The AMWU has warned that changes to book laws being promoted by large book retailers are aimed at increasing profits, and will cost jobs without benefiting consumers.
Responding to claims that the Cabinet is split over the issue of abolishing the 30 day rule in Australia’s Print industry, AMWU National Secretary Dave Oliver said that there was no evidence that the removal of the publishing rules would result in cheaper books, but it would certainly cost local jobs and the loss of $70 to $80 million per annum in revenue.
“Australia shouldn’t implement a change to policy that will in fact lose jobs at a time when the focus is boosting them through stimulus packages and infrastructure, said Mr Oliver.
“Losing the copyright restrictions that currently exist would see a reduction of $70 to 80 million per annum in revenue, at a time when the Australian economy is struggling with high unemployment levels and the effects of recession.
“The AMWU is very concerned that any implementation of the Commission’s plan for Australia’s Book Printing Industry would mean:
• Reduction in title availability
• Reduction of books printed in Australia
• Negative environmental impact as a result of increased use of air and sea freight, which will impact on prices to consumers
• Direct job losses from the industry, at a time when boosting employment is crucial
• No guarantee that books would be cheaper
“We urge the Federal government to listen to the majority view that the removal of our existing copyright restrictions will drastically undermine and devastate Australia’s printing industry.
“New Zealand went down this path a few years ago, removing their printing protections only to find that jobs were lost, book prices weren’t any cheaper, and if anything, the bigger retailers were able to increase their profit margins.
“The AMWU will continue to fight for a successful and vibrant print industry in Australia, through our presence in the working party that informs Cabinet about the repercussions of this decision,” said Mr Oliver.