ROCKHAMPTON NEWSPAPER PRINTING BORN AGAIN
Almost a year after News Ltd closed its Kawana print centre in Rockhampton the plant is back up and running, under new owners Today Group, producing newspapers once more.
The print centre houses a six-tower two folder Manugraph, and Muller Martini inserting equipment, which is now running once again, printing for Today Group and other publishers. The pressline is capable of printing 48pp newspapers in one pass in full colour.
Dave Richardson, general manager said, “It is good news to have the press running again.” Today had been using presses in Townsville for its papers.
Today Group sprang up when News pulled out, the company formed with backing from Star News, which publishes newspapers in Queensland and Victoria. Backers include Bruce Allen, Damien Morgan, and Paul Thomas from the Star News Group.
The Kawana site will print Today Group newspapers from across Queensland, including Bundaberg, Gympie, Noosa, Burnett and Kingaroy mastheads, as well as the group’s newest paper, Ipswich Today, which launched last month.
The current Rockhampton plant was opened in 2008, but there has been a newspaper plant in the town since the war.
The site was made idle when News axed swathes of its printed community newspaper portfolio as Covid struck, however the new owner is starting its own newspapers, and will print for other publishers.
Queensland is seeing a revival of printed newspapers from including papers such as the Noosa News, which has had to be printed at the ACM site in North Richmond and then trucked up.
Some 34 staff lost their jobs when News closed the Rockhampton plant last June, but ten have now been taken back on.
Newspaper printing has been decimated in the past year. Six of the nine ACM plants it inherited when it bought the Fairfax/Nine regional business have been closed, with the jewel in the crown North Richmond site to shut in July. News Ltd is currently in the process of closing its Brisbane site and sending all work to its Sunshine Coast plant. Multiple other newspaper plants have closed since last March.