Almost 4000 sign Bring Back Print petition

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Close to 4000 printers have now signed the Bring Back Print petition, less than a week after it was launched with the aim of returning the $150m-$200m worth of government and taxpayer-funded print back to Australia from overseas.

Bring it Back: Petition to be presented to the PM

The petition will be presented to prime minister Scott Morrison today, with the aim of getting it on the agenda at National Cabinet – the primary executive body made up of the PM and state and territory leaders. Click here to sign.

Richard Celarc, PVCA vice-president, said there are just under 4000 signatures on the petition, and the number is increasing daily with media coverage from not only Print21, but the ABC as well.

“We have great industry support for this initiative, and they’ve asked the association to make it a high priority,” he said.

“The PVCA has had a meeting about the petition with deputy prime minister Michael McCormack, and we will send our written communication to prime minister Scott Morrison today – we expect he will see it first up on Monday.”

Additionally, Celarc said PVCA was planning a Zoom meeting with MP Dan Tehan about the petition. Tehan’s electorate, Wannon, includes the town of Maryborough, in which book printer McPherson’s Printing Group is a major employer.

“We’re trying to talk to as many members of parliament as possible,” Celarc said.

The campaign wants the National Cabinet to introduce a similar edict to one in place in the US, whose Government Printing and Binding Regulations states: "Attention is directed to the Buy American Act (41 U.S. Code 10 a-d) which provides that the Government give preference to domestic source end products.”

The petition is the focal point of a campaign by PVCA, AMWU and Marvel Bookbinding to right what the industry sees as the wrong of taxpayer-funded print going overseas on the basis of cost, when it is the government itself that has imposed costs on Australian business – such as super, workers compensation, payroll tax, OHS and environmental compliance – which printers in China and Vietnam do not have to pay.

The campaign points to government-funded institutions such as the National Gallery of Victoria and the Queensland Art Gallery as prime examples of organisations sending hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of print overseas, while local presses sit idle thanks to the coronavirus.

The campaign's backers are using strong language to convey the strength of feeling in the industry, with Macaulay saying sending government print overseas now is “reprehensible”, while AMWU national assistant secretary Lorraine Cassin said it was “unthinkable” that the government was sending work overseas while local businesses struggle.

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