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113th AGM

MINUTES
113th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

of Queensland Country Press Association Inc. HELD AT PULLMAN KING GEORGE SQUARE HOTEL, BRISBANE on Friday, May 28, 2021 at 10am

WELCOME:
President Phill Le Petit opened the meeting and extended a welcome to delegates, guests, interstate guests and sponsors. He said the excellent attendance highlighted the tremendous growth in membership over the past year.

PRESENT:
Phill Le Petit, Carl Portella, Drew Creighton, Greg Watson, David Galeano, Lukas White, Andrew Stewart, Lisa Crouch, Samantha Wantling, Neil Lomas, Ann Lomas, Darryl Olson, Erika Brayshaw, Sherrie Ashton, Col Jackson, Dalla Frakking, Cassandra Downey, Bruce Horrocks, Tracey Dufau, Keer Moriarty, Melissa Thornton, Cindy Unwin, Liam Emerton, Jess Baker, Renee Hawke, Bruce Ellen, Paul Thomas, Sharon Luck, Michael Hawke, Andrew Guiver, Cameron Outridge, Tanya Outridge. Visitors: Nic Hopkins, Steven Gardner, Dylan Smith, Di Ainsworth, Brian Hurst, Andrew Manual, Lianne Richards, Wanda Dunnet, Ian Dunnet, Kristy Hess, Renee Barnes, John Bergin, Michelle Newton, Todd Robinson, Donna Herold, Angela Blakston, Brenda Melhuish.

APOLOGIES:
Ted and Mim Rogers, OurNews Group

MINUTES 112th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING:
Confirmed correct on Motion from Samantha Wantling, seconded Ann Lomas. Carried.

BUSINESS ARISING:
No remaining items. 

PRESIDENT’S REPORT:

Phill Le Petit extended special thanks to secretary Greg Watson, and acknowledged his contribution and personal time committed over the past 12months to this organization. The expansion of QCPA over the past 12 months has been absolutely huge. Now boasting 49 Print Publishers and 29 Digital Publishers as members with no doubt more to come.

Overview of the last 12 months shows:

  • Increased membership
  • Upgrade of learning and training portal
  • Representation
  • New website
  • New QCPA logo
  • Meetings and Qld Treasurer and Premier’s Department, participation in the Public Inquiry on the Debt Reduction Bill, which proposed changes to notice advertising, and a meeting with the Government Advertising Communications Committee
  • Map of Qld showing 12 Qld budget areas and the members within those areas.
  • Today Group’s purchase the Rockhampton web printing operation
  • Fantastic entries in the 2021 Media Excellence Awards and largest attendance at AGM and Awards dinner for many years
  • A big thank you and appreciation to Media Super, Potent and in more recent times AAP Newswire, Today Print Group and Printcraft for their conference sponsorships.

The President provided additional information regarding the meeting with the Qld Govt’s GACC committee on May 25, and there were indications the Government is considering using QCPA members for a new campaign, which members being asked to quote rates to MediaCom. He paid special tribute to Damian Morgan, who represented QCPA ate the public inquiry of Debt Reduction regarding notice advertising.

  • MOVED Carl Portella, seconded Bruce Horrocks ; That the President’s Report be adopted. CARRIED. 

SECRETARY’S REPORT: 

SECRETARY’S REPORT: 113th AGM CONFERENCE & AWARDS: Today’s Conference and 2021 Media Excellence Awards presentations provide a fitting highlight to an outstanding year for QCPA, with strong attendance numbers come as a result of the substantial membership growth.
It is extremely disappointing our key invited guests – Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack or their replacements were unable to attend.
A very interesting and engaging conference program was organised with presenters on Country Press Australia activities, Project Kookaburra, the national survey on country newspapers and results of University of Sunshine Coast study into new publication start-ups.
The 2021 Media Excellence Awards, which included online categories for the first time, attracted 490 individual entries.
This year an informal welcome dinner was planned for the Thursday night for interstate visitors and delegates in Brisbane on the eve of the conference.
We have been fortunate in attracting five sponsor partners – long-time supporter Media Super, and new sponsors this year - Potent Web, AAP Newswire, Printcraft and Today Print. A special welcome to their representatives today and our sincere appreciation for the support. 

