Floods and industry challenges apart, there was a special sense of achievement when APN opened a new print centre for Toowoomba’s ‘Chronicle’ in June: Following a buyout of APN’s partner last year, the darling of Queensland’s Darling Downs is now a fully-owned subsidiary.
The new plant – with its Manugraph Cityline press, Müller Martini mailroom and Krause CTP – is part of a $100 million network of print sites stretching from Lismore in northern NSW to Mackay in north Queensland. Two sites – a Manugraph-equipped plant at Bundaberg and the productive $64 million coldset-heatset plant at Yandina, with its hybrid manroland Regioman/Uniset pressline – were opened at the end of 2006.
APN says it is spending between $8 and $9 million on each of the new sites at Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Ballina and Toowoomba, plus $2 million to double capacity of the existing Goss Community press at the ‘Daily Mercury’ in Mackay. Strategically located a few hours’ drive from their neighbouring print centres, each plant is planned to deliver flexibility for further expansion. A new plant at Ballina, replacing that at Lismore in northern NSW, is to be commissioned later this year.
At Toowoomba, the six-tower 35,000 cph Cityline provides up to 48 pages of back-to-back colour, and replaces a much older Harris N845 press installed prior to 1988, when APN bought into Toowoomba Newspapers – itself formed by the 1970 merger of the ‘Chronicle’ with the 1955 upstart ‘Downs Star’. gx