Page 15 - Print21 July-Aug 2018 Magazine
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People in print
Printing Industries correct. Ron Patterson for Victoria and Peter Clark for Tasmania round out the new-look board, with two other positions remaining vacant.
In looking over the changes he’s made, Macaulay acknowledges the help received from former board members and CEOs.
“I’ve been blessed at being able
to draw on the experience and
advice of previous CEOs such as
Phil Anderson and Bill Healey. I sought to consult with them as well as with Kieran May, who provided
the breakthrough model of good governance. It’s important to retain the ethos of the organisation and wise to consult previous leaders. At all times, a minority of ‘old guard’ tried to obstruct change. The process has burnt out many people who had given their time and energy, who volunteered to help, people such as Susan Heaney, David Leach and Ross Black, good people who invested their energies in trying to make changes.
“Now we have a forward-looking board. This is a board for the time. It’s cohesive, collegiate, representative and inclusive. It represents the small to large printers, digital and offset.
“Consensus is a significant factor in good governance. Succession planning is vital too. Chris Segaert is on the public record that he won’t stand again. My appointment, which was made by the entire board, rather than a sub-
set, is a great example of consensus leadership from Kieran May.”
Demography is destiny
Despite the changes and the undoubted optimism in the Association now, sometimes you
must read the numbers. Ten years ago, there were more than 2,000 member companies of Printing Industries; today there are 620. This drop is in line with the fall in the number of commercial printing companies operating in Australia.
For many in the industry who
still bask in the glory of the ‘craft tradition,’ or the collegial recognition of trade-based skills, these are unpalatable facts. Macaulay believes the Association’s members account for 80 percent of commercial printing in Australia. The roll call of members is a who’s who of the significant printing companies throughout the nation, many of who have grown
in stature by absorbing their fellow members. The irony of their success at the price of the Association’s membership is not lost on Macaulay.
“We’re primarily an industrial relations association. We provide that service to our members, who are mostly small-to-medium- sized companies, often private
“I’m a great believer that out of adversity comes opportunity.”
family-held businesses. Many
are the largest local employers in their regional communities. We represent them across many areas. I’d say everyone running a business will be exposed, at some stage, to an unfair dismissal claim. As an Association, we are a respondent to the award, a representative member for the entire industry. We advocate for our members, acting akin to the lawyers they’d have to hire if we weren’t there.
“I make the point that the members own the Association and it can be an enormously powerful tool working on their behalf. We also provide hiring services, pro- forma industry relations practices and wellness strategies. It’s a unique service, a great legacy from a hundred and thirty years of being an employers’ association.”
The state of the states
One of the most contentious of the recent changes to the Association was the closure of state offices. Although the organisation had moved to become a national body under previous CEOs, the real estate across the country proved a difficult legacy. The state offices became a focus for discontent, especially when
combined with the downsizing of the number of employees.
“Engagement is an essential part of the restructure, moving away from four isolated and not very specialised IR professionals in different states. Now we’re eight professionals
from Wentworth Advantage in one office. We’ve doubled the manpower available to meet member needs at a lower cost.
“The short answer is, we don’t need people in all the different states. Besides, our staff often didn’t work from those offices a lot of the time, they worked from home.”
“When I started, there were twenty-seven staff; now we have six, with most of them in Melbourne.
At the peak of the Association there were sixty staff.”
It’d be a brave pundit to claim Printing Industries is out of the woods. There are still plenty of challenges ahead. Macaulay’s strategy is to address them by reinventing
the Association and delivering new services. In a rush of new initiatives, he’s taking the Association into areas it never played in before.
Key employer
“Historically we haven’t been very effective at lobbying on behalf of the industry. This is evidenced by our politicians’ astounding ignorance of this vibrant industry. It’s important that we should be the voice of the industry to the government. After
all, we’re the largest manufacturing industry employer in the country. The industry has a massive investment in technology, in training, in developing transferable skills. People trained
in the printing industry can go anywhere. We’re the ‘unsung heroes of the economy.’
“In lobbying state and federal governments, we’ve had some wins, such as the payroll tax concession
in Queensland, or getting funding for Holmesglen. We’re pushing for action on government procurement, for an independent code of conduct that will allow us to protect local printing producers. We are seeking energy policies focussed on reliability and cost, easing of the IR burden on small business, and sincere industry consultation from Australia Post.
“We’re about to launch an energy service, also an employment website so members can find trained staff. We’ll be providing insurance.”
It’s an ambitious program, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s the very determined Andrew Macaulay. 21
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