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.
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
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!
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
* 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.