Productivity Commission takes aim at local content rules, defence

By Peter Roberts That federal government’s economic adviser the Productivity Commission has a new spring in its step and new targets of its quest for an economically pure Australia – defence procurement policies and local content rules more generally, especially those applied by the states. The PC’s 50th Trade and Assistance Review (TAR) just released…

Future relies on value adding, ingenuity – Husic

By Peter Roberts The Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic has made an impassioned commitment to words all too often forgotten in recent years – value adding and fostering Australian ingenuity. In a speech to the Australian Space Forum Husic said a Future Made in Australia would be defined by resilience, prosperity, and unwavering…

Small modular reactors have promise. But we found they’re unlikely to help Australia hit net zero by 2050

By Ian Lowe, Griffith University and Kylie Walker, Australian National University Australia’s clean energy transition is already underway, driven by solar, wind, batteries and new transmission lines. But what about nuclear? Opposition leader Peter Dutton last month committed to building nuclear reactors on the site of retired coal plants – triggering intense debate over whether…

18 months work of Australia’s watchmaker – by Josh Hacko

Australia’s only watchmaker Nicholas Hacko Watchmaker has completed a series of watches to demonstrate the company’s capabilities. Here Josh Hacko looks back at a big 18 months for the small company. I love giving a bit of a backstory, and glimpse behind the curtain into our projects. The NH55 project, which you can see in…

Sodium-ion batteries are set to spark a renewable energy revolution – and Australia must be ready

By Peter Newman, Curtin University The extent to which renewables should dominate Australia’s energy grids is a major issue in science and politics. Solar and wind are clearly now the cheapest form of electricity. But limits to these technologies can undermine the case for a renewables-only electricity mix. The challenges posed by solar and wind…

What are the steps to building nuclear power stations – by Peter Farley

In this, the third part of a series about Coalition plans for nuclear power in Australia, Peter Farley asks the question – How would we establish a nuclear power industry? It is often claimed that many countries are going nuclear and if Australia wants to be a ‘Developed Country’ we should have nuclear power. If…

Is BlueScope making a mistake betting on blast furnaces in a green steel era?

By Peter Roberts Just as the domestic electricity grid is making quick progress towards decarbonisation, so too are industrial processes such as steelmaking. Australia’s two primary steelmakers have taken different courses in moving towards lower carbon iron and steels. The GFG Alliance at Whyalla is moving from reliance on blast furnace technology towards a combination…

Wanting Australian drones but buying foreign instead – by Dr Peter Layton

Australia has clear defence industry priorities including developing a local drone manufacturing sector. Here Dr Peter Layton examines Defence’s recent drone purchases, and asks why then, do we buy overseas made drones and not the best value or most advanced ones at that? In late February the Minister for Defence Industry launched the Defence Industry…

SA’s light on renewable future, repudiating nuclear – by Giles Parkinson

South Australia is set to be 100 percent net renewable power by 2027 – a remarkable world first based only on solar PV and wind. Giles Parkinson explains the milestone’s importance. When the federal and state governments were deciding on a location to announce a funding deal that will underwrite South Australia’s final leap to…

Defence’s tortoise or hare like progress to procurement?

By Peter Roberts This week, did we see an example of the federal government’s new policies to link innovation more directly and speedily to eventual purchase? Or was this the last gasp of Defence’s traditional glacial approach to procurement. These questions loom large in Monday’s announcement that the government would invest over $100 million to…

A realistic time frame for building nuclear- by Peter Farley

In this, the second in an occasional series about Peter Dutton’s Coalition plans for nuclear power in Australia, Peter Farley finds the earliest conventional nuclear power could be on online in Australia would be 2048-49. Read the first article on reliability here. It has been said that we could have nuclear power plants running in…

Why cutting migration is bad news for Australian businesses

With the federal government and opposition vowing to reduce migration numbers in recent weeks, Australia’s ongoing skills shortages is likely to force businesses to increasingly seek overseas suppliers and put another nail in the coffin for local manufacturing, according to Scott Rawson.  A reduction in the number of skilled migrants will place added pressure on…

An open letter from Xavier Orr, CEO Advanced Navigation

By Xavier Orr After nearly 13 years with Advanced Navigation, I have made the difficult decision to retire as Co-CEO. While it comes with a heavy heart, I will be taking time off to focus on a family health matter. In 2012, Chris Shaw and I started the company from a garage in Subiaco, Western…

Without a massive grid upgrade, the Coalition’s nuclear plan faces a high-voltage hurdle

By Asma Aziz, Edith Cowan University Keeping the lights on in Australia is a complex task. Enough capacity must be ensured everywhere in the country, at every moment. Surplus in one location won’t solve shortages in another, unless we have the transmission infrastructure to transmit electricity between them. The transmission network largely consists of high-voltage…

Nuclear does not mean reliable power for Australia – by Peter Farley

In this, the first in an occasional series about nuclear power in Australia, Peter Farley says the claim of nuclear reliability is vastly overstated. “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong,” – Albert Einstein. As a student in the late 60’s I watched a training film…

Why the $11 billion Australian medtech sector’s supply chain is at risk of another “COVID” shock

The medtech sector needs further investment in manufacturing to protect against further potential global shocks as medical supply chains in Australia have not recovered fully from the COVID-19 pandemic which caused havoc with patient care. By Dr Jack Richards.  In the face of threats like pandemics and shifting economic and geopolitical conditions, it’s imperative that…

Collapse of plant protein manufacturer a concern – contribution from Food Frontier

Australian Plant Proteins’ voluntary administration highlights the lack of forward thinking by government, says Food Frontier CEO Dr Simon Eassom. In a regional area where employment and value-added industries are essential, it’s disappointing that a significant manufacturing plant has announced its potential closure after eight years of operations. Horsham based Australian Plant Proteins (APP) went…

When it comes to power, solar is about to leave nuclear and everything else in the shade

By Peter Martin, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University Opposition leader Peter Dutton might have been hoping for an endorsement from economists for his plan to take Australian nuclear. He shouldn’t expect one from The Economist. The Economist is a British weekly news magazine that has reported on economic thinking and served as…

Responding to the loss of sovereign ability to make plastics – by Shane West

While issues such as quantum computing attract political action, Australia is losing the sovereign ability to manufacture even basic products such as plastics and downstream products such as paint. According to Shane West, the closure of plastic raw material production by Qenos requires government intervention. How to respond to the loss of Qenos – Australia…

Malaysian jungle to future made in Australia – By Grant Wild

Manufacturing has been lost in Australia and we are turning our attention to building it anew. We have to look away from the past, to new ways of manufacturing and a digital-first mentality and automation. By Grant Wild. The recent deliverables in the Federal budget have made me think hard about what we really need…

Australian R&D, no long term research strategy – report

By Dr John Howard The Acton Institute for Policy Research and Innovation’s latest study examines the institutional settings for research systems in Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, South Korea, the UK, and the USA, focusing on their interaction with innovation ecosystems and with the broader innovation ecosystem. The report finds that Australia’s research system is heavily…

Re-engineering Aust Foundation to close – by Dr Michael Myers

After decades of invaluable work encouraging more than 1.5 million young Australians to take up STEM careers, the Re-Engineering Australia Foundation has been unable to secure ongoing funds from government or industry and will close. This is the full text of the high achieving charity’s shock announcement, by Dr Michael Myers. With a heavy heart,…

Australia needs large-scale energy production – here are 3 reasons why offshore wind is a good fit

By Ty Christopher, University of Wollongong and Michelle Voyer, University of Wollongong On the weekend, an area 20km off the Illawarra coast south of Sydney became Australia’s fourth offshore wind energy zone. It’s the most controversial zone to date, with consultation attracting a record 14,211 submissions – of which 65% were opposed. The zone’s declaration…

Few Australian companies even perform R&D – R&D scorecard

The Australian government used to publish a Business R&D Investment Scorecard, providing insight into how companies are investing in their future. Here John H Howard, Victor Pantano and Cameron Begley produce their own scorecard – which suggests fewer Australian companies are bothering with R&D. R&D scorecards are vital tools for policymakers. They provide essential data…

Dutton goes nuclear, proposing seven government-owned generators with the first starting in 2030s

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra Opposition leader Peter Dutton has announced seven sites for reactors, unveiling his long-awaited and highly-controversial policy for nuclear power with the claim it could start operating from the 2030s. The locations are the sites of former or current coal plants. They have the technical attributes needed for a nuclear…

Industrial transformation in Newcastle and the Hunter – by Roy Green

The Newcastle and Hunter regions of New South Wales have long been one of Australia’s most significant industrial heartlands. Here Roy Green lays out how the region can meet the challenges of climate change and transform its industrial structure. Everyone in Australia has a stake in the successful transformation of Newcastle and the coal rich…

A Future Made in Australia in a world of cheap imports – by Allyn Beard

The Future Made in Australia is great if you are in one of the chosen new high growth sectors that are its focus. But what of existing, centuries old manufacturing value chains assailed by cheap online retailing? By Allyn Beard. Cheap, imported and mass-produced goods are seemingly taking over Australia, with the likes of online…

More gas available for customers, but have manufacturers noticed?

By Peter Roberts The federal government has secured ‘more gas at reasonable prices’ to be made available for Australia’s east coast gas users through a new supply deal with Walloons, part of Shell, according to the government. An additional 40 petajoules will be made available for the domestic market for gas power generation between now…

Known unknowns: controversy over CSIRO’s electricity report reveals an uncomfortable truth

By Bruce Mountain, Victoria University CSIRO’s latest annual GenCost update, released last month, was billed as Australia’s “most comprehensive electricity generation cost report”. GenCost has proven to be highly controversial. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton previously levelled robust criticism at the report, specifically the high costs attributed to building nuclear power in Australia, and called for…

Food has a climate problem: Nitrous oxide emissions are accelerating with growing demand for fertiliser and meat – but there are solutions

By Hanqin Tian, Boston Coll ege; Eric Davidson, University of Maryland, Baltimore; Pep Canadell, CSIRO, and Rona Louise Thompson, Norwegian Institute for Air Research Food’s role in climate change has emerged as one of the defining challenges of our time. The journey of a steak, fruit or salad from the vast expanses of agricultural lands…

What exactly is the point of the supermarket duopoly?

By Peter Roberts You really would pull your hair out if you stopped to think about the supermarket duopoly’s commitment to Australian industry – you know the growers and industry manned by its customers – Australians. The first image (pictured) last night on the Woolworths Group website is captioned – Growing Together for 36 Years…

Should we worry about wasting renewable energy? Here’s why ‘spilling’ excess power is expected – and efficient

By Dylan McConnell, UNSW Sydney In Australia’s electricity system, more and more energy from sunlight and wind is being “spilled” – or not converted to electricity. In the last year, the amount of renewable energy spilled was roughly equivalent to the annual consumption of 750,000 typical households, or three months of consumption for the state…

70 economists back Future made in Australia, blast Productivity Commission

Channel Nine media has revealed that a group of 70 economists from the nation’s most important universities support the recently announced Future Made in Australia policy. The exclusive story by well respected journalist Shane Wright in the SMH newspaper also puts a rocket up the Productivity Commission which has continued its long standing antipathy to…

Why selling Austal to a foreign bidder ‘beyond explanation’ – by Allen Roberts

Australian Manufacturing Forum member Allen Roberts is incensed that the federal government is comfortable with foreign takeover of our most important sovereign defence manufacturer, shipbuilder Austal, as is @AuManufacturing. Tasked in the Forum with detailing his concerns, minus expletives, Allen reports. Leaving out the expletives, let’s focus on a few obvious strategic points. The government…

The high road or the low road – by Dario Valenza

@AuManufacturing’s series Towards 3% R&D has been noticed from Canberra to business. Here, Dario Valenza charts some of the impediments to manufacturing and asks whether there is a path ahead, without sacrificing the things we value about Australia. Let’s start by acknowledging that we have a high cost base in Australia because of geography, regulation,…

Austal, under takeover threat, awarded new $779 million US Navy contract

By Peter Roberts Perth international shipbuilder Austal has been awarded a $779 million (US$516 million) US Navy contract modification for the construction of the lead ship of the T-AGOS (ocean surveillance) programme, T-AGOS 25. The company, the largest Australian owned and controlled prime defence contractor, said the contract modification exercised an option for ordering long…

Better management of innovation and commercialisation – by Mobin Nomvar

Manufacturing for Australia’s self-sufficiency is a must. Here Dr Mobin Nomvar Founder & MD of Scimita Ventures, examines how we can build on innovation to scale as a nation. In recent years, major conflicts have broken out in Ukraine, a major wheat producer, which together with attacks on ships passing through the Suez Canal and…

Australian Manufacturing Forum passes 15,000 members

@AuManufacturing’s social media discussion and networking group, the Australian Manufacturing Forum on Linkedin, has passed an important membership milestone. The Forum, Australia’s largest professional social media group of Australian manufacturers, last night saw the admission of new members, bringing membership to 15,000. New members in past days range from production team members to technical staff…

Future Made in Australia will boost sustainable growth and create jobs as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough

By Sanjoy Paul, University of Technology Sydney and Priyabrata Chowdhury, RMIT University The shift towards net zero emissions and greater international competition have created new opportunities for clean energy industries – poised to shape the global economy in the coming decades. To harness these opportunities, the government has developed a long-term strategic initiative called the…

Critical minerals for the world – or just for the US? Turning Australia into a green minerals powerhouse comes with risks

By Marina Yue Zhang, University of Technology Sydney; David Gann, University of Oxford, and Mark Dodgson, The University of Queensland Globalisation is on shaky ground. As China rises, the United States and its allies are moving to reduce their reliance on the world’s factory. The rivalry between the US and China is wide-ranging, from competition…

Submarine dispute sinks further – workers call for CEO resignation

By Peter Roberts Relations between workers and management at submarine builder ASC have sunk even lower with members of the trade unions on the site unanimously issuing a vote of no confidence in the CEO’s leadership. Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) SA Assistant State Secretary Stuart Gordon said around 300 members across the AMWU, AWU…

Celebrating Australian Made — for recycled paver maker, it’s about credibility

This month marks two years of manufacturing for Philip Goodman, who says his company has so far managed to turn about 300,000 kilograms of post-industrial plastic into new permeable pavers. The Director of Truegrid Australia came to manufacturing after a career as developer and builder, particularly of over-50s lifestyle resorts.  Goodman says he saw Truegrid…

Celebrating Australian Made — responding as needs arise

The details of Para Mobility’s history are not totally clear. The assistive technology company began in 1983, and CEO Peter Cleaves says it’s had various different names and about six different owners during the time. What seems clearer is that it began with and continues to operate based on needs. “Like most AT businesses in…

Will government investment make green hydrogen a reality in Australia?