MEMBERSHIP: 24 of the new print publications started in Queensland in the last year have joined QCPA and all print members are now CPA members and almost all represented by RMC. A regular Members’ Update newsletter has been commenced to keep Members informed 

QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT: The State government’s decision to place notices online instead of newspapers prompted a flurry of letters, an advertising campaign and Damian Morgan’s attendance at the Public Inquiry into the Bill to introduce the change.
Meetings have been held in the last couple of weeks with the Treasurer Cameron Dick, the Premier’s Chief of Staff Shane Dougherty, and a very encouraging meeting with Government’s Communications & Advertising Committee.
President Phill Le Petit has also had a number of meetings with the Government’s advertising placement agency MediaCom and discussions are ongoing regarding potential campaigns.

ADVERTISING COMMITTEE: At its meeting in April, the Executive formed an Advertising Committee, including Drew Creighton (chair), Carl Portella, Col Jackson, Phill Le Petit, Michael Hawke, Bruce Horrocks and Greg Watson. The Committee’s initial target is to build a working relationship with Qld Government MPs and Departments and also with MediaCom.
An update of the Members’ Data Listing has been completed and distributed to Members. 

REPRESENTATION: There has been ongoing discussions regarding national advertising sales representation. In relation to the Qld Government, the Executive has moved down a similar path to VCPA and CPSA with Member publishers involved in building relationships and dealing with its agency MediaCom, and now formalised through its Advertising Committee. At a special Executive Meeting on May 15, letters were tabled from VCPA, offering to establish representation services through its Regional Media Connect (RMC) agency, and John Iverson of Independent Media Sales offering his representation services to Members. The Executive agreed to call for submissions, with business plans detailing benefits, etc., from the interested parties.

  • Due to keen interest in this matter, and receipt of a proposal from VCPA/Regional Media Connect it was referred to General Business. 

NEW LOGO: The Executive also approved a new QCPA logo, which has been well received.

WEBSITE: Work is well underway with Potent on development of a new website.

CP MEMBER RESOURCE: Michelle Newton has completed a revamp of the Country Press Member Resource portal. We currently have 98 users. QCPA is now funding Michelle’s work in servicing and adding material to this project at a cost $3600 per year.
Several delegates spoke in support and the importance of the Portal

  • MOVED Col Jackson, seconded Samantha Wantling: That QCPA continue to support and fund the CP Member Resource Project for another 2 years. CARRIED.

ADVERTSING SEMINAR: It is expected the Seminar will again be held at the Mt Ommaney Hotel complex, tentatively on Friday, October 15.

EXECUTIVE MEETINGS: The Executive Committee has met on four occasions since the May 29, 2020 AGM. They included meeting after the Awards Presentations at Toowoomba on November 6, by teleconference on February 19, and by video conference on April 15 and May 15.

CORRESPONDENCE:Included in notable correspondence:

  • Letter to Minister for Employment & Small Business Hon Shannon Fentiman on July 1, 2020, appealing for support for regional newspapers; and her reply June 18.
  • Letter to Qld Treasurer regarding proposed changes to notice advertising requirements.
  • Submission to the Inquiry into the Debt Reduction and Savings Bill 2021

FINANCIALS:The annual Auditor’s Report for 2020 reveals a turnover of $49,914 and “book” profit of $812. The operating net Profit result takes into account an amount of $6,258.84 pre-paid deposit for the 2020 postponed Conference. A book adjustment was made in 2019 to have the full value of the Term Deposit, which had previously been manually administered, rolled into the MYOB accounts. The 2020 Balance Sheet shows the full balance of the Term Deposit of $144,568.18 as at December 31.
The current balance is $144,639.48.
Based on current membership and fees, QCPA memberships subscriptions for 2021 should be almost $23,000 for Print Members and $8,400 for Online Members.

AUDITORS:Current Auditor is Maree Lock, of Profocus Accountants.

  • MOVED Greg Watson, seconded Carl Portella: That Profucus Accountants be reappointed as Auditors for 2021. CARRIED 

COUNTRY PRESS AUSTRALIA: Welcome to CPA President Bruce Ellen (Victoria) and Vice President Andrew Manuel (South Australia) and other CPA Board Members Wanda Dunnet (NSW), and Andrew Shreyer and Paul Thomas (Victoria). Bruce will be providing an update on CPA activities during the morning session. Our sincere appreciation to Bruce and CPA Board members for their outstanding work in negotiations with Google/Facebook, Commonwealth Government advertising and the Journalists Enterprise Agreement, etc.

