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Thursday, 20 September 2007
Page: 18


Senator McGAURAN (10:18 AM) —On behalf of the Joint Committee on Publications, I present the report of the committee, Printing standards for documents presented to parliament, together with the Hansard record of proceedings, minutes of proceedings and submissions received by the committee. I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

I seek leave to incorporate a tabling statement in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows—

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge and thank my colleagues on the committee for their worthy contributions and efforts in compiling this report, particularly the Chair, Mrs Trish Draper MP, and former Deputy Chair, Senator Barnett.

Mr President, as you are aware, many thousands of documents are presented to the Parliament each year; most are required to be tabled by law, to assist the Parliament with its legislative and oversight functions, and contribute to effective and accountable governance. These documents include the annual reports of all government agencies, reports of royal commissions and other government inquiries, parliamentary committee reports, and a wide variety of other material.

One of the responsibilities of the Joint Committee on Publications is to issue Printing Standards for Documents presented to Parliament. These Standards ensure that all documents, particularly those selected for inclusion in the Parliamentary Papers Series, conform to certain requirements.

The current Standards have been effective in ensuring that documents presented to Parliament conform to the requirements of the Parliamentary Papers Series with minimal additional cost to author bodies.

However, developments in printing technology, the needs of a wider audience and alternative means of accessing documents have all made it appropriate to re-examine the Standards.

One of the most significant issues investigated was the use of colour printing. A number of arguments were put to the Committee, supporting the view that the Standards be revised to allow for more flexibility. Such arguments included: the evolving purpose of annual reports; the use of graphs, illustrations and diagrams; web publishing issues; and design matters. The Committee is sympathetic to the wish to include more colour in documents that have an audience beyond the Parliament, particularly where such bodies are in direct competition with private enterprise.

In the past, the Committee’s reluctance to allow the use of full colour in documents has been due to the additional cost involved. In its present inquiry, however, the Committee found that technological advances have made full-colour printing with a white border nearly as cost-effective as two-colour printing.

The exception is colour that ‘bleeds’ to the edge of the page. Colour ‘bleeding’ results in a significant cost increase and represents an inefficient use of government funds. The committee has therefore recommended that colour ‘bleeding’ be avoided in all documents presented to Parliament.

In light of the numerous valid reasons for allowing greater flexibility in the use of colour, and technological advances in recent years, the Committee has issued revised Standards, effective from 1 January 2008, which will provide government bodies with increased flexibility in the use of colour, in certain circumstances.

It should be noted, however, that the Committee expects government bodies to continue to achieve value for money in the production of their documents, and maintains that for most annual reports, black plus one colour is sufficient for text. In determining whether to use additional colours, author bodies should carefully consider the purpose and audience of the document. They should also weigh the additional costs involved with colour printing, against the expected benefits.

The report also deals with several other issues, including possible sanctions for non-compliance with the Standards, potential cost-saving measures, improved communication with print providers, better training for print procurement officers, and environmental issues.

In concluding, I would like to thank all submitters to the inquiry, and particularly the 20 witnesses who appeared before the Committee at its very successful roundtable discussion. I would also like to acknowledge the work of the Committee Secretariat, including the Secretary of the House Publications Committee, Mr Jason Sherd, Secretary of the Senate Publications Committee, Ms Naomie Kaub, and Inquiry Secretaries Ms Peggy Danaee and Mr Andrew McGowan.

I commend this report to the Senate.

Question agreed to.