By Kylie Turner, Climateworks Centre and Luke Brown, Climateworks Centre In the budget last week, the government was keen to talk about its efforts to turn Australia into a renewable superpower under the umbrella of the Future Made in Australia policies. Future Made is a framework that sets out how to target green subsidies to…

Towards 3% R&D – what we learned over four weeks

By Peter Roberts If @AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – has taught us anything, it is not the national myth of plucky Australians being an inventive people battling to commercialise their ideas. Towards 3% has taught us that unlike leading nations, Australia doesn’t have a supportive innovation ecosystem…

Nuclear subs are coming to Australia. Now the Coalition wants reactors, too. We’re not ready for it

By Ian Lowe, Griffith University For decades, Australia has exported uranium – but not used it, other than in the Lucas Heights research reactor. But change is coming. We now face a rapidly deepening commitment to the nuclear industry, through nuclear submarines (bipartisan support) or nuclear reactors (Coalition support). The Albanese government was quick to accept…

Towards 3% R&D – a national business R&D action plan by Dr John Howard

Today we conclude our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – in which @AuManufacturing has exposed the issues eroding Australian R&D. In this edited excerpt Dr John Howard proposes A National Business R&D Strategy and Action Plan. Download the full paper at the foot of this article. The structure of…

For a ‘future made in Australia’, we need more innovation and diverse people in science and tech

By Kylie Walker, Australian National University This year’s federal budget is making up for decades of lost time – both in our clean energy transition and in betting on new technological breakthroughs. The Future Made in Australia Act holds tantalising potential for building Australian science, research and development. The aim is to turn Australia into…

Towards 3% R&D – Knowledge diffusion a key by Elliot Duff

Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Elliot Duff identifies the issue as a lack of capability in diffusing knowledge through the economy to its grass roots. Knowledge Diffusion in Australia While doubling R&D spending to 3% will help turbo-charge the Australian innovation system, it is essential…

Towards 3% R&D – picking innovation winners by Professor Danny Samson

Today in the closing days of our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Professor Danny Samson looks at picking winners in R&D. His conclusion – no guarantees but a structured approach can help. We all pick winners: so let’s do it well! From governments and big businesses to startup…

Towards 3% R&D – A future made feeding Australia by Allen Roberts

A loss of sovereign control of industry is a key issue raised in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Here, Allen Roberts examines innovation in the critical food manufacturing sector. The recent declaration of ‘A Future Made in Australia’ by the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has put the…

Budget has $22.7 billion for a Future Made in Australia over 10 years

By Peter Roberts If a plethora of ambitious programmes and many, many billions of dollars are all that it takes to reverse manufacturing’s long term slide, then Jim Chalmers budget 2024 delivered tonight has made a welcome start on setting the $124 billion sector up for a new period of expansion. While headlines were the…

Towards 3% R&D – budget responds to slump in Australian innovation effort

By Peter Roberts The 2024 budget has responded to the issues being raised by @AuManufacturing’s one-month long series of articles around the theme Towards 3% R&D – turbocharging Australia’s innovation efforts. Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced a ‘strategic examination of Australian research and development’ as part of the Future Made in Australia package of measures. According…

Towards 3% R&D – Innovation bolsters defence industry by Minister Pat Conroy

Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy explains how the government has built new structures to link defence innovation with commercial outcomes, building the defence industrial base in the process. A strong and sovereign innovation, science and technology sector is critical to…

Towards 3% R&D – Commercial outcomes from public sector research by Professor Cori Stewart

As we come towards the end of our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Professor Cori Stewart Founder and CEO ARM Hub explains the importance of commercialising hubs in turning research into economic outcomes. For the past two decades the capability generated by Australian R&D funding and the capability…

Towards 3% R&D – Innovation for process heat by Dr Mahesh Venkataraman

As we come towards the conclusion of our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – we turn to the critical issue of innovation in the use of renewables for industrial process heat. Dr Mahesh Venkataraman of thermal energy storage company 1414 Degrees outlines the way forward. The decarbonisation of process…

Towards 3% R&D – Australia should choose a better target by Dr Matthew Young

Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Dr Matthew Young looks at the Australian government’s aim of close to doubling R&D spending to the equivalent of 3% of GDP, and concludes it might be better to set a better goal. Advocating for an increase in Australia’s national…

Gas is good until 2050 and beyond, under Albanese gas strategy

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra The Albanese government is talking up the crucial role of gas as a transition fuel “through to 2050 and beyond”. In a gas strategy to be released on Thursday, the government envisages the fuel’s uses would change over time, as energy efficiency improved, renewables were firmed and emissions were…

Towards 3% R&D – A national strategy to reverse innovation slide by Dr John Howard

A National Business Research and Development Strategy and Action Plan is the logical conclusion of our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort. In this edited excerpt, Dr John Howard lays out the elements of the strategy. The full paper can be downloaded below. Australian business investment in R&D collapsed during…

Towards 3% R&D – Factory of the future by Philipp Dautel

Innovation hubs that allow companies to engage with researchers and test their systems on the latest equipment are seen as part of the answer to Australia’s faltering innovation system. Here, in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Philipp Dautel of one such hub the Factory of the Future…

Towards 3% R&D – patent box still missing from innovation system by BDO

Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Daniel Splatt and Michelle Tan highlight the benefits of a patent box system, much advocated but missing from our innovation ecosystem. The World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Global Innovation Index has revealed a steady decline in Australia’s knowledge, technology, and creative…

Towards 3% R&D – Training the innovation workforce by Michael Edwards of Boeing

Our editorial series Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – requires a trained and inspired workforce. But how to achieve that? By Michael Edwards of Boeing Research and Technology. Enhancing performance, safety and efficiency of Boeing’s products and services are at the forefront of Boeing’s innovation teams’ minds when developing technological advancements for…

Towards 3% R&D – Higher education in its biggest-ever decline by Professor Roy Green

As we have been publishing our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – new statistics have emerged that show that even higher education research, until now a national strongpoint, is faltering. Professor Roy Green details the biggest decline ever recorded in higher education research. The newly released Australian Bureau of…

Towards 3% R&D – innovation in biofuels by Geoff Bell of MicroBioGen

Biofuels are one of Australia’s biggest industrial and environmental opportunities. Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Geoff Bell looks at what is needed to make promise a reality. Australia, with its extensive demand for air travel and rich natural resources like biomass, solar and wind, is…

Towards 3% R%D – Building innovation capability by Danny Samson

Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – we look at the evidence from innovation research. Professor Danny Samson outlines the steps needed to turn R&D into business success. Companies in Australia have a terrific opportunity to grow through innovation, given our access to global markets and the…

Towards 3% R&D – The right question? Or are there bigger issues by Allen Roberts

Are we actually asking the question in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort. Here Allen Roberts looks behind the issue at the Australian way of getting things done, and whether that, itself, needs reform. As we seek to move towards 3% of GDP as a measure of the R&D…

Towards 3% R&D – intelligent systems for defence innovation by Saeid Navahandi

Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Saeid Nahavandi looks at the role robotic and autonomous systems can play in defence innovation and operations. In line with the complexities of modern warfare, the integration of advanced robotic and autonomous systems (RASs), artificial intelligence (AI), and human-machine collaborative…

Marles would let Austal fall into overseas hands – I would not

By Peter Roberts Defence Minister Richard Marles is comfortable with the possibility of Australia’s most successful locally owned defence manufacturer, Austal, falling to overseas ownership. I, for one, am not. In April Korean defence group Hanwha bid to buy Austal, emerging into the open after months of speculation that the company was a takeover target.…

Towards 3% R&D – the lesson of the SBIR model of innovation by Jefferson Harcourt

Today our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – turns to successful overseas models boosting innovation such as the US SBIR model. By Jefferson Harcourt. Research and Development (R&D) is essential in driving economic growth and maintaining a competitive advantage, and in Australia there’s a pressing need to enhance R&D…

Towards 3% R&D – government and business leadership by David Martin

Today our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – turns to the critical importance of leadership from governments and business leaders in reversing the innovation slump. By David Martin of Ai Group. Leaders have the responsibility to shape the future of their firms by identifying opportunities and strategically aligning the…

Towards 3% R&D – Reach for the Moon to innovate by Xavier Orr

@AuManufacturing turns today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – to one of the bright sparks in the innovation scene – the development of a research-based space industry. By Xavier Orr. Australia’s space sector has skyrocketed in the past two decades. As of 2008, Australia was the only…

No threat to farm land: just 1,200 square kilometres can fulfil Australia’s solar and wind energy needs

By Andrew Blakers, Australian National University As Australia’s rapid renewable energy rollout continues, so too does debate over land use. Nationals Leader David Littleproud, for example, claimed regional areas had reached “saturation point” and cannot cope with more wind and solar farms and transmission lines. So how much land is needed to fully decarbonise energy…

Towards 3% R&D – Why business innovation is faltering by Dr John Howard

Faltering business expenditure on R&D is a major factor in Australia’s poor innovation performance. Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Dr John Howard identifies businesses’ failings. This is an edited excerpt (full paper link below). From 1981 to 1995, Australian businesses made steady progress in lifting…

Towards 3% R&D – Australia’s climate opportunity by Dr Katherine Woodthorpe

Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Katherine Woodthorpe looks at the potential of innovation in low emission products for export. She argues investing in innovation and STEM skills has economic returns. In the fight against climate change, Australia and the world are at a crossroads. The…

Towards 3% R&D – Tax incentive is alive and kicking by Kris Gale

Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – we turn to the main support mechanism available for innovation – the R&D Tax Incentive. By Kris Gale. In Minister Husic’s 3% R&D drive to survive, one constant refrain in the Government’s innovation support story is the need to make…

If plastic manufacturing goes up 10%, plastic pollution goes up 10% – and we’re set for a huge surge in production

By Kathryn Willis, CSIRO; Britta Denise Hardesty, CSIRO; Katie Conlon, Ph.D., Portland State University, and Win Cowger, University of California, Riverside In the two decades to 2019, global plastic production doubled. By 2040, plastic manufacturing and processing could consume as much as 20% of global oil production and use up 15% of the annual carbon…

Towards 3% R&D – continuous improvement in manufacturing by Serena Ross

Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – Serena Ross contrasts innovation to be new to the world, and continuous improvement – the lifeblood of her company, Circuitwise Electronics. Australia’s innovation effort can be improved by a greater focus on ‘ordinary’ innovation. In contrast to deep-tech or R&D-focused…

Towards 3% R&D – the role of industry policy by Roy Green

Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – we turn to the role of national industry policy. Here Roy Green points to innovation and the success of a Future Made in Australia as intertwined. While lacking detail at this stage, the significance of Prime Minister Albanese’s Future Made…

Towards 3% R&D – Boosting industry and research collaboration, by Dr Tony Peacock

With business and direct government spending on R&D falling, and only university research rising, our editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – Turbocharging Australia’s Innovation Effort – turns to collaboration between industry and public sector researchers. By Dr Tony Peacock. If Australia is to turbocharge our R&D to reach 3% of GDP, businesses will have…

No mention of industry in Australia’s biggest ever tender for renewable power

By Peter Roberts The federal government has accelerated the roll out of renewable power generation and storage with the country’s biggest ever tender. But despite Canberra’s plans for a Future Made in Australia, there was no mention of a role for local industry in the announcement made this morning. The Federal and NSW climate change…

Iluka Resources orders equipment for Australia’s first rare earths refinery

By Peter Roberts Mining company Iluka Resources has awarded long lead procurement packages for key equipment for the company’s planned rare earths refinery at its Eneabba zircon mine in Western Australia – the first refinery for rare earths in Australia for the minerals used in high technology products. The company is procuring the roasting kiln,…

A future Made in Australia is a matter of ideology

By Peter Roberts So whether or not Australia will actually have a Future Made in Australia as wished for by the Albanese government comes down to what it has always come down to – a matter of Ideology. The sides of the debate are clear. Ranged against are the usual suspects – economically regressive media…

Verifying and validating AI in safety critical systems

Sponsored article By Stephane Marouani, Country Manager ANZ at MathWorks As countries worldwide begin to establish AI regulations, manufacturing engineers designing AI-enabled systems must meet these newly introduced specifications and standards. On October 30, the United States White House issued an executive order on AI regulation, highlighting the importance of robust Verification and Validation (V&V)…

Our great leap backward in China trade ignores China specialists

By Katie Howe Last week Prime Minister Albanese cheerfully welcomed the Chinese government’s removal of import duties on Australian wine. Following numerous government-to-government talks held in Canberra and Beijing over recent months, it was seen as a positive step in a new era of Australia-China relations. For winemakers, it was merely a small win on…

Towards 3% R&D – a Future Made in Australia needs innovation boost

By Peter Roberts @AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Towards 3% R&D – turbocharging our national innovation effort which is now seeking your input – has been made more relevant with the announcement by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of a Future Made in Australia Act. Australia’s manufacturing future lies in technology and skills based products, as well…

Coordinate policy, reorder priorities to boost manufacturing – Roy Green

The announcement by the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of a Future Made in Australia Act has brought a chorus of negativism as well as support and advice from industry. Samantha Donovan interviewed industry policy leader Emeritus Professor Roy Green of UTS Sydney on ABC radio – his advice is to better coordinate policy, focus on…

A Future Made in Australia – Anthony Albanese in his own words

On Thursday in a speech in Brisbane Prime Minister Anthony Albanese revealed he would put to Parliament a bill for a Future Made in Australia Act which would respond to increasing global competition through more activist industry policy. Here is an edited transcript of his speech. We need to be clear-eyed about the economic realities…

China has finally removed crushing tariffs on Australian wine. But re-establishing ourselves in the market won’t be easy

By Weihuan Zhou, UNSW Sydney and James Laurenceson, University of Technology Sydney China’s Ministry of Commerce has finally ended its tariffs on Australian wine, which had been imposed for more than three years at rates as high as 218.4%. The measures have had a catastrophic impact on Australia’s wine exports. In 2019, Australia sold A$1.24…

Towards 3% R&D – why is Australia’s national R&D effort falling?

Today in our editorial series – Towards 3% – turbocharging our national innovation effort – innovation policy analyst Dr John Howard shines light on why Australian R&D is going backwards. In this, the second part of a two-part series, Dr Howard discusses the reasons behind the fall in R&D spending, pointing the finger at a…

Towards 3% R&D – the statistics tell us national innovation is faltering

Launching our new editorial series – Towards 3% – turbocharging our national innovation effort – innovation policy analyst Dr John Howard looks behind the statistics to reveal that Australia’s national R&D effort has slumped since 2009. In this edited excerpt, the first part of a two-part series, Dr Howard shows Australia is falling further behind.…

Without community support, the green energy transition will fail. Here’s how to get communities on board

By Simon Wright, Charles Sturt University Connecting cheap, clean energy from renewables comes with a hidden cost and challenge: building 5,000 kilometres of new transmission lines this decade, and another 5,000km after that. This sounds like a lot, but 5,000km is only around 10% of the existing grid network, and unlocks more than 32 gigawatts…

Brickworks’ Lindsay Partridge to retire after great achievement

By Peter Roberts Building products group Brickworks has announced the retirement of its long serving Managing Director Lindsay Partridge (pictured). Partridge, who is to be replaced by COO Mark Ellenor, is one of the country’s best respected and most successful manufacturing leaders. A ceramic engineer by training, he worked his way to the top job…

ARM Hub and Vaulta’s ideas combine in innovation hub

By Peter Roberts Queensland’s ARM Hub is supporting a local start-up to build a smart lithium battery for Australian homes, at the same time demonstrating its unusual-for-Australia innovation model. The batteries have a special casing that enables them to be repaired remotely, and the company, Vaulta, is scaling their pilot assembly plant at the ARM…

Climate change puts global semiconductor manufacturing at risk. Can the industry cope?

By Josh Lepawsky, Memorial University of Newfoundland Semiconductors are the basic building blocks of microchips. These technological marvels are in everything from lightbulbs and toothbrushes to cars, trains and planes, not to mention the vast array of electronics that have become integral to many people’s daily lives. The 21st century chip manufacturing industry has been…

Industry shutdowns are messy and painful: 4 lessons Australia’s coal sector can learn from car-makers about bowing out

By Vigya Sharma, The University of Queensland and Julia Loginova, The University of Queensland Shifting Australia’s electricity sector to low-carbon technologies and closing coal plants is vital to tackling climate change. But such transitions are easier said than done. People and economies are often deeply connected to the coal industry. Coal plants have often been…

ASC can’t build a canoe, now trusted with N-submarines

By Peter Roberts The decision that BAE Systems Australia and ASC Pty Ltd are to build SSN‑AUKUS submarines in Adelaide promises to return government-owned ASC closer to the role originally intended when then defence minister Kim Beazley established the ASC to build the Collins Class submarine. The company, which will now also sustain Virginia and…

If you can’t tow a caravan with an EV, then excavate iron ore

The ability of electric powered machines to do the job – even towing a caravan – has been demonstrated with Fortescue’s first operational electric excavator reaching one million tonnes of ore moved. Over the past three months, the excavator had been running at partial capacity while the Cloudbreak mine site team familiarised themselves with the…

Even as the fusion era dawns, we’re still in the Steam Age

By Andreas Helwig, University of Southern Queensland Steam locomotives clattering along railway tracks. Paddle steamers churning down the Murray. Dreadnought battleships powered by steam engines. Many of us think the age of steam has ended. But while the steam engine has been superseded by internal combustion engines and now electric motors, the modern world still…

China’s green steel push could crush Australia’s dirty iron ore exports

By Charlie Huang, RMIT University Australia’s largest export, iron ore, has long been a powerhouse of economic growth. Over the past two decades, its contribution to our national income has surged from just A$8 billion in 2005 to over A$124 billion today. But the Australian iron ore industry faces a major challenge as its biggest…

Australian space industry: concrete pads and coffees-to-go?

