Print is essential: TRMC report to govt

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The Real Media Collective (TRMC) is releasing its 28-page report that it says provides key evidence that supports the paper, print, and mail industry as an “essential service supply-chain provider” during the coronavirus pandemic. TRMC submitted the report to the Australian government on Monday.

Print is essential: Kellie Northwood
Print is essential: Kellie Northwood

The report outlines the size of the industry and range of employment across Australia. TRMC said it addresses two key requests from its 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 report describes the importance of print’s role across digitally divided Australians. It highlights the reach of print into Australian homes, pointing out that print can reach 24.4 million Australians, whereas the new government WhatsApp service currently holds 482,000 registrations.

In a letter to prime minister Scott Morrison that accompanied the report in its submission, TRMC CEO Kellie Northwood wrote: “We […] provide this correspondence and the attached materials by way of pre-emptive information for you when considering benefits, support any possible future restrictions of industry over the coming weeks. The paper, print, publishing, mail and distribution sector must be listed as an essential service (in the instance of publishing, community newspapers, mail-order, directory) and thereby, in extension, an essential service supply chain provider (print, packaging, labelling) in an essential services framework for not only the livelihood of many Australians but also to keep the public informed with accurate and trusted information throughout a critical period.”

Northwood said the collective’s members are united in the representation to government regarding the definition of “essential service providers”, but discussions with the Australian government, and work with the New Zealand government revealed the need to develop strong evidential arguments.

“In our engagement with government, we recognised they needed to have the supporting evidence to provide strong sway to the arguments presented,” Northwood said.

“We will continue to push out our updates across government economic stimulus, fact sheets and more, whilst also building tools for members to make communication as easy as we can for them," Northwood said.

“Everyone is working very hard and there are a lot of materials being developed. We are pushing everything to members twice a day and offering all our resources via This is for the broader industry to also gain access to material. Understanding the size and value of our industry with a consistent voice is also critical. Whilst our members receive content first as well as specialised support, we do feel it important to push the wider content to support the industry, if anyone is seeking these resources either contact me or go to the site and download materials.”

Included in the submission are TRMC’s protocols for printing and distribution during the coronavirus pandemic.

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