Worried printers met in Wollongong last week concerned about a new printing company that is setting up in Unanderra with funds from the Federal Government’s regional stimulus package.
Superfine in Focus, known as Focus Illawarra, was the largest recipient of the Federal Government’s $16.2million financial stimulus package aimed at kick- starting the Illawarra economy following the downturn in the manufacturing sector.
The company received $6.1 million which it plans to use to set up a regional printing hub, allowing local print companies to use machinery and have material printed on sophisticated and expensive equipment.
The print industry is already under pressure by increased use of digital advertising on the internet. News that the company was moving into the Illawarra caused concern among some printing companies worried about increased competition.
Bill Healey, president of the Printing Industries Association of Australia, said the meeting was constructive and allowed Focus Illawarra to answer concerns.
“It was an opportunity for the successful grant applicant to outline their proposal to members which they did and it provided us an opportunity to look at ways of taking advantage of the grant in the Illawarra more broadly,” he said.
Focus Illawarra has also pledged to create about 190 jobs using the grant money. Mr Healy said it was made clear in the meeting that those jobs were new positions, which may come from outside the area.
Focus Illawarra chief executive David Fuller said that during the meeting there was some concern expressed about his plan but he had met with critics afterwards to allay those fears.