By Adam Gilmour There is a space treaty being proposed in Parliament right now that sounds innocuous, but has the potential of being the biggest speed-bump/handbrake or ‘own goal’ for the Australian space industry. Tabled in Parliament on 28 February, the Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) between Australia and the United States essentially allows US rockets…

RECCE uses innovative method to bring forward R&D incentive

The federal government’s Research and Development (R&D) tax incentive may have highly restrictive rules and definitions which cut the number of companies eligible for assistance, but for early stage and start up companies it can be a godsend. Available to companies turning over less than $20 million – itself a bone of contention with innovative…

What is a GPU? An expert explains the chips powering the AI boom, and why they’re worth trillions

By Conrad Sanderson, CSIRO As the world rushes to make use of the latest wave of AI technologies, one piece of high-tech hardware has become a surprisingly hot commodity: the graphics processing unit, or GPU. A top-of-the-line GPU can sell for tens of thousands of dollars, and leading manufacturer NVIDIA has seen its market valuation…

CEFC points the way to NRF effectiveness

By Peter Roberts Those questioning the effectiveness of the federal government’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund need to look no further than the success of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation initiative. But don’t expect rapid results – the CEFC took a decade to pick up steam and only now is showing the power of catalytic…

The National Electricity Market wasn’t made for a renewable energy future. Here’s how to fix it

By Vikki McLeod, Queensland University of Technology and Marcus Foth, Queensland University of Technology Rooftop solar is Australia’s cheapest source of electricity. The consumer can get electricity from rooftop solar at less than a fifth of the average cost per kwh of buying it from a retailer. Unsurprisingly, rooftop solar output is growing fast. In…

Defence companies outperform in workforce gender pay gap

A study just released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency of gender pay gaps in companies found that women in the workforce are still badly treated, in fact very badly treated. The median gender pay gap in 5,000 companies studied on a base salary measure was found to be 14.5 per cent, while on a…

R&D companies should beware too much success

By Peter Roberts Australia has a modest R&D tax incentive programme which rewards innovative young companies with a tax refund based on their R&D spending. But those same small companies face a refund cliff should they grow too big – the scheme returns tax on the basis of R&D performed only up to a company…

Mary O’Kane recommends more uni R&D – but that’s not the innovation answer

By Peter Roberts Much has been written about the Australian universities accord – final report from scientist and engineer Mary O’Kane (pictured). But from an industry innovation point of view her panel’s recommendations fall short of what is needed to kickstart Australia’s fading innovation – and I mean business innovation – performance. National R&D has…

BHP gets serious about copper metal production

By Peter Roberts BHP might just be getting serious about fully exploiting its ability to refine and export copper on a large scale from its South Australian copper mines – however the company has considered major expansions previously and baulked at the cost. In 2012 BHP halted plans for a $30 billion expansion of its…

Government focus on defence innovation – Thistlethwaite

The Assistant Minister for defence Matt Thistlethwaite has spruiked the government’s response to the Defence Strategic Review in the field of defence innovation, including through joint work with AUKUS partners the US and the UK. The DSR found that more support is needed for innovation, faster acquisition and better links between Defence and industry to…

Bigger fleet, more firepower, jobs for decades – just add dollars!

By Peter Roberts It is amazing what a little cold hard cash – an extra $11 billion bringing the total to $38 billion over 10 years to be exact – can do. The federal government has tried to work wonders by piling the cash into the defence budget to achieve three of what seemed like…

What’s behind the collapse in the price of nickel and how can the industry survive?

By Mohan Yellishetty, Monash University Australia’s nickel industry has been granted access to billions of dollars in federal funding as well as relief from royalty payments after a collapse in the global price of nickel that threatens thousands of jobs. On Thursday BHP wrote down the value of its West Australian nickel division Nickel West…

Critical mineral nickel slump spurs government action

A slump in prices for the critical mineral nickel – used in battery manufacture – has brought action from the federal and Western Australian governments. In the past few days federal Resources Minister Madeleine King placed nickel on the Critical Minerals List, giving nickel companies opportunity to access billions of dollars in Commonwealth funding. And…

Queensland gets back in the venture capital game

By Peter Roberts The Queensland government is getting back in the venture capital game and directly investing in young – and inherently risky – businesses. State owned VCs have been on the nose since the failure of the Victorian Economic Development Corporation and subsequent abolition in 1993, its demise as much a result of the…

Carbon Revolution sales up, US listed shares down

By Peter Roberts Australian-born, US based automotive wheel manufacturer Carbon Revolution has announced preliminary sales for the fiscal second-quarter ending December 2023 of a record US$14.8 million, exceeding previously announced guidance for the quarter of US$14.0M-US$14.5M. For the year ended December 31, 2023, revenue increased 42 percent to US$40.3 million. CEO of Carbon Revolution Jake…

Soft plastic recycling is back after the REDcycle collapse – but only in 12 supermarkets. Will it work this time?

By Anya Phelan, Griffith University After the memorable collapse of Australia’s largest soft plastic recycling program REDcycle in late 2022, a new scheme is emerging. It’s remarkably similar, albeit on a much smaller scale. The trial underway in 12 Melbourne supermarkets intends, once again, to provide customers with an in-store option for recycling “scrunchable” food…

Now Port Pirie plans to be a green iron production hub

Not content with Whyalla’s emergence as a green steel production hub, a second South Australian city – Port Pirie – has joined the race to become a green metals hub based on the state’s huge reserves of magnetite ore. While haematite from the Pilbara has been the source of most of Australia’s iron ore exports,…

Is the government eyeing more, not less RAN ships?

By Peter Roberts Until now the talk in defence circles has been about the possibility that fewer than the planned nine Hunter class frigates might be built at a new shipyard at Osborne in Adelaide (pictured). This is something that has kept Adelaide manufacturers, already reeling from Australia’s recent on-again, off again submarine policies, awake…

The Nationals want renewables to stay in the cities – but the clean energy grid doesn’t work like that

By Andrew Gunn, Monash University and Christian Jakob, Monash University The bush is full up – no room for more renewables, according to Nationals leader David Littleproud. Instead, renewables should be restricted to large solar arrays on commercial buildings in the cities. The country-focused minor party presumably hopes to capitalise on rural scepticism of large scale…

The Australian AM business operating in a category of one

Sponsored  As seen through recent arguments over industry policy and various reports over the years – such as the results of a Parliamentary inquiry released in late-November – there are recommendations aplenty as to where and how local manufacturing can flourish. It’s easy enough to find comments about where Australia shouldn’t try to compete. And…

Resources minister less than enthusiastic on green hydrogen

By Peter Roberts Anyone looking for the federal government to put emissions-producing exports behind it and focus on zero emissions exports of green hydrogen and ammonia would be disappointed at a major speech just delivered by Resources Minister Madeline King to Japanese industry leaders at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo. In a long speech King…

Renewable projects are getting built faster – but there’s even more need for speed 

By Thomas Longden, Western Sydney University How long does it take to build a solar or wind farm? It’s a simple question with wide implications. To reach our ambitious 82% renewable energy target by 2030, we have to build many new projects – and start them soon. In 2022, renewables hit a new high of 36%…

This is how far Grant Tinney is prepared to go for charity

Many industrial leaders and companies are active and generous in the charity space, but few are prepared to go as far as Grant Tinney, Founder, Chairman and CTO at STÄRKE Advanced Manufacturing Group. Tinney took to social media to celebrate one of his boldest achievements – helping create and participating in the 11th annual Marilyn…

Do we want a wind farm outside our window? What Australians think about the net zero transition

By Lucy Richardson, Monash University and Ella Healy, Monash University A paradox lies at the heart of Australian public opinion about climate change. While there is clear general support for substantial government action to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, there is also strong concern about the local impacts of new renewable energy infrastructure. The…

Australia may spend hundreds of millions of dollars on quantum computing research. Are we chasing a mirage?

By Timothy Duignan, Griffith University The Australian government is going all in on quantum computing. After investing more than $100 million on “quantum technology” in 2021, it is now reportedly considering spending up to $200 million on purchasing a “quantum computer” from a US company. Is this a sensible decision? You might think so, if…

Austin Engineering shows how business improvement can pay off

By Peter Roberts For those hesitating on embarking on a company improvement process hesitate no longer – Perth mining equipment manufacturer Austin Engineering has shown the massive benefits available from reorganising and streamlining operations and investing in new machinery and manufacturing processes. The company, which manufactures large dump truck bodies for the mining sector and…

Entech in the van of electronics revival

By Peter Roberts The 1980s and 1990s were optimistic times for electronics manufacturing in Australia, with changing technologies allowing new companies to establish such as Entech Electronics in Adelaide, GPC Electronics in western Sydney and IntelliDesign in Brisbane. Like all manufacturing there have been ups and a lot of downs since then but the sector,…

Australians are concerned about AI. Is the federal government doing enough to mitigate risks?

By Toby Walsh, UNSW Sydney Today, the federal Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic revealed an interim response from the Australian government on the safe and responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI). The public, especially the Australian public, have real concerns about AI. And it’s appropriate that they should. AI is a powerful technology…

Ukraine war propels DroneShield to new records

By Peter Roberts War brings no good to anyone but a few military contractors which boom during times of rising tensions – none more so than drone detection and countermeasure manufacturer DroneShield. To say that the company is in the right place at the right time to prosper from technological change is a massive understatement…

Top AI trends for engineers in 2024

By Stephane Marouani As the adoption of AI grows across countless industries, it continues to enable impactful progress and revolutionise various aspects of technology and human interaction. Forrester predicts that Enterprise AI initiatives will boost productivity and creative problem-solving by 50 per cent in 2024. AI will impact the work of engineers and educators alike, saving…

PM insists NRF money available now, though application process unclear

By Brent Balinski It is the time of year when many of us are reopening, if we aren’t already open for business. Being open for business can have different meanings for different people, as prime minister Anthony Albanese’s description of the National Reconstruction Fund on Monday morning showed. The independent National Reconstruction Fund Corporation is…

Joint Australia-US defence work ramps up

By Peter Roberts Deepening technological involvement between the three AUKUS partner nations is a key aim of the AUKUS pact with joint work between Australia and the United States escalating over summer. Work is underway between the two nations on at least three areas – submarine development, hypersonics and the development of autonomous vehicle systems…

Coal will be all but gone by 2034 under Australia’s latest energy roadmap

By Dylan McConnell, UNSW Sydney Australia’s coal power stations will all close in 2038 – five years earlier than previously expected – and variable renewable energy capacity will need to triple by 2030 and increase sevenfold by 2050. These are two key findings in the latest roadmap for Australia’s largest grid and electricity market, the…

Employment outcomes improve for VET graduates

Two-thirds of students who completed a vocational qualification at certificate I or above had an improved employment outcome post-training, up 2.6 percentage points from the previous year. The report, VET student outcomes 2023, released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows: 50.6 percent of graduates who did not have a job…

Lockheed Martin muscles up local defence

Lockheed Martin Australia’s supply of key defence equipment comes with extensive economic benefits, according to the Lockheed Martin Australia 2022 Economic Impact Report, produced by Deloitte Access Economics. LMA supplies the F-35 Joint Strike fighter, Sikorsky helicopters and Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft among others supports 3,422 jobs nationally, according to DE. Highlights from…

The big Xmas news – the great schnitzel wars of 2023

By Peter Roberts It is that time of the year when things slow down in the news world with this year’s prize so far going to the great schnitzel wars of 2023. The fuss started when a publican – well it had to be a publican – in Adelaide channeled predictions of $100 legs of…

Carbon Revolution wins new wheel contract – but where will they be made

By Peter Roberts Carbon fibre road wheel manufacturer Carbon Revolution‘s birthplace of Geelong, Victoria, or perhaps Mexico will manufacture a new wheel to be produced in a deal announced by the newly minted American-listed Carbon Revolution PLC. The company said it has been awarded a wheel development programme by a premium brand of a major…

Hyped and expensive, hydrogen has a place in Australia’s energy transition, but only with urgent government support

By Alison Reeve, Grattan Institute If you listen to the dreamers, hydrogen is the magical fuel of the future that can replace everything from the petrol in your car to the coal in a steelworks. Hype around hydrogen has been building in Australia since at least 2018. Every government has a hydrogen strategy. Hydrogen has…

What next after a NSW Modern Manufacturing Commissioner – by Julie Harrison

The young New South Wales government perplexed many when it axed the role of Commissioner for Modern Manufacturing. Here manufacturer Julie Harrison asks ‘where are we headed?’, and offers a way forward. The decision of the New South Wales government to axe the role of Commissioner of Modern Manufacturing just weeks ago came as a…

Manufacturers could be hit by wider defence export controls – By Amy McDonnell

Manufacturers could be hit by restrictions on the export of fairly commonplace items that could end up in the hands of Russia, now engaged in a brutal invasion of Ukraine, writes Amy McDonnell. In a world first, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States – collectively referred to as the Export…

Risk, reward, and being brave enough to back yourself

@AuManufacturing’s Australia’s 50 Most Innovative Manufacturers campaign has returned, and will culminate with an awards event at Australian Manufacturing Week 2024. Brent Balinski speaks to Martin Ripple from ANCA CNC Machines and Ian Lowrey from Wireman about an always-important topic. Innovation requires a lot. High up on the list are a conviction that things can…

Back to the future with Industry Growth Program

By Peter Roberts Something old and something new has gone into the recipe for the federal government’s new $392 million Industry Growth Program which was announced yesterday. Ostensibly the programme is a replacement for the Industry Growth Centres (IGCs) which saw the establishment of six industry growth centres, now at, or past the end of…

Can Canberra arrest the flow of manufacturers leaving for the US?

By Brent Balinski The Industry Growth Program, offering grants between $50,000 and $5 million to SME and startup commercialisation projects, started accepting applications on Monday. It will no doubt be useful to a long list of companies. However, the replacement for the Entrepreneurs’ Programme does nothing to address some bigger, more immediate problems.  The mood…

Carbon Revolution to manufacture in Mexico – media report

By Peter Roberts As if it is not enough of a slap in the face for Australian technology companies the fact that carbon fibre wheel maker Carbon Revolution was bought by American investors for a song, the next step according to media reports is to manufacture in Mexico. According to Automotive News, the company born…

The government will underwrite risky investments in renewables – here’s why that’s a good idea

By Tony Wood, Grattan Institute On Thursday Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen announced a scheme to underwrite the risk of investing in new renewable energy generation and storage. The expansion of the national Capacity Investment Scheme follows a successful pilot study with New South Wales. The government paid A$1.8 billion for just over a gigawatt…

Battery talks with Indonesia – ‘It’s value-adding stupid!’