SINCERE THANKS: The Secretariate operations have in past years been basically administration and organising the conference, Awards and seminars. However, the re-birth of locally-owned country papers, the transition into the digital world with the addition of the News Regional Online mastheads, and the “explosion” of involvement with State Government has increased activity many times over.
It has been extremely pleasing to have major involvement of members, especially our President Phill Le Petit and Executive members in QCPA activities this year, which is similar to what occurs in other Country Press organisations. The change augers well for the future. I am foreshadowing that I will be stepping down early in 2022, and I take this opportunity to sincerely thank Members allowing me to serve the Country Press “family” I have been part of for almost 60 years.

  • MOVED Col Jackson, Seconded Carl Portella: That the Secretary’s Report be adopted, CARRIED

ELECTION OF OFFICES AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Signed nominations received at start of AGM included:
President: Phill Le Petit (Noosa Today) nominated by Drew Creighton, Greg Watson
Vice-president: Carl Portella (The Express, Mareeba) nominated by Phill Le Petit, Greg Watson
Treasurer: Greg Watson (Life Member) nominated by Ted Rogers, Phill Le Petit

Executive Members:
Erika Brayshaw (Chinchilla News) nominated bv Drew Creighton, Greg Watson
Paul Thomas (Warwick Today) nominated by Erika Brayshaw, Greg Watson
Andrew Stewart (Mackay Local News) nominated by Carl Portella, Melissa Thornton
Bruce Horrocks (Lockyer & Somerset Independent), nominated by Drew Creighton, Greg Watson
Drew Creighton (Fassifern Guardian & Tribune), nominated by Ted Rogers, Greg Watson
Ted Rogers (Clifton Courier), nominated by Phill Le Petit, Greg Watson
Michael Hawke (My Village News), nominated by Greg Watson, Phill Le Petit
Damian Morgan (Bunbdaberg Today), nominated by Drew Creighton and Greg Watson
Col Jackson (Kilcoy Sentinel), nominated by Melissa Thornton and Andrew Stewart
Samantha Wantling (Warwick Stanthorpe Today), nominated by Phill Le Petit and Greg Watson

  • The President Phill Le Petit vacated the Chair, and Secretary Greg Watson called for any additional nominations. When no further nominations were received the Secretary declared the nominated representatives duly elected and congratulated them on their election. 

CPA BOARD REPRESENTATIVES:
QCPA delegates to Country Press Australia Board have been Ted Rogers and Greg Watson, with Phill Le Petit as alternate delegate.

  • MOVED: Paul Thomas, seconded Lukas White: That QCPA’s representatives on the Country Press Australian Board for 2021-22 be Phill Le Petit and Damian Morgan, with Carl Portella as Alternate Delegate. Carried.

TRUSTEES:

  • Moved Bruce Horrocks, seconded Carl Portella: That current Trustees and Life Members Mark Hodgson and Peter Lewis be reappointed Trustees. Carried

GENERAL BUSINESS:

PROMOTIONAL MAP LISTING: Andrew Stewart raised the issue of the promotional map and members’ listing only detailing the News Regional online news sites and did not list the online news sites linked the Print members.

  • MOVED Andrew Stewart, seconded Carl Portella: That the promotional map listing be changed to include Print Members online news sites. CARRIED.

LOCAL SHIRE COUNCILS: Andrew Stewart raised the issue, and other delegates spoke about local government councils withdrawing advertising support, creating their own large media departments, developing “pseudo news” sites, restricting public comment by councillors, reducing the public transparency of decisions, etc. Damian Morgan indicated there were serious concerns regarding Bundaberg Council, although it appeared Ipswich Council was withdrawing/downsizing its online “news” site.
There was support for the need to take action.
It was suggested QCPA raise the issues with the Local Government Association, the Qld Minister for Local Government and engaging the elected representatives through the Council of Mayors.

  • MOVED Andrew Stewart, seconded Carl Portella: That QCPA Executive raise the concerns of Members and seek discussions with the Minister for Local Government, the Local Government Association and the chair of the Council of Mayors. CARRIED.

