Productivity Commission picks at P.I.R.’s bones

These are the three recommendations the Australian Productivity Commission presented to Parliament on the 14th July 2009.  All three will damage the future production of Australian-authored books.

RECOMMENDATION 1
The Government should repeal Australia’s Parallel Import Restrictions (PIRs)
for books. The repeal should take effect three years after the date that it is
announced.

RECOMMENDATION 2
The Government should, as soon as possible, review the current subsidies aimed
at encouraging Australian writing and publishing, with a view to better targeting
of cultural externalities. Any revised arrangements should be put in place before
the repeal of the PIRs takes effect.
* Presently, the Federal Government commits to recognising the importance of the ARTS and CREATIVITY in encouraging a fully-rounded Australian society.

It does this through the Grants, Fellowships and Subsidies from the Australia Council for worthy projects. And these are hotly contested.

The PC’s Recommendation 2 will force all Australian writers to go cap-in-hand begging from the Australian taxpayer just so they can continue to write. If you’re writing a romance or a murder mystery you can’t access a grant.

So what happens to those authors who will lose out when publishers can’t afford to take them on, AND they can’t access Australia Council grants? Has the Productivity Commission even considered this?

Recommendation 2 seems as though it was stuck on to appease authors – well, guess what, it doesn’t!

RECOMMENDATION 3
The outcome from the repeal of the PIRs and any revised subsidy arrangements
should be monitored and assessed five years after implementation. To assist that
assessment, the Australian Bureau of Statistics should, as soon as possible,
undertake a revised version of its 2003-04 surveys on the books industry and
market, having regard to the information gaps and interpretation problems
identified in this study and relevant data held by other agencies. It should then
update these revised surveys prior to the commencement of the five year
assessment.
* This should have been done before the Productivity Commission even sat down at their table to pick over the bones of the Restrictions against Parallel Importation of Books.

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2 thoughts on “Productivity Commission picks at P.I.R.’s bones

  1. I have just been reading that the Australian Digital Alliance (ADA), the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC) and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) ‘strongly support’ the removal of restrictions. They believe that quote: ‘greater competition will lead to an increase in the variety of books available and more competitively priced books, increasing their accessibility to Australians’.

    They believe that ever since NZ dropped their restrictions, income earned by publishers has increased, book prices have come down and there is more choice and availability of books to consumers. Of-course no-where in their report regarding NZ does it state the effect this has on their authors. How convenient!

    To read the full report, visit http://www.alia.org.au/

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  2. It is incredible to me that the Productivity Commission admits that there are ‘information gaps and interpretation problems’ identified in their study.

    How can they finalise a report to the government when they themselves don’t have up to date statistics and information?

    The PC’s report is a waste of tax payer’s money. At home I use it as a door stop.

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