By Peter Roberts The Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic is to visit Jakarta to further cooperation and collaboration with Indonesia on battery technologies and electric vehicles. Husic’s two-day trip is a long overdue ramping up of Australia’s industrial relationship with our close neighbour – one that has often seemed neglected in recent decades…

Wine production hits 15 year low – Wine Australia

Australia’s wine industry recorded the lowest wine production in 15 years in 2022-13, with total sales exceeding wine prodiction, according to new figures from Wine Australia. Total sales of Australian wine were 11 per cent above production in 2022–23 – not enough to substantially reduce pressure on historically high national wine inventory levels Wine Australia’s…

Drone making boosts robotics manufacturing

By Peter Roberts Drone manufacture is part of a surprisingly large cohort of robot manufacturers uncovered in a survey of robotics providers in Australia. The survey identified 466 robot and automation suppliers, and while most were essentially service businesses, the study identified 19 percent were manufacturers of robots, including drones. Of the rest 57 were…

Search for industry partners for Surface Manufacturing CRC – Titomic case study

Researchers led by UniSA and Swinburne University are searching for companies wanting to develop surface processing capabilities in a planned Surface Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre. Here, we explain how Titomic benefitted from collaborative research at Swinburne. Australia boasts one of the world’s largest reserves of titanium, so it follows that incorporating this abundant raw material…

Search for industry partners for Surface Manufacturing CRC – by Atif Majeed

Researchers led by UniSA and Swinburne University of Technology are searching for companies wanting to develop surface processing capabilities in a planned Surface Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre. Here, Atif Majeed explains how SMEs can elevate their technological capabilities and develop competitiveness through involvement in a CRC. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are vital catalysts for…

The banks role in industry assistance – by Damon Cantwell

The advent of the National Reconstruction Fund offers the Federal Government an opportunity to learn from past industry programme mistakes, and make the whole process of industry support more efficient, writes Damon Cantwell. The $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund programme is not offering grants, but a mixture of concessional loans, guarantees and some equity positions.…

Search for CRC industry partners – 7 reasons to join a CRC by Tony Peacock

Researchers led by UniSA are searching for companies interested to develop surface processing capabilities in a planned Surface Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (SMCRC). Here, Tony Peacock explains the seven benefits of the highly successful CRC programme. The Cooperative Research Centres programme is one of Australia’s longest running and most successful R&D schemes. Tens of billions…

Unlocking lunar potential: Australia’s Big Dipper Challenge

Ben Sorensen explains the recently-launched Big Dipper Challenge, and its role as a doorway to the burgeoning space economy and its supply chain. In a bold leap for the Australian manufacturing sector and space exploration, the ELO2 Consortium has launched the Big Dipper Lunar Regolith Acquisition Challenge, a national initiative designed to propel Australia and…

The genuine Spirit of Australia heads towards orbit

The groundbreaking Australian-made Space Industry Responsive Intelligent Thermal (SpIRIT) nanosatellite has arrived in California for launch in November. This article, adapted from one from the Australian Space Agency, details the technology and the companies behind this achievement. SpIRIT is a joint industry mission led by the University of Melbourne and supported by the Australian Space…

Australian Manufacturing Forum passes 14,000 members

@AuManufacturing’s social media discussion and networking group, the Australian Manufacturing Forum on Linkedin, has passed an important membership milestone. The Forum, Australia’s largest professional social media group of Australian manufacturers, jumped past the 14,000 member mark last night with the admission of new members, bringing membership late yesterday to 14,012. New members in past days…

Want to join the ‘no profit, no tax’ club?

By Peter Roberts Tired of hearing that manufacturers are rent seekers asking for handouts from the government? Tired of paying tax? Well, now you don’t need to – in Australia corporate tax is somewhat voluntary depending on who you are. Instead of being in the difficult-to-make-a-buck manufacturing sector perhaps you should think about getting into…

BAE Systems beefs up frigate design, but what then is it?

By Peter Roberts In the face of criticism that Australia is building the wrong type of naval vessel in a time of rising tension, BAE Systems Australia has revealed a more lethal, attack version of the Hunter class frigate it is building in Adelaide. Conceived as a largely anti-submarine vessel, the nine Hunter class frigates…

Carbon Revolution lives on, cupboard bare for Australian investors

By Peter Roberts Shares in carbon fibre road wheel manufacturer Carbon Revolution disappeared from the ASX this week as the company’s shares began trading on the US NASDAQ exchange as Carbon Revolution Inc. The US listing was the culmination of a drawn out fight for survival which will see the company continue to manufacture at…

From oily idea to global force in 25 years

By Peter Roberts Homer called olive oil liquid gold, but to one Australian company its qualities have morphed an idea into an emerging global force in an age old and seemingly unchanging industry in only 25 years. When horticulturalists Rob McGavin and Paul Riordan planted an initial 200 hectares of olives in 1998 it is…

Is nuclear the answer to Australia’s climate crisis?

By Reuben Finighan, The University of Melbourne This article is part of a series by The Conversation, Getting to Zero, examining Australia’s energy transition. In Australia’s race to net zero emissions, nuclear power has surged back into the news. Opposition leader Peter Dutton argues nuclear is “the only feasible and proven technology” for cutting emissions.…

We built a ‘brain’ from tiny silver wires. It learns in real time, more efficiently than computer-based AI

By Zdenka Kuncic, University of Sydney and Ruomin Zhu, University of Sydney The world is infatuated with artificial intelligence (AI), and for good reason. AI systems can process vast quantities of data in a seemingly superhuman way. However, current AI systems rely on computers running complex algorithms based on artificial neural networks. These use huge…

On a wild goose chase to find Australian food brands

Earlier in the week Allen Roberts wrote that Australian owned food products faced extinction in the aisles of Australia’s duopoly supermarkets. Peter Roberts went on the hunt. I am always on the lookout for Australian made and owned products when I go shopping, but even I was not ready for the desert of genuine Australian…

Europe deal fell over as EU was asking too much – minister

By Peter Roberts It is not surprising that talks for a Europe Australia Free Trade deal have fallen over as Australia has little to give up to the EU and Europe has everything to lose from anything resembling free trade. Australia has systematically dismantled industry protection since the 1980s when there were quotas on imports…

Australian FMCG brands facing extinction?- by Allen Roberts

Sara Lee has been billed as the latest Australian food brand to go to the wall – it is actually New Zealand owned. Nevertheless, here Allen Roberts explains why it is next to impossible to find an Australian owned food brand on the shelves of our supermarket duopoly. When I was a boy in this…

Australia’s new dawn: becoming a green superpower with a big role in cutting global emissions

By Rod Sims, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University Australia has three ways it can help reduce world greenhouse emissions, the only reduction that matters in tackling climate change. First, we can remove emissions from our economy. This will reduce global emissions by just 1.3%, but it must be done so we share…

Safety issues are being seen, but not addressed – study

@AuManufacturing rarely reports the plethora of surveys and studies promoted by vendors who have a vested interest in gaining attention for their products. But occasionally we come across a study such as that from global technology company SafetyCulture, that reveals some uncomfortable facts about how workers feel about their workplaces. SafetyCulture is a company which…

Austal’s massive order book in year of more ups than downs

By Peter Roberts The Chairman of Perth international shipbuilder John Rothwell has celebrated a year of massive ups and the occasional down in an upbeat address to the company’s annual general meeting. Rothwell first and foremost celebrated the growth in Austal’s order book to $11.6 billion, if all contract option agreements are exercised. Driven by…

VET spending at record levels – NCVER

State and territory government expenditure on vocational education and training (VET) totalled $10.9 billion in 2022, according to the latest data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). This expenditure was an increase of $0.4 billion or 4.1 percent from 2021. NCVER’s Government funding of VET 2022 report found that the main expenditure…

N-submarines well worth the wait – Kim Beazley

Eminent Australian political leader Kim Beazley has weighed in on the AUKUS submarine debate, writing that the submarines were necessitated by Australia’s strategic position in our region. Beazley, a former Governor of Western Australia, Ambassador to the United States and federal opposition leader, said Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines would be worth the wait, and the cost.…

Pushing water uphill: Snowy 2.0 was a bad idea from the start. Let’s not make the same mistake again

By Bruce Mountain, Victoria University Last night ABC’s Four Corners investigated the problem-plagued Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro power station, focusing on a bogged tunnelling machine, toxic gas and an unexpected volume of sludge. While these specific problems are new, we have criticised this project since 2019 and outlined six key problems even earlier elsewhere. How…

Your Digitisation Journey – webinar recording online now for you to view

@AuManufacturing’s latest online webinar – Your Digitisation Journey – is now available online for you to view via our YouTube channel. Hear how Christopher Janssen, Managing Director at GPC Electronics, harnessed technology to become Australia’s largest electronics manufacturer. Vanessa Katsanevakis, Director of Sussex Taps talks of the sophisticated manufacturing, materials tracking and storage and metal…

ATCO and BOC Linde to build world first hydrogen power station

By Peter Roberts ATCO and global gas giant BOC Linde have been selected by the South Australian government to construct a world-first hydrogen power station at Port Bonython, near the industrial city of Whyalla on Spencer Gulf. BOC Linde was seen by many as the front runner among the 29 companies competing to build the…

Lessons from the global move to decarbonise industry part 2 – by Cori Stewart

Cori Stewart and a group of eminent Australians have just returned from Europe and the Middle East, discussing growing manufacturing in a fast decarbonising world, and accelerating Industry 4.0 adoption. In the second part of a two-part series, she visits Germany and the Middle East. The Australian mission spent several days were spent with Germany’s…

Lessons from the global move to decarbonise industry part 1 – by Cori Stewart

Cori Stewart and a group of eminent Australians have just returned from Europe and the Middle East, discussing growing manufacturing in a fast decarbonising world, and accelerating Industry 4.0 adoption. In the first part of a two-part series, she shares insights into the implications of EU decarbonisation, and the growth of manufacturing hubs in Belgium.…

Apprenctice starts remain above pandemic levels – NCVER

Apprentice and trainee commencements appear to be returning to levels seen before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). The Apprentices and trainees 2023: March quarter report shows that apprentice and trainee commencements increased steeply during the pandemic. While they have declined…

How drone submarines are turning the seabed into a future battlefield

By Adam Bartley, RMIT University and Matthew Warren, RMIT University A 12-tonne fishing boat weighs anchor three kilometres off the port of Adelaide. A small crew huddles over a miniature submarine, activates the controls, primes the explosives, and releases it into the water. The underwater drone uses sensors and sonar to navigate towards its pre-programmed…

Fortescue to buy electrolysers, but where will they be made?

By Peter Roberts Fortescue plans to make a final investment decision in December on its ambitious plans for large scale hydrogen electrolysers to be sited at Incitec Pivot’s Gibson Island plant in Brisbane. The company issued a statement that US supplier Plug Power was preferred supplier for the proposed 550 MW (megawatt) PEM (proton-exchange membrane)…

Why Australia urgently needs a climate plan and a Net Zero National Cabinet Committee to implement it

By Tony Wood, Grattan Institute Australia has a legislated target to reduce greenhouse emissions, a federal government with commitments to increase the share of renewable electricity and reduce power prices, and a globally important economic opportunity at its feet. In the second half of the government’s current term, delivery looks hard across the board. All…

Christopher Pyne’s belated ‘dismay’ at closure of the car industry

Former coalition minister for defence industry Christopher Pyne has revealed his dismay at the closure of the car industry which came after a challenge from then Treasurer Joe Hockey for GM Holden to leave the country. Pyne did not express misgivings publicly at the time, but according to an interview in the website of the…

Economists say ‘yes’ to industry policy (just not in Australia)

By Peter Roberts Australian economists have long been seen by manufacturers as the enemy as, led by those staffing the Productivity Commission, they have vigorously fought against any form of activist industry policy by government. The view is that policing backing even new industry such as green energy technologies, 3D printing or critical metals processing…

Collaborate to prosper

Infection control and dental manufacturer Dentalife has tripled in size over three years and is using collaboration as the catalyst to scaleup even further. Here Brett Henderson profiles the company, and how collaboration in business works. Dentalife is a 25-year-old family business under second generation management that manufactures infection control products and dental materials in…

The New Reinventors: remaking steelmaking with wood waste

In the final part of our The New Reinventors editorial series, we hear from BioCarbon. Brent Balinski speaks to co-founder and Director John Mellowes, whose focus has shifted from agricultural clients to those manufacturing steel.   This website regularly reports on the attempts to reduce the greenhouse gas output of steelmaking, which according to the World…

Made in America: how Biden’s climate package is fuelling the global drive to net zero

By Alan Finkel, The University of Queensland This article is part of a series by The Conversation, Getting to Zero, examining Australia’s energy transition. Just over a year since US President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law, it’s becoming clear this strangely named piece of legislation could have a powerful impact…

Defence industry AUKUS essentials – by Michael Slattery

The UK government has awarded £3.95 billion to BAE Systems to further design and engineer the UK’s and potentially Australia’s next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine, SSN-AUKUS. With critical decisions being made on sourcing Michael Slattery looks at the difficulties faced by Australian industry to have a meaningful role in the programme. The latest AUKUS contract for…

@AuManufacturing readers comment on lack of car industry

On Saturday @AuManufacturing reported that with Saudi Arabia inaugurating its first car factory, Australia is now alone among the G20 in not having it own car industry We said: “An outside observer looking in at Australia might surmise that our recent vision has been to consciously de-industrialise.” Here @AuManufacturing readers and members of our Australian…

Australia alone in G20 not making cars

By Peter Roberts The news from Saudi Arabia is great for the world car industry but marks a new low for Australia’s automotive sector. California electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid Motors has opened the first car manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia, as the country makes good on its promise of making automobiles as well as other…

What causes lithium-ion battery fires? Why are they so intense? And how should they be fought? An expert explains

By Muhammad Rizwan Azhar, Edith Cowan University Picture this: you’re cruising down the Great Ocean Road in your brand new electric vehicle (EV), the ocean to your left and the wind in your hair. But what if I told you this idyllic drive could turn into a nightmare, with the faint smell of something burning?…

A quarter of young have VET qualification – NCVER

By age 22, the highest qualification completed for just over a quarter (26 percent) of young Australians is a vocational qualification, while a further quarter (25 percent) had completed a university degree, according to data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). Generation Z: life at 22 uses results from the Longitudinal Surveys…

New study shows we can create value from food waste by turning it into a highly desirable material – nanocellulose

By Alan Labas, Federation University Australia; Benjamin Matthew Long, Federation University Australia, and Dylan Liu, Federation University Australia Food waste is a global problem with approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted each year throughout the food lifecycle – from the farm to food manufacturers and households. Across the food supply chain, Australians waste around…

Green steel eyes strong market demand for low carbon product

By Peter Roberts News that Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance is pushing ahead with its move towards green steel production at the Whyalla steelworks comes as it is clear that the first mover producers of seriously low carbon products can expect strong market demand for their products. GFG’s Liberty Primary Steel over the weekend extinguished its…

Governments are pouring money into housing but materials, land and labour are still in short supply

By Flavio Macau, Edith Cowan University and Deepa Bannigidadmath, Edith Cowan University As Australia’s housing affordability crisis worsens, governments are spending more on housing. Victoria’s Andrews government has announced a suite of reforms (such as boosting social housing and making planning processes faster) in an effort to get 800,000 extra homes in Victoria over the…

The ABC of making the Melbourne Cup

While ABC Bullion is the official manufacturer of the Melbourne Cup, the making of the cup is a true team effort for precious metals producer Pallion Group and manufacturing silversmiths W.J. Sanders. The manufacturing journey starts with the doré (golden) bars, blocks of semi-pure gold and silver produced at the Newcrest Cadia Mine and then…

Whyalla says goodbye to coal as steelmaking goes green(er)

By Peter Roberts The LIBERTY Primary Steel steelworks at Whyalla in South Australia has unloaded its last-ever consignment of coal as the company continues its transition to green steel production. Owned by GFG Alliance, Liberty set mid September as the closure of its coal-fed coke-making ovens and the transition from a coke-fed blast furnace to…

Another battery metals factory lost offshore, more to come

While Australia talks the big talk about being a critical minerals and battery metals superpower, backed by the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, Australian metals companies continue to be lured overseas by deeper financial markets and more supportive government policies. Element 25 has become the latest to site in the United States where the Biden…

A new export and trade “shop window’ to India

It comes as a surprise to learn that Austrade no longer provides a readily accessible directory of Australia’s manufacturer exporters. Here John Sheridan explains how his new trade showcase is a model for showing Australian capabilities to the world. The Australia – India Export & Trade showcase is a Business to Business (B-to-B) platform designed…

We urgently need $100bn for renewable energy. But call it statecraft, not ‘industry policy’

By Elizabeth Thurbon, UNSW Sydney; Alexander M. Hynd, UNSW Sydney, and Hao Tan, University of Newcastle This week, a diverse group of organisations called on the Australian federal government to establish a A$100 billion, ten-year policy package to turbocharge Australia’s green energy transition. Proposed by groups including the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian Conservation…

AROSE lunar rover to test Australian technology capabilities

The AROSE consortium and the EPE and Lunar Outpost Oceania consortium are each designing early-stage prototypes of a semi-autonomous Moon rover to be transported to the Moon via NASA. In this contributed article, AROSE outlines the challenges and industry opportunities. When Australia’s Trailblazer lunar rover arrives on the Moon, the remotely operated vehicle will confront…

Solar panel technology is set to be turbo-charged – but first, a few big roadblocks have to be cleared