NATIONAL REPRESENTATION:Further to comments in his earlier Secretary’s Report, Greg Watson informed the meeting QCPA had yesterday received a proposal from VCPA’s commercial advertising division Regional Media Connect to provide national advertising representation services in Brisbane for QCPA members. (Copy of the letter attached)
Speaking in relation to the Executive’s current position, Secretary Greg Watson said two key issues were the provision of support services for booking, charging, material issue, etc, and the question of the Brisbane market to viably support a QCPA or another stand-alone representation service.
Phill Le Petit highlighted the work RMC, and National manager Colleen Boyle had done in ensuring that all QCPA members had been added to the Commonwealth Govt’s advertising schedules.

  • MOVED Lukas White, Seconded Col Jackson: That further to QCPA Executive’s decision to explore the options for national advertising representation in Brisbane that:
    i. The position be a fulltime position based in Brisbane; and
    ii. QCPA consider contributing towards funding that fulltime position.
     

Michael Hawke spoke against the motion, suggesting there was not enough face to face call options in Brisbane to justify a fulltime position. He spoke about the support received from RMC and the need to protect the “collective” of QCPA members by having a representation service that looked after all members.

  • MOVED Michael Hawke, seconded Drew Creighton: That QCPA appoint Regional Media Connect to provided national representation services in Brisbane for QCPA Members, subject to negotiations with the QCPA Executive. 

To clarify any Point of Order, Secretary Greg Watson said two motions were not opposing and were open for discussion.

Andrew Stewart raised the questions of scope of operations, conditions, targets, commission, QCPA “cut”.

Lukas White said conditions etc, along with funding, were yet to be discussed as part of negotiations.

Paul Thomas declared he was a director of VCPA/RMC and was given chair’s permission to speak. He spoke against the need for a fulltime position, suggesting there wasn’t enough potential revenue in the Brisbane market to support a fulltime appointment. He said RMC was highly successful, handling over $600k bookings for QCPA members since July. Since the collapse of corporate publishers, smaller independent publishers required a sustainable and well-resourced support service. RMC proposed Colleen Boyle fill their proposed position and she has a proven track record with the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments, and her experience would be vital in securing Qld Government advertising.

Carl Portella then tabled a proposal from Australia Online News Network suggesting the Executive could consider a fourth option. Several speakers opposed the idea.

  • MOVED Drew Creighton, seconded Bruce Horrocks: That the meeting rejects the proposal. CARRIED with 1 vote against.

The two motions on the table were then put:

The Motion by Lukas White, Seconded Col Jackson: That further to QCPA Executive’s decision to explore the options for national advertising representation in Brisbane that (i) the position be a fulltime position based in Brisbane; and (ii) that QCPA consider contributing towards funding that fulltime position. MOTION REJECTED. Voting: 3 in favour, 11 against.

The motion by Michael Hawke, seconded Drew Creighton: That QCPA appoint Regional Media Connect to provided national representation services in Brisbane for QCPA Members, subject to negotiations with the QCPA Executive. CARRIED unanimously

HOSTING POLITICIANS

President Phill Le Petit informed the meeting of discussions regarding QCPOA hosting a reception for all Qld Members of Parliament at Parliament House, and received good support.

  • MOVED Phill Le Petit, seconded Drew Creighton: THAT QCPA explore the opportunity to invite all Queensland Members of Parliament to a reception to be held at Parliament House. Carried.

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 11.24am.


Queensland Representation

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Regional Media Connect represents more independently-owned regional media mastheads than any other regional media company in Australia.

Regional Media Connect is the sales arm of the Victorian Country Press Association but is a national entity.

The Victorian Country Press Association first formed in 1840. In the late 50s the Directors created a representation company to sell advertising to national clients and agencies. Over the years as our membership grew so did our revenue.

The media landscape is rapidly changing and in 2019 we decided to represent our member newspapers nationally across all states, and in doing so, changed our name to Regional Media Connect (RMC). We felt that the time was right to take on National representation for our growing membership base.

Our membership base has grown substantially in the last few years and we currently represent 165 regional newspapers in every state and the ACT.

Regional Media Connect has become a serious competitor in the regional media space with the sheer volume of regional newspapers that we represent. This is very important as a majority of our competitors (ACM and News LTD) are closing newspapers and many of our member publishers are launching new newspapers in new, vacated markets. Our members are investing, also, in print facilities to fill the void left by the corporates.

