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Print industry shakeup

THE State Government may not achieve the $6 million worth of savings through the posting of annual reports online because of a failure to consult with the local industry

Online publications will still incur the big preproduction costs associated with certain annual report print runs, according to Printing Industry Association regional manager Paul Nieuwhof.

“What is a concern is the Govern-ment goes and makes a decision and doesn’t consult with the industry to find out what impact that will have. Some printers say this could result in the loss of 15 to 20 jobs, Mr Nieuwhof said.

“If you’re doing a large number of annual reports, the cost of the print and pre press will vary. For small agencies, 85 per cent of the cost may be pre-press costs.

“This is nothing new. When Mr Burke was in government he did the same thing, but within a year they (glossy annual reports) were back in.”

There have been incidents in the past where government departments have been burned by printing companies, which have collapsed without delivering on contracts, but Mr Nieuwhof said a list of accredited printers for government departments could alleviate these fears.

“I think departments are as surprised as everyone else is. In the past, a number of government agencies ended up with the short end of the stick,” he said.

“But rather than go through a complicated tender process, let’s make the businesses accredited with audited financials and checks done on their capacity to produce printed material.”

Local printing companies also have expressed concern at the Government’s slash and burn approach, warning the savings will affect the viability of printing businesses and all the supplier companies that cluster around the industry.

Lamb Printers joint general manager Don Lamb said a cut of $6 million in the industry was like taking one of the bigger players out of the industry.

“$6 million is a significant drop in the pool of work done in WA,” he said.

“The market in WA is rather insular. There’s not the same manufacturing base in WA as in Victoria and NSW so there’s not those sort of brochures for cars and kitchenware.”

To supplement their client list in WA, bigger printing set ups like Lamb Printing are able to look to the lucrative market in the eastern states, but this is not an easy option for many of the smaller sized printers.

“In the market in WA the government sector produces about 30 per cent of the market … and annual reports are just part of it,” Mr Lamb said.

There’s gross over capitalising in WA, according to Frank Daniels sales and marketing manager Bruce Abbott.

“There’s too much capacity and there’s not enough work. I think we’ve got to look to other markets,” Mr Abbott said.

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