By Bruno Vicari Stefani, CSIRO and Matthew Wright, University of Oxford Solar panel technology has made enormous progress in the last two decades. In fact, the most advanced silicon solar cells produced today are about as good as the technology will get. So what’s next? Enter “tandem solar cells”, the new generation in solar technology.…

Best of the week — the five most popular stories among @AuManufacturing’s readers

What were the five biggest stories of the week? Here’s what visitors to this site were reading. 5) Neo-Bionica launches onshore critical medical manufacturing process Advanced MedTech contract manufacturer Neo-Bionica has revealed the expansion of its manufacturing services with the launch of its new hermitization capability – a first for Australian industry. Hermitization is a critical…

How Cochlear’s manufacturing skills kept it onshore

By Peter Roberts The news that contract manufacturer Neo-Bionica has established Australia’s first facility capability of hermetically sealing implantable medical devices brings to mind the story of how Cochlear’s manufacturing skills in the area kept it from going offshore – and remain a secret of its success. The process of hermitization which Neo-Bionica is now…

Ukraine war: Australian-made cardboard drones used to attack Russian airfield show how innovation is key to modern warfare

By Paul Cureton, Lancaster University Innovative design choices can have a massive impact in the theatre of war, so it is important to understand the principles behind their development. Recent use of low-cost cardboard drones by Ukraine, supplied by Australia, to attack targets in Russia is a good example of how this can work. Australia…

Unsexy but vital: why warnings over grid reliability are really about building more transmission line

By Tony Wood, Grattan Institute “To ensure Australian consumers continue to have access to reliable electricity supplies, it’s critical that planned investments in transmission, generation and storage projects are urgently delivered.” This week, we heard one of the strongest warnings yet from Daniel Westerman, head of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). So far, media…

US military plans to unleash thousands of autonomous war robots over next two years

By Peter Layton, Griffith University The United States military plans to start using thousands of autonomous weapons systems in the next two years in a bid to counter China’s growing power, US Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks announced in a speech on Monday. The so-called Replicator initiative aims to work with defence and other…

Innovate to decarbonise agriculture – by David Heard

Green hydrogen company Hiringa Energy and agricultural and pastoral enterprise Sundown Pastoral Co are creating a world’s first Good Earth Cotton farm which will produce its own renewable ammonia and green hydrogen to decarbonise its operations. Here David Heard explains the implications for agriculture and wider industry. As Australia inches closer to our legislative target…

Renewable power rising sharply – report

Renewable power generation’s share of the National Energy Market is showing a sudden and rapid rise in importance with renewables now playing a bigger role in Australia’s energy mix than ever before. The federal government’s March 2023 Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory showed that renewables accounted for 39 per cent of generation…

Take action now against non-compliant imports – by Neil Clout

Australian markets are being flooded with non-compliant products that threaten both consumers and manufacturers alike. Here Neil Clout argues that weak regulations, rarely enforced are eroding Australia’s industrial and skills base. In the vast landscape of global commerce, the competition is fierce, and the stakes are high. For Australian manufacturers, the challenges are particularly daunting.…

Beyond energy savings: Unleashing the hidden gems of industrial energy efficiency

A S M Monjurul Hasan asks why we hesitate to embrace the immense potential of energy in industrial progress, and explains why lower power prices are just the beginning. In the realm of industrial energy efficiency, the prevailing narrative has long centred on energy savings, and rightfully so. After all, reducing energy consumption is a…

Late in the day, Canberra seeks views on mRNA technologies

By Peter Roberts It seems a long time ago that Australia was in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic and novel mRNA technologies were hot news. Though the technology had been around for decades it was the pandemic which saw the first major vaccines made using the genetic technology approved for public use in 2020,…

The Army can fire weapons autonomously, but should they?

By Peter Roberts The news was inevitable in a way – the Army has confirmed that it has fired a weapon system at a simulated enemy remotely from an autonomous uncrewed vehicle (see here for full details). The confirmation came in a blandly worded post by the Australian Army on social media that included pictures…

Protecting against malware in manufacturing – by Tony Burnside

Malware in manufacturing is a bigger problem than many would assume. Here Tony Burnside looks at how cyber criminals leverage the cloud to mount their attacks, and what can be done to protect manufacturing organisations. Most of the headlines around cybercrime and data loss in Australia in recent months – and there have been plenty…

No, we are not going to see a historic revival of manufacturing under Albanese

By Peter Roberts It is becoming clear that the Albanese Government is not the panacea many had hoped to see leading to a reversal of the downward slide in the fortunes of Australian manufacturing. While the government is way ahead of its coalition predecessor in tackling the key issues holding back manufacturing – it is…

Defence industry central to national security – by Ben Hudson

BAE Systems Australia turned 70 this month, making it one of Australia’s oldest, largest and fastest growing defence manufacturers. Here Ben Hudson reflects on the contribution of the defence sector in Australia to national security and prosperity. All too often I believe we have made a point of focusing on major programme challenges, without reflecting…

Spotlight on scaleups: built to scale

On Monday we published part one of this article, concerning what a scaleup company is and why they matter. Today we conclude by looking at what they need. By Brent Balinski. There are 25,000 tonnes of wet wipes thrown out by Australians every year, all made of polyester or polypropylene and therefore non-biodegradable, and almost…

Waiting for China, winemakers last cab off the rank

There is something particularly cruel for Australian manufacturing in China’s continuing targeting of wine exports as part of its – failed – attempt to force Australia to toe a more Beijing friendly policy line. With China’s recent move to remove crippling trade sanctions on Australian barley holding up hopes for wine, nothing is sure and…

The intersection of AI and simulation in the automotive industry

ADVERTISING FEATURE By Stéphane Marouani The automotive field has historically been a rich area of innovation, with increasing vehicle complexity and tight production schedules requiring the adoption of new tools and techniques to build a differentiated product. More recently, automotive engineers are faced with new obstacles as they are tasked with integrating AI into vehicle…

National manufacturing policy for net zero transition – by Geoff Crittenden

Following last week’s 2023 National Manufacturing Summit in Canberra, Weld Australia has issued a call for transformative national policy that delivers secure supply chains and a diverse renewables and clean energy economy, sustained by the manufacturing industry. Here Geoff Crittenden writes that Australia must take inspiration from the United States, and their Inflation Reduction Act…

Forget coal power, Queensland burnishes green energy credentials

By Peter Roberts Queensland, a state only a few years seemingly totally committed to coal fired electricity generation as well as fossil fuel export, is putting on a greener front as investments in green energy reap quick results. According to the government the state is halfway to achieving its 2030 renewable energy target with a…

Controversial ‘forever chemicals’ could be phased out in Australia under new restrictions. Here’s what you need to know

By Sarah Wilson, University of Technology Sydney and Rachael Wakefield-Rann, University of Technology Sydney There’s growing global concern about potential risks to human health and the environment from a group of industrial chemicals commonly known as PFAS, or “forever chemicals”. While the full extent of harm from PFAS is still emerging, the fact these chemicals…

Funding for manufacturing growth, the missing element – Trent Bagnall

We know that increasing manufacturing production in Australia would bolster employment and GDP growth. But as Trent Bagnall argues, this won’t change when most venture and development funding is directed to areas other than hardware. Historically, Australia’s manufacturing sector has struggled to secure key funding necessary for growth. This is despite many of our core…

ResMed – from unwanted idea, to Peter Farrell’s great legacy

By Peter Roberts It was back in the 1980s in Sydney that I met an obscure professor of biomedical engineering from the University of New South Wales, Peter Farrell (pictured). He had most recently headed the Baxter Center for Medical Research in Australia and even then you could tell he was destined for something big…

Spotlight on scaleups: why more manufacturers need to grow up

In the first part of a two-part series we consider the importance of scaleup manufacturers. Brent Balinski spoke to some fast-growing manufacturers and other experts about the subject. Adam Gilmour describes himself and his team as “super-busy” assembling an orbital launch vehicle and launch site when asked. Gilmour Space Technologies has been focussed on rockets…

Renewables set to overtake coal in 2024 – report

By Peter Roberts The news has been full of worrying stories of late that the climate might be at that dreaded tipping point where runaway climate dislocation is really going to start affecting us in our everyday life – including the ability to carry on business as normal. From Australia’s terrible bushfires only a few…

Competitive for SMEs to go solar plus batteries – Energy renaissance

Australian battery manufacturer Energy Renaissance believes Australia is now at a point where it’s equally cost-effective for SME businesses to harness the power of the sun and store it in batteries as it is to tap into the grid. Based on the default market offers (DMO) recently announced by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), this…

Industry contracts further in July – AiGroup

The manufacturing sector has continued its trend towards contraction in July, with the Ai Group Australian Industry Index losing 2.8 points to -14.7 points – the broad gauge of industry conditions has been negative for the past fifteen months. Meanwhile the Australian PMI indicator which focuses more closely on manufacturers fell to -25.6, indicating contractionary…

Here’s how wastewater facilities could tackle food waste, generate energy and slash emissions

By Melita Jazbec, University of Technology Sydney; Andrea Turner, University of Technology Sydney, and Ben Madden, University of Technology Sydney Most Australian food waste ends up in landfill. Rotting in the absence of oxygen produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. While some facilities capture this “landfill gas” to produce energy, or burn it off to…

The world stills sees Australia as only a source of resources – by Jeffrey Lang

The latest Harvard Kennedy School Economic Complexity Index (ECI) rating has seen Australia’s ranking plummet to 93rd, placing us between Uganda and Pakistan in the bottom third of monitored nations for economic complexity. Here Jeffrey Lang points to the root of the nation’s industrial problems. The problem is Australia’s sovereign capabilities is centric to still…

All pain and no gain in Victoria’s gas ban – by Jon Seeley

Gas manufacturers have reacted strongly against moves by Victoria to ban new gas connections. Here Jon Seeley, whose company manufactures the Braemar range of gas appliances and Seeley air coolers, attacks the decision for driving up emissions. The Victorian Government’s foolish and short-sighted ban on gas in new homes will only push emissions higher and…

Australia’s lack of economic complexity on display – again

Australia’s overreliance on exporting largely undifferentiated commodities has been laid bare in data released by the Harvard Kennedy School which shows that the country’s Economic Complexity Index (ECI) rating has plummeted to 93rd, down 12 positions in the past ten years. The Harvard Index systematically ranks 133 countries by their ability to manufacture and export…

The ethical issues of AI – by Patrice Caine

Will artificial intelligence replace human beings? Could it turn against its creators? Does it represent a danger for the human race? By Patrice Caine. These are just some of the questions that have been stirring up public debate and the media since the mass deployment of generative AI tools and the sensationalist statements of a…

Chris Barrett has a formidable job ahead as the new Productivity Commission chief

By Roy Green, University of Technology Sydney This week’s appointment of Wayne Swan’s former chief of staff Chris Barrett to head the Productivity Commission puts the annual Trade and Assistance Review it released this month under a more searching spotlight than usual. Remarkably, the Commission used the review to target one of the key policies…

Productivity Commission fails as others forge ahead – by Tim Buckley

In recent days @AuManufacturing readers have critiqued federal governments efforts to ‘reform the Productivity Commission (see below). Here in our final part of a series, Tim Buckley argues Australia cannot afford more of the same from the PC, which continued to misread profound societal and economic change underway globally. Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ announcement yesterday of…

How can we refrom the PC when we can no longer even track productivity – by John Sheridan

The federal treasurer Jim Chalmers has given the new chair of the Productivity Commission Chris Barrett an impossible job, argues John Sheridan. If we can no longer measure productivity in a digital age – and we can’t – how can any amount of reform of the PC help boost national productivity? Workplace productivity comparisons mean…

Australia faces massive renewables challenge and opportunity – Robert Sobyra

The scale of the renewables boom facing Australia is becoming clearer, with the task emerging as a vast one which carries with it vast opportunities. According to the Head of Policy with the Australian Constructors Association Robert Sobyra: “The renewables boom has just begun. “The 12 months to March 2023 saw a record $20 billion…

Building houses in factories for the Commonwealth Games was meant to help the housing crisis. What now?

By Louise Dorignon, RMIT University and Trivess Moore, RMIT University Huge sporting events come with substantial public investment in housing. After Melbourne hosted the 1956 Olympics, about 600 houses in the athlete village became public housing in West Heidelberg. After Melbourne hosted the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the athlete village in Parkville was largely sold off,…

Treasurer opts for tinkering with mostly ignored Productivity Commission

By Peter Roberts The Treasurer Jim Chalmers has opted for gradualist reform of the much criticised Productivity Commission, appointing a former Labor Party staffer to be the commission’s new chair. Chalmers appointed Chris Barrett (pictured) as the new Chair and said ‘to build a stronger economy, we need to build stronger economic institutions – and…

Making the most of Australia’s space frontiers – By Andrew Mannix

The local space sector was shocked when the federal government cancelled the National Space Mission for Earth Observation (NSMEO). However, industry understands the government’s pivot, and still has a critical role to play in lessening Australia’s dependency on foreign countries for our space services, writes Andrew Mannix. Space underpins our technologically advanced way of life.…

The importance of space technology in Australia

The federal government recently cancelled a number of key space initiatives, including funding for the Access to Space and National Space Mission for Earth Observation programs. Rather than assess the merit of these decisions, I’d rather emphasise the importance of space to our country. By Adam Gilmour. You’ve probably heard this before… but space technology…

Blackmores – the latest to fall to foreign takeover

By Peter Roberts Sydney vitamin manufacturer Blackmores has fallen victim to foreign takeover and will be removed from listing on the ASX. Japanese company Kirin Holdings, best known as a beer and beverage group, is to buy the company in a takeover valuing the business at $1.8 billion. The friendly takeover by the member of…

Governments back in the venture capital game – beware what you wish for

By Peter Roberts It seems state governments are back in the venture capital game, and brazenly so. Provision of venture capital with its inherent risks and risky lending by state banks was on the nose only recently with the collapses of government ventures ranging from the Victorian Economic Development Corporation to the South Australian State…

How much longer must we put up with the PC – by Roy Green

This week’s report from the Productivity Commission targeted Australia’s energy policies as a form of industry assistance – anathema to the dry economic policy group. Here, Roy Green finds the Commission out of touch with Australia’s needs. This is another tiresomely predictable and formulaic report from the Productivity Commission. Ironically it takes issue with the…

In the strain game

MicroBioGen is breeding world-renowned microorganisms, and believes these could be useful in everything from baking better bread to deep space travel. Brent Balinski visited the company’s lab and heard about how baker’s yeast is ancient and ubiquitous, yet remains full of untapped potential. Based in Northern Sydney’s Macquarie Park is a company dedicated to extending…

The Productivity Commission’s new target – green industries ‘assistance’

By Peter Roberts That old industrial relic the Productivity Commission has released its latest Trade and Assistance Review, 2021-22 (TAR), and you have to hand it to them, they are really on the ball. Having spent past decades searching out the evil of tariffs and non tariff trade barriers, they have now woken up to…

Study to develop a solar PV supply chain underway

The Australian PV (photo voltaic) Institute (APVI) will examine opportunities in Australia for the development of elements of solar PV supply chains. The APVI, a non for profit member body that provides data analysis and collaborative research, has already conducted a market assessment report which expressed concern about Australia’s reliance on China for solar PV…

Bowen to develop decarbonisation plans, but still no industry plan

By Peter Roberts The Minister for Climate Change and Energy has celebrated a year of achievement on tacking climate change, lambasted the climate ‘fantasy’ of the former Morrison government and outlined his next task – the creation of sector specific decarbonisation plans. In a major speech to the Clean Energy Council Bowen said he would…

Not nuclear, but wind and solar still cheapest – CSIRO

By Peter Roberts There is a huge amount of hype around new energy sources to replace fossil fuels and none more so than the phenomenon of small modular nuclear reactors (SMR). But the hype remains just that according to the latest GenCost 2022–23 study released today by CSIRO and Australian Energy Market Operator. While SMRs…

Vulcan profits down on integration costs, market slowdown

Australia and New Zealand metals distributor and processor Vulcan Steel has further pared back its full year earnings forecast following higher than expected costs for the integration of the Ullrich aluminium businesses. The Australian and NZ listed company said EBITDA for the 12 months to June 2023 would be between NZ$205 to $209 million, down…

