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Love is in the air!! – a new mood of cooperation now exists among various associations within the broad ‘’print industry church’’.
By James Cryer of JDA Recruitment

Further to our story in April regarding the appointment of Andrew Macaulay as the new CEO of the Printing Industries Association of Australia, James Cryer (whose family has been involved with the PIAA since 1903), has cast some new light on the turmoil that existed before Mr Macaulay’s appointment…..


Because our industry consists of so many ''silos'', it's entirely possible that there could be a famine in one sector and a flood in another - and neither sector would know about it!
Last year the peak-body, the PIAA, experienced what was undoubtedly, the most turbulent episode in it's 120-odd year history.
For the benefit of those not directly involved, I will try to lift the lid on the events that rocked the industry and nearly brought about the undoing of its umbrella association, the PIAA.

Andrew Macaulay
Andrew Macaulay is the new CEO of the Printing Industries Association of Australia

They say piloting an aircraft consists of hours of tedium, punctuated by occasional bursts of terror.
One could also liken our industry to that - only the time-frames are longer: decades (perhaps more) of quietude and self-reflection disturbed once-in-a-while by months of chaos, mayhem and disruption - followed thereafter by a return to normal life and the calm after the storm.
In case I'm talking in riddles, I'm referring to the destructive forces that were unleashed last year upon the commercial arm of the printing industry via its representative body, the PIAA.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger (so they say) and this proved to be a classic case of ''the patient almost died - but the operation was a complete success!''. Good people were summarily fired from the PIAA's offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and most spectacularly in Brisbane, where the abrupt dismissal of two young ladies who - according to all Queensland members, were doing a great job - proved to be a bridge too far. This, in fact, is what triggered the now famous insurrection by Queensland printers in February, and which very nearly succeeded in toppling the entire PIAA board!
But other lesser-known ''crimes'' were committed during this reign of terror, including falsifying new membership figures, as well as throwing out vast quantities of important records and documents relating back to the period when the association was called ''PATEFA'' during the '50s and '60's. (Anyone writing a history of printing during the post-war era will find a mysterious unexplained ''gap'' when the industry just seemed to disappear off the face of the Earth). The building in Auburn, which had been the association's HQs for 18 years, was sold, and questions are still being asked about how the proceeds are being accounted for.
The only reason I can speak with first-hand knowledge of these events, is because I became a whistle-blower when I inadvertently witnessed the throwing-out of much of this archival material. Looking back, there's always a funny side (I guess) and it was me scrambling around in a large steel-dumpster in the rain, in the PIAA's carpark, searching for evidence of stuff being thrown out (which I did - and got a legal letter for my troubles.) I must say, that as more suspicions were aroused (about many other aspects of ''bad management'' within the organisation), that well-known industry identity, Andy McCourt, rose to the occasion and began publishing a weekly ''newsletter'' during the first few months of 2016, blowing the whistle on more and more misdemeanours as they were exposed.   
But behind every cloud is a silver lining, as they say. The board has now appointed a brand new CEO, one Andrew Macaulay, who is already starting to make a positive and healing impact. He's reached out to all states (no, not by email but by personal visitation) and is determined to re-build the association by creating more opportunities for interaction between its various groups. He's already established a number of work-groups to deal with specific issues that may need attention. This is unheard of: grass-roots members actually being encouraged to participate! It'd be like Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten knocking on your door and actually asking for your opinion!
I can't speak for him, but I wouldn't be surprised if he wants to encourage the occasional joint event shared by the PIAA and various other signage-related organisations such as VisConnect and ASGA.
He's also established a relationship with the Packaging Council of Australia (PCA), again an example of him reaching out to other sectors.

 

Printing Industries Association of Australia
www.printnet.com.au

 

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