The media agencies now see us as a “one-stop shop” where they can buy a majority of their regional print media form us. We have become the first call most agencies will make when they are wanting to brief us. And due to our market strength, we have become known as the regional print experts.

Being able to represent both large and smaller mastheads gives us great strength. We represent all mastheads equally.

Our Queensland membership base also has increased and we now represent more independent regional newspapers in Queensland than any other media company. We are currently representing 47 Regional newspapers which we have had success with in the last 12 months. In this financial year we have booked $658,039.

We have also worked hard to ensure that all Queensland publications are included in the Federal Government contract which we have included in our RMC agreement. The revenue booked for Federal Government YTD is more than $273,000.

We have also had success with the national Agency clients. The closing of the News Corp papers was a great opportunity for us to go to market to try and secure the revenue that was currently going into these papers. As a result we have secured more than $311,000 YTD revenue.

The Queensland State Agency market
Queensland Government Advertising 

Regional Media Connect would welcome the opportunity to represent our Queensland mastheads in the Queensland market across all Government and Commercial sectors.

We have the experience and resources to manage this account as we have had a lot of success with our other Government clients – Federal and VicGov.

We propose that for and initial 12-month period we appoint Colleen Boyd to look after the Queensland Government account. Colleen has worked across government for the last six years, firstly at News Ltd and then for RMC. She has grown the business enormously and has formed great relationships with Government agencies and the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

We would also employ a 3-day week sales representative to work across the non-Government agency business. We have been looking after Queensland agencies for the past 18 months since the closing of the Media Workshop and have achieved great results.

Colleen and the part time representative will be based in our Melbourne office. We don’t believe that at this stage we need for a representative to be based in Brisbane, however this may well change as we build the market. For now, it is about getting the right person on the ground regularly in Brisbane and elsewhere in Queensland where needed.

And we have proven results that we can represent interstate clients based in Melbourne.

In 2019 we took over the NSW market from Fairfax (ACM) as we felt that we could do a better job in representing our newspapers. The sales team contacted and visited every agency in NSW and started to develop very strong relationships. As a result, our revenue that year exceed what Fairfax was booking and it has grown ever since. Our last financial year bookings out of NSW exceeded $1 million for Commercial and over $2 million for Federal Govt, whose agency is based in NSW.

Last year in Victoria we were in lock downs for most of the year. We couldn’t travel anywhere which meant that we couldn’t see clients. Our client meetings were all on Zoom, Microsoft teams.

We worked hard through these restrictions and not being able to see clients in person did not hinder our revenue. We had one of the highest revenue years we have ever had. Our total revenue to date is close to $12.1 million, up $3.5 million from the previous year. A great result in such a difficult time. 

Benefits of joining Regional Media Connect (RMC) 

  • We will continue to pay QCPA a rebate of 1.5% each month
  • VCPA will charge 10% commission for all print bookings. All the accounts are handled internally as we bill all the agencies and then distribute the money to each paper. Unlike other companies you won’t need to invoice the agency direct each month to get payment. We do it all
  • We have an highly-experienced sales team at RMC who are also highly-motivated and results driven. We all have many years experiencing dealing with clients and agencies and we have all worked at News, Fairfax and the major magazine groups. We know the market and we are passionate about our papers and print regional media
  • Our Key focus has been strengthening the partnerships we have with our member newspapers, ensuring that we deliver an easy customer journey. Regular communication across all our members is important.
  • The sales team are active in the market and have been focused on re-educating the agencies on the importance of investing in regional media. We have built strong relationships with agencies and have made it so much easier for them to do business with us.
  • We took over the representation of the 11 South Australian newspapers 18 months ago. In the first year of us representing them we closed the year at 192 % of budget, up 35% YOY. They were so pleased with our representation that when they were made aware that we would be representing the NSW market they jumped at the chance for us to represent them and gave notice their NSW rep agency.
  • We have also had the same success with all the other new newspapers that we took over representation as well as increasing revenue across all our other member newspapers.
  • Our team will work closely with all members to ensure we are covering all our basis and leaving no stone unturned.

In summary, it makes more sense in today’s fractured market for strong independent regional mastheads to stand together as one voice, one market in opportunity for agencies and clients.

Regional media Connect would be the ideal representation agency for the QCPA member newspapers as we have proven results and we will represent the Queensland mastheads with the same passion that we have represented the other markets.