Queensland announces progress on two of 50 planned hydrogen projects

By Peter Roberts The Queensland government has celebrated further progress on two of what the state says are two of more than 50 green hydrogen projects currently underway across the state. The progress in Queensland, and other states, confirms that exports of green hydrogen and ammonia promise a new commodities boon, though this time of…

AUKUS is supposed to allow for robust technology sharing. The US will need to change its onerous laws first

By Lauren Sanders, The University of Queensland The AUKUS partnership between Australia, the US and the UK isn’t just about nuclear-propelled submarines. It also includes an information exchange agreement related to a number of new advanced technologies. These include cyber capabilities, electronic warfare, quantum technology, hypersonics, artificial intelligence and autonomous military capabilities. Although the partners…

Fungi could be the next frontier in fire safety

By Tien Huynh, RMIT University; Everson Kandare, RMIT University, and Nattanan Chulikavit, RMIT University Australia is no stranger to fire-related disasters. The country experiences more than 17,000 residential fires each year. Each winter brings an increase in potential fire hazards due to the use of heaters and candles. Couple this with our already fire-prone vegetation,…

Whyalla steelworks continues transition away from coal

Liberty Primary Steel (LPS) the operator of the Whyalla blast furnace has announced another step in its journey to lower emissions from its primary steel making operation in South Australia. The company, owned by Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, has started post-coke oven operational trials at the steelworks as the transition to low carbon steelmaking continues.…

No, we shouldn’t go backwards and build more air warfare destroyers

By Peter Roberts One of the most recurring themes in defence media nowadays is that Australia should build more Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyers (picture). Hardly a week goes by without a story appearing somewhere of Spanish shipbuilder Navantia who designed the ships ‘ramping up their campaign’ to build more of the vessels to add…

EOS lines up cash and credit to fund growth

By Peter Roberts Defence, space and communications manufacturer Electro Optic Systems has beefed up its finances achieving a net cash balance of $42.2 million as at June 30 as it expands to cater for a raft of major new orders. On 30 June the Canberra company received a $17.2 million tax refund from the federal…

Increasing cloud, but clear skies for manufacturers – by Warren Zietsman

Australian manufacturing has the opportunity to restructure, grow and prosper if it can harness the power of data to power up operations. Utilising the cloud opens the way for increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved productivity, writes Warren Zietsman. The year is 1948. Australia is three years into its post-great war recovery, and a local…

Composites – surviving the Titanic pressures of the oceans depths

Australians were rightly aghast when the titanium and composites underwater vehicle Titan failed during an inspection tour of the wreck of the Titanic. This story on the voyage to the bottom of the deepest part of the oceans by film maker James Cameron, first published in June 2012, illustrates the efforts that go to making…

Collaboration and quiet achievement the threads running through innovative companies

@AuManufacturing concluded its Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers campaign this week with an event at the Clayton Hotel on Tuesday. Below is the introductory speech, reflecting on what came out of our four-month effort.  I thank everyone in this room for coming out to this breakfast event, to meet with your peers, and to celebrate…

@AuManufacturing’s Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers – what we learned

When @AuManufacturing and the Australian Manufacturing Forum embarked on a quest to identify and celebrate Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers, we weren’t sure what we would find. Well, we have been overwhelmed with nominations from many companies we report on regularly, and from many we had only ever heard about but had never heard from…

Skills ministers are apparently just getting on with the job

By Peter Roberts Federal, State and Territory Skills and Training Ministers met on Friday to progress key reforms to vocational education and training (VET) and the development of a new National Skills Agreement (NSA). Afterwards they put out their usual post-meeting statement listing what was discussed – a long, rather dry but worthy communique has…

Heard around the weld

Our profiles of nominees for @AuManufacturing’s Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers campaign continue with Open Welding. Brent Balinski speaks to founder and Technical Director Malcolm Rigby. He doesn’t use the word “Eureka moment”, but Malcolm Rigby had one of those a few years ago during a phone call about a shielding gas mixture. Rigby was…

Board for rail manufacture policy has no manufacturers

The federal government has moved on its promise to rebuild Australian rail manufacturing and make more rail rolling stock in Australia – however it appears to have forgotten to include any actual rail manufacturers in their plans. Today the Assistant Manufacturing Minister Tim Ayres announced the appointment of Ms Jacqui Walters (pictured) to the role…

Japan hydrogen push bodes well for Australia

By Peter Roberts Australia’s hopes of becoming a green hydrogen and ammonia force are a matter of production push and customer pull – will we get our act together and invest the billions needed to produce green fuels and will there be customers be willing to buy the resultant outputs? The former is a bit…

Ford slashes engineers as automotive sector continues its decline

By Peter Roberts When Ford Australia stopped making cars in Australia in 2016 it retained a significant workforce including perhaps 1,000 engineers involved in engineering and designing new vehicles. Their skills with technologies such as finite element analysis for analysing designs and their design flair was said at the time to ensure the continued life…

CEFC gets $20.5 billion in new capital from federal government

By Peter Roberts The Clean Energy Finance Corporation – which styles itself as Australia’s green bank – is to receive $20.5 billion in new capital from the federal government to accelerate progress towards net zero emissions by 2050. This acknowledgement of the success of the CEFC model comes as the corporation survived efforts to abolish…

Critical minerals strategy will achieve only limited local value-adding

By Peter Roberts Australia’s new Critical Minerals Strategy aims to increase the value added onshore to Australia’s vast mineral resources, rather than simply exporting undifferentiated mineral commodities. However it stops short of being the comprehensive policy we need to develop value-added industries. The strategy sets out a vision to grow our critical minerals wealth, create…

Western Australia moves towards green steel production

Western Australia has joined South Australia in ambitions to create a green steel manufacturing capability, with the release of a new report by the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA). The Western Australia’s Green Steel Opportunity report maps five ways WA iron ore can be used to reduce emissions from steelmaking: Green iron ore…

Australia must enlist industry to deter conflict – Rob Nioa

Munitions manufacturer NIOA Group CEO Rob Nioa has attacked Australia’s continuing reliance on importing foreign weapons systems and called on the country to mobilise its industrial base to deter potential threats. The head of Australia’s biggest privately-owned supplier of munitions to the ADF said the consequences of outsourcing military production could be dire against a…

Picking winners – yes we do this now in Australia, thankfully

By Peter Roberts I have just been reminded by a former colleague of the bad old days when policy, any policy, favouring manufacturing was seen as protectionism and picking winners. Those times lasted for decades, with the Productivity Commission and the Coalition weaponising the words against manufacturers. My former colleague asked: what government policy is…

No more business as usual, transform yourself – CEDA report

Businesses must get better at transforming themselves to seize new opportunities rather than focussing on business as usual, according to a new survey by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA). The report – Dynamic capabilities: How Australian firms can survive and thrive in uncertain times – reveals the results of the first broad…

Australia really is the land of green steel opportunity – study

Australia really is a land of opportunity for the development of a massive green steel industry powered by renewables and green hydrogen production according to a new study just published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. According to Geoscience Australia: “This exciting release, a collaborative effort with our research colleagues Monash University shows how…

The high speed rail you get, when you have no high speed rail

By Peter Roberts Infrastructure minister Catherine King has announced the appointments to the Board of the High Speed Rail Authority after a ‘merit-based process. According to a statement: “This process has resulted in a Board comprising the appropriate skills, qualifications, knowledge and experience to best bring high-speed rail to reality.” While the new board is…

Coal’s hidden treasures: unearthing the potential of chemical extraction

Coal’s future as a source of electricity isn’t what it used to be, writes Jan Kwak, but the material could be a rich source of industrial chemicals. In this article he considers the challenges and opportunities involved. Australia, renowned for its abundant coal reserves, has long been a major player in the global mining industry.…

Nothing going on here – Austal shares surge

By Peter Roberts Perth international shipbuilder Austal has hosed down speculation that it could be involved in merger and acquisition activity or subject to takeover interest following a run on its shares. The Perth company’s shares closed on the ASX last night at $2.21, having risen steadily from $1.60 in mid-May, a rise of more…

Is Hills about to hoist a white flag?

The Australian manufacturing landscape is littered with the remnants of once-great manufacturers that abandoned local manufacturing and took to importing. To finance types no doubt this offshoring path seemed like a good idea at the time, but in practice these companies have mostly gradually faded from view. One such manufacturing icon – and here icon…

Australia a no-show among world’s most innovative countries

Since 2000, global investment in research and development (R&D) has tripled to $2.4 trillion and, as Australia’s innovation effort has faltered, the top countries just keep on going further and further ahead. The infographic, from Visual Capitalist, ranks the world’s most innovative economies using data from the UN’s WIPO Global Innovation Index. What Defines an…

Senator Fawcett grills bureaucrats and governments on defence procurement

By Peter Roberts Occasionally a Senator provides a powerful demonstration of the value of Senate Estimates hearings to lay bare the inconsistencies and contradictions that prevent governments from achieving their aims. Last week we witnessed just such a seminal performance by South Australian Liberal Senator David Fawcett who calmly and methodically uncovered the gulf between…

Bosch to close Australian diode manufacturing

Robert Bosch Australia is to close its Clayton, Melbourne factory manufacturing diodes – closing one of the few large scale semiconductor manufacturing operations in the country. The Melbourne facility is the sole Automotive Diode factory for the Bosch group, supplying up to 60 million diodes annually. Bosch itself hasn’t been a customer for the Australian…

Maria Skyllas-Kazacos – an innovator we should all know better

By Peter Roberts Emeritus Professor Maria Skyllas-Kazacos (pictured) is a name few know, but we all should, as she is one of the most brilliant and somehow unappreciated innovators this country has ever produced. Ms Skyllas-Kazacos’s name re-emerged this morning with an announcement that she had joined a Technical Advisory Group of critical mineral processing…

Apprentices and trainees disrupted during Covid – NCVER

A review study looking back at the effects of Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns and restrictions on the VET sector has reaffirmed the particularly negative effects of the pandemic on apprentices and trainees. The study, the Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on VET by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), showed more than one in…

3 little-known reasons why plastic recycling could actually make things worse

By Pascal Scherrer, Southern Cross University This week in Paris, negotiators from around the world are convening for a United Nations meeting. They will tackle a thorny problem: finding a globally binding solution for plastic pollution. Of the staggering 460 million tonnes of plastic used globally in 2019 alone, much is used only once and…

Infrabuild to the rescue as loan bolsters GFG Alliance

UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has again relied on his successful Australian steel businesses to bolster his GFG Alliance group’s finances, with steel manufacturer and distributor Infrabuild confirming a new secured loan. InfraBuild closed a $537 million (USD350 million) Senior Secured Asset-Backed Term Loan led by funds and accounts managed by BlackRock and Silver Point Finance.…

Nominations flood in for Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers campaign

As readers of this website will know, nominations closed on Friday for @AuManufacturing’s very first Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers campaign.  How was the response, you ask? Let us say that we are stunned. Shocked. Unable to stop smiling. Being the first time we have run this campaign, we were of course unsure of what…

Forget exporting hydrogen, make green iron and steel – Sanjeev Gupta

The Executive Chairman of steelmaker GFG Alliance Sanjeev Gupta has urged Australia to forgo the export of green hydrogen in favour of making green iron and steel onshore. The owner of the Whyalla steelworks and distributor Infrabuild told the Australian Hydrogen Conference in Brisbane that Australia had a generational opportunity to lead the global race…

Celebrating Australian Made – furniture and focus

In today’s installment of Celebrating Australian Made – our two-week editorial series sponsored by Australian Made – we catch up with Sebel, which has manufactured a place to sit for countless people. Brent Balinski speaks to Shane Fellowes. In 1974, the world’s first monobloc plastic moulded chair, Sebel’s Integra, went into production. Engineer Harry Sebel…

Canberra updates list of critical technologies…and?

By Peter Roberts Following a period of public consultation the federal government has updated the List of Critical Technologies that it believes will help secure Australia’s future. The updated list differs from that previously announced by the coalition, though in most cases one suspects that they cover the same ground, with only a different upfront…

Produce rare earth metals, don’t just export ore – Iluka Resources MD

The head of the company developing Australia’s first rare earths metals refinery has urged companies to produce high value rare earth metals locally rather than exporting ores overseas. Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Iluka Resources Tom O’Leary told the company’s annual general meeting that the key Australian rare earth resources – neodymium, praseodymium,…

Unsafe plastics invading the human food chain – CSIRO

Micro and nanoplastics are pervasive in our food supply and may be affecting food safety and security on a global scale, according to a new study led by science agency CSIRO. The study is one of the first to analyse the academic literature on microplastics from a food safety and food security risk viewpoint, building…

Celebrating Australian Made — bespoke wool products specialist is a no-sew

To close out the first week of Celebrating Australian Made, our editorial series sponsored by the Australian Made Campaign Limited, we consider Kilmaille Knits. Brent Balinski speaks to founder Sue McClure. Sue and Malcolm McClure are fifth-generation wool growers, with mothers and grandmothers who were passionate knitters. “Synthetics sort of came in during my childhood,”…

Celebrating Australian Made – towards green Australian supply chains by John Noonan

Today in our editorial series Celebrating Australian Made, coinciding with Australian Made Week, we look at how steel producers are moving to embrace green steel production technologies which will flow through to the entire steel value chain, including numerous Australian Made licensees. By John Noonan Europe introduces a carbon border tax in 2026, but will…

There’s a buzz about ‘sustainable’ fuels – but they cannot solve aviation’s colossal climate woes

By Susanne Becken, Griffith University; Brendan Mackey, Griffith University, and David Simon Lee, Manchester Metropolitan University The global airline industry is fast recovering from the unprecedented pause to flying imposed by COVID-19. In some parts of the world, such as the Middle East, airlines are even expanding rapidly – well beyond pre-pandemic levels. But how…

Manufacturing looks to efficiency, productivity and sustainability – Comm Bank

Australian manufacturers expect to increase production volumes in the next 12 months, supported by higher capital expenditure and investment in technology, a new CommBank report shows. The new 2023 CommBank Manufacturing Insights Report reveals that 72 per cent of manufacturers in Australia expect to increase production levels in the next 12 months, while the same…

Welcome to the new look @AuManufacturing website

You may have noticed changes being rolled out on the look and feel of @AuManufacturing. Welcome to our new look – our first refresh of the look of the news website of the Australian Manufacturing Forum Linkedin discussion and networking group since our founding five years ago. The home page is most changed, with a…

Celebrating Australian Made — Lemon Myrtle Fragrances

In the third day of our sponsored editorial series Celebrating Australian Made, coinciding with Australian Made Week, we look at a company making use of an iconically Australian plant. Brent Balinski speaks to Kerry de Pagter from Lemon Myrtle Fragrances. Not every family wants or is able to operate a business together. But for the…

Celebrating Australian Made – the vision splendid

For the first company profiled for Celebrating Australian Made – @AuManufacturing’s new series sponsored by Australian Made – we look at Dresden Vision. By Brent Balinski. Henry Ford is supposed to have told a meeting of his salespeople that, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it…

Australia has a National Quantum Strategy. What does that mean?

