smaller, print marketing, businesses reported their preference to close.

“We have communicated this to Government also, that should the sector be deemed ‘essential’, companies who are not able to open should be provided the same provisions as other industries.”

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