Qld minister presses buy Australia print in Parliament

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The print industry's campaign to have all government and taxpayer-funded print produced on Australian presses received a boost when a Queensland state minster raised the issue in Parliament, calling on it to pressure the Commonwealth to buy Australian.

Buy Australia: Sterling Hinchcliffe MP
Buy Australia: Sterling Hinchcliffe MP

The minister for Racing and Multicultural Affairs Sterling Hinchcliffe told the Parliament that he was proud that Queensland now has a buy Australia policy, but that Parliament now needed to put pressure on the Commonwealth to follow suit, and needed to ensure that all taxpayer-funded institutions in Queensland bought print in Queensland.

The minister's intervention came following representation to him by Walter Kuhn, president of PVCA and owner of Kuhn Corp, located in Queensland.

The PVCA together with the AMWU and Marvel Bookbinding has launched a petition which has now gharenred almost 5000 signatures, aimed at persuading the federal government to instruct all departments, institutions and agencies funded by the taxpayer to buy their print in Australia. The US government already has a similar edict.

Kuhn said, “I am grateful for minister Hinchcliffe rasing the matter. We are gaining traction across the board. It is a bit like building a wall; you have to go brick by brick, but momentum is growing.”

Printers are angry that taxpayer funded print is being sourced overseas, primarily in China, because it is cheaper, in large part due to the multiple regulatory costs that Aussie printers have to carry such as super, workers comp, payroll tax, environmental and OHS compliance, that overseas printers do not need.

Minster Hinchcliffe said, “I wish to draw the House’s attention to the state of Australia’s print and packaging industry and the important role that all levels of government can play to ensure that the industry not only survives but also thrives in this nation. Actions by the federal Liberal National Party government were recently brought to my attention by a Sandgate constituent, Mr Walter Kuhn. Walter and his partner, Sharon, are respected leaders in the print and packaging industry, not just on Brisbane’s north side but throughout Queensland and across the nation. Their business, Kuhn Corp Print & Packaging, whose premises are in Virginia in the electorate of the member for Nudgee, has been producing high-quality products since 1993.

Printing for Australia: China
Printing for Australia: China

“Walter came to me extremely concerned about the federal government’s move to outsource printing contracts to companies based in China rather than award them to Australian businesses that provide quality and timely services. In these difficult economic times caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important that all levels of government do everything they can to support Australian businesses and Australian jobs. The Print and Visual Communication Association of Australia recently launched a petition on change.org to demand that all levels of government turn to Australian companies before looking at spending Australian taxpayers’ money offshore.

“The success of the Palaszczuk government’s procurement policy, led by the Minister for Housing and Public Works, has meant that Queensland government procurement is sought first in Queensland. We have seen a groundswell of support from businesses and unions alike for our approach to procurement. It is absolutely appropriate in these times that we respond to the needs of our community by looking to what we can do to support and provide for ourselves.

“I acknowledge the contribution made by the member for Traeger. I appreciate that it is indeed through the strong tradition of the progressive side of Australian politics that we support Australia providing for Australians. That is why I call on the Commonwealth government to follow the Palaszczuk Labor government’s lead and start putting Australian print and packaging companies before their overseas competitors."

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