By Jarryd Daymond, University of Sydney Imagine a world where computers can solve complex problems in seconds, making our current devices seem like mere typewriters. These supercomputers would revolutionise industries, create new medicines, and even help combat climate change. Imagine as well we could observe the workings of our own bodies in unprecedented detail, and…

Industry and technology reacts to the budget 2023

Companies, industry groups and experts comment on last night’s Budget 2023 – this is what they said. Green technology developer Fortescue Future Industries welcomed the budget’s Hydrogen Headstart announcement which ‘demonstrates how seriously the government is taking the green hydrogen industry’ and its critical role in Australia’s future. FFI said in a statement: “This is…

Lessons from Australia’s most innovative manufacturers

On the opening day of Australian Manufacturing Week, @AuManufacturing and the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre held a special event: Lessons from Australia’s most innovative manufacturers. Below is the introduction speech from the event, covering some of what we’ve learned so far from @AuManufacturing’s ongoing search to identify and celebrate Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers. By…

Industry Growth Program ‘modest but well considered’ – by Roy Green

Budget 2023 provided $392 million for an Industry Growth Program to maximise the return on taxpayers’ investments and provide a clearer pathway for entrepreneurs to develop businesses for later consideration by the government’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund. By Roy Green. The new Industry Growth Program is a modest but well considered recognition of the…

Industry Growth Program features in budget news not previously leaked

By Peter Roberts Much of the federal government’s 2023 budget has been leaked in advance, but Treasurer Jim Chalmers held back a few morsels including good news for the Industry Growth Centres in his official budget speech delivered in Canberra tonight. In a budget the government characterised as prudent – it predicts a rare surplus…

McDowell’s move to top naval job bodes well for SMEs

A vigorous campaigner for truly sovereign, Australian defence SMEs, Nova Systems Chief Executive Officer Jim McDowell, is to leave his job for a new role with the Department of Defence that will help shape the future of industry. McDowell will leave the largely consulting services company to take up the appointment of Deputy Secretary Naval…

Reframing the construction waste issue

For the latest nominee profile in our Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers campaign, we look at XFrame, a New Zealand-born company with a Meccano-like approach to construction. Brent Balinski spoke to the company’s CFO Simon McKean about building industry circularity. The amount of material used and created by the construction and demolition sector is huge:…

Hopes for the federal budget to revive Australia’s manufacturing sector

The government should prioritise building sovereign capability, argues Martin Ripple ahead of Tuesday night’s federal budget. As we are awaiting the budget announcement, it is crucial that the federal government addresses the issue of sovereign capability in the country’s manufacturing industry. Australia has the highest dependency on manufactured imports and the lowest level of manufacturing…

Defence partnering for success — mend now, make later

Our sponsored series reporting on BAE Systems Australia’s Partnering for success defence industry supplier event continues with a look at additive manufacturer Titomic’s work in defence. Brent Balinski speaks to the company’s Dominic Parsonson about the potential in lightweighting and supply chain optimisation. Titomic’s story will be well known to many of this website’s readers,…

Kingsley Hall replaces Peter Rowland as CEO of Micro-X

By Peter Roberts Cold cathode X-ray machine manufacturer Micro-X has announced the appointment of Kingsley Hall (main picture) as Chief Executive Officer following the retirement of company founder Peter Rowland (pictured, below). Hall’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer comes at a time when the company has identified the need for a shift of emphasis from…

Hitting the bricks

In the latest interview with a nominee for our Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers list, we learn about MGA Thermal. Brent Balinski spoke to Chief Commercial Officer Mark Croudace about the importance of novelty.  MGA Thermal, one of the high-profile startups in Newcastle’s attempt to reposition itself in the energy transition era, is in the…

Defence partnering for success – by Professor John Spoehr

Today @AuManufacturing continues our sponsored series reporting BAE Systems Australia’s Partnering for success defence industry supplier event we look at burgeoning partnerships in naval ship construction. By Professor John Spoehr. In much of life, success is the sum of a lot of parts. This is inherently true in the defence sphere. Australia is embarking on…

Government nationalises defence tech firm CEA Technologies

By Peter Roberts The federal government has entered into an agreement to buy defence radar systems manufacturer, CEA Technologies, ultimately creating a new Government Business Enterprise (GBE). CEA’s sophisticated radars are standard on board Royal Australian Navy vessels and are currently being retrofitted to Australia’s ANZAC class frigates in a major upgrade by BAE Systems…

Defence partnering for success – Riding the AUKUS wave, part 2 By Sarah Pavillard

Yesterday in Part 1 of this two-part analysis, Sarah Pavillard outlined the policy needed to support SMEs into AUKUS supply chains. Today, as we continue our sponsored series reporting BAE Systems Australia’s Partnering for success defence industry supplier event, she argues that industry needs to come to the party too. The AUKUS agreement is a…

Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt’s big ideas for how Australia funds and uses research

By Brian Schmidt, Australian National University This article is part of our series on big ideas for the Universities Accord. The federal government is calling for ideas to “reshape and reimagine higher education, and set it up for the next decade and beyond”. A review team is due to finish a draft report in June…

Defence industry partnering for success – series launch

@AuManufacturing today launches a sponsored series reporting on BAE Systems Australia’s Partnering for success defence industry supplier event which kicks off in Adelaide next week. In this launch article, Peter Roberts explores the relationship between defence contractors and local industry. With the release of the federal government’s Defence Strategic Review we now have a clearer…

The navy is the future of defence, but rough seas predicted

By Peter Roberts The navy emerged from the Defence Strategic Review released on Monday as the future of Australia’s defence posture, but there are warnings that some programmes might be cut in favour of others, and that a big shakeup is in the wind for naval shipbuilding in Western Australia. One thing the review did…

The fibre of innovation running through a drone business

Today we present the eighth profile from our ongoing campaign to identify Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers. Brent Balinski speaks to Dario Valenza from Carbonix, who shares an approach applied at every place the company works to innovate. Adapting his expertise in carbon fibre composite boat-building to uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) about a…

Australia finally has an electric vehicle strategy. How does it stack up?

By Hussein Dia, Swinburne University of Technology Australia’s first National Electric Vehicle Strategy, released on Wednesday, details the government’s long-awaited plans to accelerate the adoption of these vehicles. Consultations on the strategy began last September. The climate change and energy minister, Chris Bowen, then promised the strategy would make Australia a globally competitive market for…

Our search for Australia’s most innovative companies – how PPK went from mining to cutting edge manufacturing

@AuManufacturing is searching for Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers, and today we feature our latest nominee for recognition, technology investment powerhouse PPK Group. Here, Peter Roberts interviews co-founder and Executive Chairman, Robin Levison. Robin Levison is an unlikely entrepreneur focussing on commercialising university research in the advanced manufacturing of totally new materials. His background is…

If you buy it, why can’t you fix it? Here’s why we still don’t have the ‘right to repair’

By Leanne Wiseman, Griffith University and John Gertsakis, University of Technology Sydney When you buy a product, you expect to be able to repair it. The problem is, many modern products are designed so that you can’t fix them. Vital parts are inaccessible. Or you have to go through the manufacturer, which may well just…

New map of the Australian Innovation Ecosystem released

Innovation and entrepreneurship researcher Chad Renando has released an updated map of the Australian Innovation Ecosystem which shows the location and role of over 3,450 active in the sector in 3,744 locations around the country. Renando, the Managing Director of Global Entrepreneurship Network Australia, has updated the interface which allows people to zoom into the…

Beverage companies ditch their opposition and support container deposit scheme

By Peter Roberts Leading beverage manufacturers have now put their past, vigorous opposition to container deposit schemes behind them and have strongly backed the new CDS Vic scheme announced by the state government last week. Lion, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners and Asahi Beverages, all members of not for profit group VicReturn which has been appointed as…

Bends, barbs and beyond

For the sixth profile of a nominee for our Australia’s 50 Most Innovative Manufacturers list, we learn about Wireman. Brent Balinski speaks to co-founder Ian Lowrey about how the fencing products company decides on the right problem. Five-year-old business Wireman has a simple mission. It gives its value proposition as: “Tools and equipment that make…

Farewell Liddell: what to expect when Australia’s oldest coal plant closes

By Joel Gilmore, Griffith University and Tim Nelson, Griffith University After more than five decades, the last operating units of the Liddell coal-fired power station will close this month. The station’s owner, AGL, is Australia’s largest carbon polluter. Liddell’s closure will reduce the company’s emissions by 17%. Liddell, in the New South Wales Hunter Valley,…

Batteries won’t cut it – we need solar thermal technology to get us through the night

By Dominic Zaal, CSIRO Australia’s transition to renewables is gathering speed, but there’s a looming problem with storage. We will need much more long-duration storage to get us through the night, once coal and fossil gas exit the system. We also need to find new and better ways to create heat for industrial processes. Renewables…

Imagion Biosystems a game changer in cancer diagnosis – analyst report

Sharemarket analysts Pitt Street Research have released a positive appraisal of medical imaging company Imagion Biosystems and its MagSense non-radioactive and safe diagnostic imaging technology. Specialised MagSense nanoparticles are coated with tumour targeting antibodies and can be administered by simple intravenous injection. Weak, but highly sensitive magnetic fields are used to locate the nanoparticles which…

SME defence companies the key to AUKUS success – report

Defence SMEs are essential to the economic success of the AUKUS partners Australia, the UK and the US according to a just released white paper. The report, by the CEO of defence consulting firm ADROITA Sarah Pavillard, said while defence needs were core to AUKUS, industry in the three countries needed to reach out to…

Narrowing the scope

Today we publish another profile of a nominee for our Australia’s 50 Most Innovative Manufacturers list. Brent Balinski speaks to Lachie Smart about how a small Sunshine Coast-based manufacturer found a niche it could lead the world in. For many successful Australian manufacturers, the source to their success could be described as excelling globally within…

Another naval ship to be imported, not built locally

By Peter Roberts The Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) just announced procurement of a dedicated undersea support vessel along with other perplexing decisions by defence are raising questions over whether there is a sufficient focus in Canberra about buying from Australian companies. After a selection process led by an independent broker, the Norwegian flagged MV Normand…

Leveraging digital in lean management systems – by Tim McLean

Everyone is collecting more and more data in their operations, but its effectiveness is in how you use it to increase value for the customer. Here, Tim McLean reviews the data scene, urges us not to give up all the old, visual management ways, and outlines what we need to look for in a Manufacturing…

New orders evaporate in March, manufacturing rebounds – AiGroup

The Ai Group Australian Industry Index (Aii) fell in March 2023, dropping 4.4 points to -6.1 points (seasonally adjusted). This indicates mildly contractionary conditions. The index, which complements the Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index, and also covers business services sectors including utilities, transport, ICT and technical services, has been in contraction since May 2022. Key…

The National Reconstruction Fund, lessons for the future – by Allen Roberts

The legislating of the federal government’s National Reconstruction Fund could be a critical moment in a renaissance in Australian manufacturing, or the moment could be squandered depending on how it is rolled out. Here, Allen Roberts lays out some learnings from the past, that could help the NRF meet what is a massive challenge ahead.…

Our search for Australia’s top 50 most innovative companies continues

The first entries are in in the Australian Manufacturing Forum networking group and @AuManufacturing’s hunt to identify and celebrate Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers. We can’t give away too much about what we have seen so far, but we can say innovation in manufacturing takes many forms – from innovation in product, process, materials, technology…

The case for best-in-class regulatory controls in pharma – by Rocky Lu

Regulation is sometimes seen as a burden, but not so in the pharmaceutical sector argues Rocky Lu, where it is needed to make sure products are safe and effective. In an industry where the stakes are high, ensuring the safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical products is crucial. With recent high-profile recalls, safety lapses, and an…

3 ways to help the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund revive manufacturing

By Jarryd Daymond, University of Sydney Australia’s federal parliament has approved a A$15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, intended to reverse the nation’s dwindling manufacturing sector. It is the “first step” in Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s election promise “to revive our ability to make world-class products”. The fund will focus on investing in high-tech manufacturing. There…

BHP joins the race to produce green steel

By Peter Roberts Suddenly, every iron ore producer and the country’s two primary steel producers are looking at ways of decarbonising the steelmaking process, or going entirely to green steel production. Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue group is famously attempting to become Australia’s greenest company while Whyalla steelworks operator GFG Alliance has begun production of green steel…

Open-door policy helps window-maker innovate

Today we publish the fourth profile of a nominee for our Australia’s 50 Most Innovative Manufacturers list. We hear from co-founder and Director at Safetyline Jalousie, Leigh Rust, who tells us why it’s useful to admit you don’t know what you don’t know. By Brent Balinski. The National Construction Code 2022 – outlining the minimum…

AUKUS and submarines, the start of Australia’s re-industrialisation? – By Geoff Potts

The potential industrial payoff from the construction of Australian nuclear submarines, or potentially the lack of it, has ignited controversy among @AuManufacturing readers. Here, in the third in a series (see below) Geoff Potts takes a more positive view. AUKUS will be one of the most significant and difficult national projects undertaken by our nation…

Towards a better AUKUS – by Paul van de Loo

SME business has taken a rather dim view to the long timelines associated with industry opportunities that could arise from the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the UK and the US. Here Paul van de Loo takes a jaundiced view, and presents an alternative industrial scenario. The AUKUS agreement has captured a lot of airtime lately.…

Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – challenges and solutions by Graeme Sheather

As our Celebrating Australian sovereign capability editorial series comes to a close, Graeme Sheather looks at the big picture, where we stand today and the challenges and solutions ahead. A new global order is emerging and it is imperative that Australian manufacturing businesses and government get their act together to create advanced high-tech products and…

Farewell, master of foresight Dr Gordon Moore

By Andre Saraiva Once I heard of the death of Dr Gordon Moore (right), one of the founders of Intel, I immediately went back to read his famous 1965 article written for Electronics. I remembered the first time I read this article and how it felt like it was written by a time traveller. Firstly because…

Celebrating Australian sovereign capability: some thoughts on the importance of procurement

To begin the third week of our Celebrating Australian sovereign capability series, we hear about some ways government could help drive IP creation and commercial impact. Brent Balinski speaks to Grey Innovation founder Jefferson Harcourt  Governments have been poor at seeing the value of procurement and other measures that could make a real difference in…

Fortescue breakthrough in making green iron matches GFG Alliance

By Peter Roberts Green technology company Fortescue Future Industries has claimed a major breakthrough in the production of green iron – a step towards manufacturing green steel – making it the second of two Australian companies which make such an ambitious claim. The claim first surfaced in parent company Fortescue Metals Group’s FY23 half year…

Mighty white: finding the right market for a supermaterial

In the latest profile of a nominee for our Australia’s 50 Most Innovative Manufacturers list, we learn about White Graphene. WG was founded in 2020 to commercialise production technology developed at Deakin University for a promising 2D material. Brent Balinski speaks to the company’s Lieuwke de Jong. Graphene – with its host of superlative attributes…

Toward a competitive Queensland industrial ecosystem – by Cori Stewart

Robotics, AI and design for manufacture industry hub ARM Hub CEO Associate Professor Cori Stewart presented at the inaugural RACQ Electric Transport Industry Transformation Forum in Brisbane recently. Dr Stewart was asked what an advanced electric transport ecosystem looks like. Queensland needs deeper manufacturing capability to capture global market electric vehicle opportunities. Can Queensland be…

We were told we’d be riding in self-driving cars by now. What happened to the promised revolution?

According to predictions made nearly a decade ago, we should be riding around in self-driving vehicles today. It’s now clear the autonomous vehicle revolution was overhyped.

Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – the future of Bass Strait gas, by Shane West

Yesterday in our editorial series, Celebrating Australian sovereign capability, Shane West examined procurement, fuel self-sufficiency and the role of the NRF. Today he looks to the future of Bass Strait gas. Australia’s security of supply issue for domestic gas users especially to the east coast has been exacerbated by ExxonMobil Bass Straits gas supply and…

Four legs good

Today we publish the second profile of a nominee for our Australia’s 50 Most Innovative Manufacturers list. Brent Balinski speaks to Miheer Fyzee from Workspace Commercial Furniture. As this series gets started examining innovation among Australian manufacturing businesses, we expect to be overwhelmed by the complexity and sheer volume of what can be and is…

Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – Procurement, Fuel and the NRF by Shane West

@AuManufacturing’s editorial series, Celebrating Australian sovereign capability, continues today with the vexed issue of our dependency on imported oil. Here, in part one of a two-part feature, Shane West looks at procurement policies, fuels and the National Reconstruction Fund. Having initiated and developed the Strategic Procurement MBA at the University of Canberra in conjunction with…

Australian Manufacturing Forum passes 13,000 members

@AuManufacturing’s social media discussion and networking group, the Australian Manufacturing Forum on Linkedin, has passed an important membership milestone. The Forum, Australia’s largest professional social media group of Australian manufacturers, has raced past the 13,000 member mark last night with the admission of 30 new members, bringing membership to 13,015. New members in past days…

Can Industry 4.0 rescue Australia’s sovereign manufacturing capability?

