INDUSTRY FURY OVER ANDREWS ROADMAP
The print industry and all other industries are in uproar over the roadmap out of lockdown presented by Victoria premier Daniel Andrews in his statement, variously claiming it is a road to nowhere, a document of despair, a kick in the guts, and saying he is destroying the Victorian economy, with what are some the world’s harshest lockdown measures.
Victorian printers can still produce, but with the metro lockdown now running until the end of September, and then only small incremental steps forward over the next three months, presses are likely to remain idle for an extended period, as the economy remains essentially closed.
Even the proposed opening of parts of the Victoria economy is predicated on achieving much tougher numbers than in NSW, which in stark contrast to its southern neighbour, is committed to keeping the economy open.
Print’s fury, is like the rest of Victorian industry, fuelled by the knowledge that the coronavirus outbreak is self-inflicted by the Victorian government, thanks to its bungled hotel quarantine operation, with neither the health minister nor the premier taking responsibility, or even wanting to face questions over the fiasco.
Calling the statement by Andrews ‘risible’ PVCA CEO Andrew Macaulay said “The visual communication sector is primarily composed of SME businesses that are backed by family assets. It is lamentable that the Victorian Government has failed to ease restrictions on the economy, and unleash the entreprenuerial vigour that would follow.”
Victorian PVCA director Kevin Pidgeon said, “Print and packaging is a key element of the supply chain into many businesses. Whilst print has continued in Victoria, it is clear that the shutdown of large swathes of the economy has a flow on effect to printers.”
Kellie Northwood, CEO at The Real Media Collective said, "While he seems to have backtracked a little today it is an extraordinarily conservative roadmap. We need to see health and the economy balanced, it is extremely conservative. Our concern is retail, which accounts for 33 per cent of print, and for which extended delays to re-opening will have a major impact on print."
Barry Webster at trade house TLC said, “This is a government bereft of ideas with no understanding of how businesses operate.”
Innes Willox, chief executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said, “Today’s so-called Victorian roadmap to recovery is a document of despair for industry and their employees. Rather than providing the hope and optimism required, along with clear and measurable steps for businesses to open up, the announcement will only prolong the economic and social pain that all Victorians are feeling.”
Calling the plan “a kick in the guts” Paul Guerra, the head of Victoria’s Chamber of Commerce said, “We were hoping for a road to recovery. Today we have been delivered a road to nowhere.”
The normally neutral Australian Financial Review also laid into Andrews, columnist Jennifer Hewett saying Andrews was “an all-or-nothing style politician”, and the result for Victoria was “pretty much nothing”. She said his announcement amounted to “a determined trampling of any hopes the worst might soon be over”.
“Not surprisingly, promised consultations with business groups are considered to have been a bad joke – and strictly one-way,” she wrote.
“Instead, the Andrews government is willing to destroy the state’s economy, jobs and business confidence to avoid any risk of an increase in infections.”