Productivity Commission Update


SCBWI officially joined the campaign to save the Australian publishing industry. Susanne Gervay has been involved in strategic industry meetings with the ASA, APA, CAL and key organisations. Sheryl Gywther presented on behalf of SCBWI at the Productivity Commission (PC) hearing together with Angela Sunde and other authors. Susanne attended the PC hearings in Sydney and has been in discussion with the government. Authors have presented at all the hearings.

The key issues:-

Over the past 10 years the Australian Publishing Industry has become competitive as it faces globalisation and competition. It brings in $2 billion to Australia, publishes Australian authors and is self-sufficient. Publishing is risky but with territorial rights in ANZ, the industry continues to publish Australian books. 

Only NZ, HK and Canada have given up their territorial rights with disastrous effects. The US, UK and Europe maintain their territorial right to protect their industry.   

The PC also want to move to ‘fair use’ for copyright which, in effect, means that creators have to go to court to retain what is fair. Currently there is a good system where institutions pay $17 per students to CAL for copyright usage with very specific rules. It impacts on our ELR and PLR and works.

The PC are arguing that the publishing system should change to a grant system – where it is no longer self-sufficient but dependent on Government handouts to publish Australian books. With the history of Arts cutbacks, this would result in the reduction of ANZ books.

What is the reason for the PC recommendations? To give consumers books that are 10% lower in price. Currently any consumer can buy online and at discounted prices. There has been a 30% drop in cost of books in the last decade. The PC is using statistics from a decade ago and have not acknowledged the changes in the industry.

CAL told the PC that their recommendations and reports are hostile to creators. They fumbled around and did not really respond. Their recommendation of reducing copyright to 15- 25 years is not possible under our international treaties. However it is the flavour of the PC. They admitted that they were working out a transition to parallel importation and fair use.

If you would like to show your support for the campaign, there are a number of things you can do:

·        sign the petition on the website

·        tweet using the hashtag #bookscreate

·        like the facebook page, Books Create Australia

·        you can also encourage your networks to get involved

You can also keep up with the latest news at:

·        Facebook: Books Create Australia

·        Twitter: @bookscreateaus

·        Instagram: @bookscreateaus

Or alternatively, please write to your local Member of Parliament to voice your concerns.

You can read more about the issue and campaign and find letters written by SCBWI members Deborah Abela and Wendy Fitzgerald to use as a guide here.