Australian manufacturers need to capitalise on the opportunities presented by Industry 4.0 or be left behind, warns Martin Ripple. As governments around the world embrace the fourth industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, Australia is at risk of being left behind after decades of government neglect of the nation’s manufacturing centres. Sadly, I’ve seen…

Seven things you need to know about lithium-ion battery safety

Dr Matthew Priestley explains why greater respect and education is needed regarding the use of lithium-ion batteries at home and in the workplace. Lithium-ion batteries are the most widespread portable energy storage solution – but there are growing concerns regarding their safety. Data collated from state fire departments indicate that more than 450 fires across Australia…

PC report on productivity underlines its utter failure

By Peter Roberts Really. The utter uselessness of the Productivity Commission’s latest report and recommendations on productivity just released, and the utter uselessness of the PC itself, can be seen in what it says about industry extension services. These services are the expression of the idea that small firms, as are common in Australian business,…

Building a submarine industrial base – by Michael Slattery

SME manufacturers are sizing up what they know about plans for Australia to use US Virginia class submarines, then construct a UK design in Adelaide. Here Michael Slattery navigates what we know, and don’t know, only to emerge concerned that local manufacturing activity has been put off into a distant future. Another announcement delivered by…

Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – 2023 is the year for liftoff

To begin the second week of @AuManufacturing’s Celebrating Australian sovereign capability series, Brent Balinski speaks to Adam Gilmour from Gilmour Space Technologies about the company’s planned orbital launch. If things go to plan, this year Gilmour Space Technologies will become the first Australian company to build a rocket and put it into orbit. The company,…

‘Critical’ manufacturing infrastructure has never been more important – or more at risk from cyber attack

Despite being the top target for attack, manufacturing has not been included by government as part of the discussion around securing vital infrastructure. Brian Grant discusses the current risks, and how to increase protection levels within increasingly digitalised companies. Manufacturing is now the number one target for ransomware attacks worldwide, according to the 2022 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence…

Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – the Covid woes and revival of Electro Optic Systems

Today in our Celebrating Australian sovereign capability editorial series we look defence, communications and space manufacturer Electro Optic Systems, one of a handful along with shipbuilder Austal of genuine Australian defence prime contractors. Here Peter Roberts interviews Matthew Jones, Executive Vice President of EOS Defence Systems. Australia has a lot riding on the success of…

Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – Nova Systems’ Jim McDowell puts the case for the defence

Our editorial series – Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – has focused on developing the wider manufacturing sector. However, in no sector is the need more important, nor more urgent, than in national defence and security argues Jim McDowell in this contribution from our sponsor. Is Australia ready for war? The question may be regarded by…

Wiping away a 25,000-tonne national problem

Today we hear from the first nominee for our Australia’s 50 Most Innovative Manufacturers list. Brent Balinski speaks to The Hygiene Co.’s co-founders Phil Scardigno and Corey White about solving a waste problem they say is 30 times worse than plastic straws. Unless there’s a medical, scientific or forensic reason for it, sales of plastic…

Celebrating Australian sovereign capability — the local leader in the advanced air mobility race

Today in our Celebrating Australian sovereign capability editorial series we look at advanced air mobility manufacturer AMSL Aero, which recently achieved its maiden flight. Brent Balinski speaks to co-founder and CEO Andrew Moore about their progress so far, the potential of electric aviation, and the importance of companies making final products in Australia. There are…

Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – our emerging mRNA vaccine ecosystem

The Covid-19 pandemic revealed Australia’s broken medicines value chains which are mostly wholly reliant on importation, especially for the newest mRNA vaccines. Today our series – Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – looks at the emerging vaccine ecosystem around the Monash-Clayton area of Melbourne. By Peter Roberts. It has long been a great Australian dream to…

BAE Systems Australia – the company that could build our AUKUS submarines

By Peter Roberts BAE Systems Australia has batted off suggestions it will bid to construct nuclear powered submarines in Adelaide under the AUKUS deal. The company already operates a new shipyard built by the federal government at Osborne in Adelaide where it is constructing Hunter class frigates for the RAN, as well as a capable…

What the AUKUS submarine deal means for Australian industry

The three AUKUS leaders, US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese have emphasised the industry building aspects of the tri-lateral plan to jointly develop and build nuclear powered submarines. The three leaders said in a joint statement: “Together we will deliver SSN-AUKUS – a trilaterally-developed submarine based…

Australia to buy three Virginia class N-submarines, then build 8 in Adelaide

Australia is to purchase three US-made Virginia class nuclear powered submarines and follow on by building eight nuclear powered submarines to a new design designated SSN-AUKUS in Adelaide. To fill a capability gap with the retirement of the Collins class submarines Australia will host American nuclear-powered submarines on a regular basis as early as 2027.…

Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – report card on our capability sectors

Yesterday in our series – Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – Lance Worrall argued that sovereign capability is about a nation making things it needs, and policy with purpose. Today he identifies Australia’s priority sovereign capability sectors, and reveals where we are falling short. Over 30 years Australia overdosed on neoliberalism. The patient’s disorders include deindustrialisation…

Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – sovereign capability and how to get it

In the first of two articles in our new series – Celebrating Australian Sovereign Capability – Lance Worrall argues that sovereign capability depends on Australia’s reindustrialisation and rediscovering the positive role of government in setting directions for inclusive growth. The phrase ‘sovereign capability’ re-entered our lexicon during the pandemic. Covid severely disrupted international supply chains,…

Celebrating Australian sovereign capability – introduction to our new editorial series

We have all heard the phrase – sovereign manufacturing capabilities. But what does it mean for Australia in the 21st century, what are they and how do we develop them? Here Peter Roberts sets the scene for our latest editorial series – Celebrating Australian sovereign capability. It wasn’t too long ago that a new phrase…

Finding one’s special purpose (podcast)

By Brent Balinski “Geelong’s had an interesting evolution and obviously the company in its various forms reflects that,” Ross George, Managing Director of Austeng, a self-described boutique engineering firm plying its trade in the city.  “My grandfather supplied parts to International Harvester, Ford, Alcoa, Pilkington Glass, and so all the Geelong-based automotive businesses, which have…

The AUKUS deal that puts Adelaide N-sub construction further into the future

By Peter Roberts Look, I have no particular inside information on what nuclear submarine path the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will announce in San Diego on Monday. But I can read the tea leaves and ask – how can it be that both the US and the UK are beaming about their respective nations prospects…

Focus on Greens amendment to NRF bill, and adding value to minerals

By Peter Roberts At a Thursday media conference on the passing of the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) Corporation Bill by the lower house the media focused questioning of Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic on the government’s acceptance of a Greens amendment, what it meant for fossil fuels, and more generally, on value-adding of Australia’s…

Our search for Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers – 3RT

As @AuManufacturing continues our search to identify Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers we look at a deeply market-driven and technical path to innovation. Here Peter Roberts profiles 3RT. As a former Managing Director of the World Economic Forum and senior executive of a number of European businesses, Peter Torreele, Founder and Managing Director of 3RT…

Celebrating female manufacturing leaders on International Womens Day

On International Women’s Day 2023, the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) has celebrated six female manufacturing leaders – all with distinct career journeys – who are challenging stereotypes and misconceptions to pursue a career in manufacturing. Here @AuManufacturing presents their stories. A podiatrist. A fashion business founder. A biomedical researcher. These are just three of…

Our search for Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers – Holloway Group

Our search to identify Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers is revealing innovation in its many forms. Here Peter Roberts profiles Holloway Group. Innovation does not have to take a high technology intensive path such as gene technology or space travel. For Holloway Group as with many an Australian SME the spark for a more incremental…

Our search for Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers – Roy Green talks innovation policy

On Monday @AuManufacturing officially launched our search to identify Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers with a live webinar featuring UTS, Sydney Emeritus Professor Roy Green. Here, Green identifies a core issue – the absence of a national, coherent and coordinated industry policy. Question? You often make the point that we need to develop and deploy…

ARM Hub, the best is yet to come – by Cori Stewart

Queensland’s Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing or ARM Hub has cemented its place as a not for profit robotics, AI and design for manufacture industry hub. Already at the forefront of industrial transformation in the state, CEO Cori Stewart predicts 2023 will be a defining year for the centre. The coming year will be one of…

Digital, cyber skills needed in manufacturing in shortage

It used to be that hair dressers and chefs dominated Australia’s list of most wanted skills – but not any more. Manufacturing and industry skills are among those most in shortage according to a new quarterly Labour Market Update report from Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA). Topping the list of the top 20 occupations in…

Official launch: Australia’s 50 Most Innovative Manufacturers

For the first time ever, we are conducting a search to find out which companies lead the nation in their efforts to innovate. We are delighted to announce the launch of our brand new campaign: Australia’s 50 Most Innovative Manufacturers. With the help of MYOB, SMC Corporation Australia, and Bosch Australia Manufacturing Solutions, @AuManufacturing will…

@AuManufacturing webinar – are you one of Australia’s most innovative manufacturers?

This webinar sets the scene for @AuManufacturing’s quest to identify and celebrate Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers. You can enter your company here. By Peter Roberts. Every Australian manufacturer innovates in one way or another. It could be in researching and developing new products and services. Or it could be in utilising new materials, production…

GMC marks 25 years, notes early signs of “Geelong manufacturing renaissance”

One thousand jobs added between censuses might not sound huge, concedes Jennifer Conley, CEO of the Geelong Manufacturing Council, but they’re better than a mere hunch that things are on the up. Last decade, Geelong saw a few high-profile industrial difficulties – the closures of Alcoa’s Point Henry smelter in 2014 and the Ford engine…

Getting warmer: stress testing startup progresses with awards at Avalon (podcast)

As a sales engineer not long out of Monash University, Kheang Khauv had early exposure to a new technique for visualising stress and understanding metal fatigue in aircraft. It was the mid-2000s. Researchers at Defence Science and Technology Group’s Fishermans Bend labs – wanting to better understand the fatigue life of ageing F/A-18 Hornets –…

Boost commercialisation to beat microbes – report

Boosting pathways to commercialisation is seen as part of the answer to challenges Australia needs to overcome to avoid being thrust back into a pre-antimicrobial age where simple infections are deadly and some surgeries are too risky to perform. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – when bacteria and other microbes become resistant to the drugs designed to…

Australia’s first locally-designed and made VTOL drone unveiled

A new unmanned aerial vehicle, designed to fly up to 800 kilometres and carry a payload of up to 160 kilograms, was the major bit of news on day one of the Avalon International Airshow. Brent Balinski spoke to Kisa Christensen, Director – Red Ochre Autonomy & Sensors at BAE Systems Australia, after the unveiling…

A new systemic industry strategy needed – SGS Economics

Economists at SGS Economics & Planning have gone public with a call for the development of a ‘new spatial industry strategy’. In a newly published policy paper, SGS principal and partner Jeremy Gill said Australia had emerged from three years of the Covid-19 pandemic into a period of global disruption. Within this, however, lay opportunity,…

Albanese offers policies, but they don’t add up to an industry policy

By Peter Roberts The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese outlined at the National Press Club yesterday the government’s policies for industry – essentially encompassing skills development, energy price reduction and stimulating green technologies, the National Reconstruction Fund and the Aukus pact. He linked these together as part of as the ‘structural changes that I’ve outlined today…

The potential of cancer therapy with 4D printing

Dr Ali Zolfagharian provides a quick look at 4D printing for cancer therapeutics, following a new paper that appears to be the first overview of the subject. Despite the fact that 3D printing technology has been widely used in medical applications due to the benefits of precisely defined architecture and individual constructs, there are still…

ARENA and industry map paths to net zero

Australia’s emissions-intensive businesses along with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) have identified a possible pathway to decarbonise heavy industry, outlined in a series of new reports published today. The Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative (Australian Industry ETI) has published the Pathways to Industrial Decarbonisation Phase 3 reports. The reports identify decarbonisation pathways for five…

Zali Steggall supports National Reconstruction Fund

With the federal opposition opposing the government’s proposed $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund that was endorsed by voters at the recent election, the views of cross-benchers have become critical. In a speech to Parliament the independent member for Warringah Zali Steggall outlinesd her concerns about the bill establishing the fund, at the same time strongly…

Opal Australian Paper makes its last ream of Reflex

By Peter Roberts Opal Australian Paper has made its last ream of its popular Reflex brand copy paper with the formal announcement of the permanent closure of the company’s Maryvale mill in Victoria. Making good on warnings made last month, the company conceded it had not been able to solve the issue of a supply…

Looking forward to the long haul (podcast)

Rux Energy wants to be the first in the world to increase hydrogen storage density with novel molecular sponges. Brent Balinski speaks to founder and CEO Dr Jehan Kanga. Metal organic frameworks have only really been studied since 1999, says Dr Jehan Kanga (pictured), who studied a PhD on these nanoporous materials and is now…

Are you ready for registration of Engineers – by Paul van de Loo

Engineer registration is something new in Australia other than in Queensland, but now other state’s are following suit. Here, Paul van de Loo asks whether Australian engineers are ready for a scheme which they did not ask for and do not need. If you’re a typical engineer you’re pretty focussed on your engineering, and you…

An Australian-made quantum chip in every home? (podcast)

This week Quantum Brilliance announced a $26 million funding round, a significant boost to its lofty ambitions. Brent Balinski spoke to co-founder Dr Andrew Horsley about bringing Australian-made room-temperature quantum accelerators to the masses. Among people who care about such things, Intel’s examination of Australia as a possible home for a fabrication site in the…

Rio to supply its first export green aluminium – the green future is here

By Peter Roberts The green industry dam is burst – after years if not decades of talk that Australia’s minerals will one day have to go green to survive in a world where trade favours green production, Australian company Rio has received its first big international green order. Aluminium producer Rio Tinto has been contracted…

Government receives Defence Strategic Review

The federal government has received the report of the Defence Strategic Review which will guide the development of the Australian Defence Force and hence the areas of focus of government procurement for many years to come. The report was formally handed over to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Defence Minister Richard Marles by former chief…

How good is the Australian Manufacturing Forum Linkedin group?

By Peter Roberts How good is @AuManufacturing’s sister networking and discussion group, the Australian Manufacturing Forum on Linkedin? We founded the Forum in 2011 as a place where like minds – those of us excited about developments in Australian manufacturing and keen to work together to ensure its future – could come together in a…

BAE Systems could be in the box seat to build Australian n-subs

By Peter Roberts BAE Systems and its Australian arm could be the front runner in the supply of nuclear-powered submarines to the Royal Australian Navy under the AUKUS agreement, according to UK media reports. The London Sun reported that senior ministers were open to the idea of supplying partly-constructed Astute class submarines (pictured) to Australia…

Textile recycling a step we have to take

By Peter Roberts We all can see with our own eyes how the climate is changing for the worse, with exactly the unpredictability, the extra severity and the damaging consequences climate scientists have been predicting for decades. Fortunately manufacturers are responding, including in the, well it can only be described as criminal, waste of resources…

Let’s restore engineers to their rightful place – by Patrice Caine

Many are challenging the traditional role of engineer, suggesting it may be incompatible with a sustainable future. Here Patrice Caine argues that as the world faces unprecedented challenges, engineers are the only real lever for bringing about, on a relevant scale, new ways to produce, live and consume. Has engineering had its heyday? This might…

Self-belief, cementitious 3D printing, and sensors

Luyten believes it can extrude an answer to housing affordability problems. Brent Balinski speaks to CEO and founder, Ahmed Mahil. Not universally, but generally speaking, Australian startups don’t beat you over the head with their vision or tell you, in no uncertain terms, that they’re going to change the world. Occasionally there will be contrasts…

AUKUS innovation: about far more than submarines – by Michael Sharpe

The focus of reporting on the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the US and the UK has been on the promise of locally built nuclear-powered submarines. But it is about so much more from AI and quantum computing, to hypersonic aircraft and systems. Here, Michael Sharpe explains how AUKUS will unlock the power of innovation Pillar…

Industry needs to prepare to grow with defence needs – by Sarah Pavillard

The federal government has announced a review of defence industry policy, and is also close to making an announcement on its selection of Australia’s future nuclear powered submarines. At the same time relations with China are in the news. Here Sarah Pavillard looks at the opportunities opening up for defence industry. Major announcements will come…

Electric aviation startup to complete MVP build this month (podcast)

Dovetail Electric Aviation began in 2021 and is chasing a market estimated at $US 15 billion for retrofitting electric propulsion systems onto small airplanes. Brent Balinski spoke to co-founder Rachael Barritt about their story so far. A bit over two years ago, this website reported with sadness that MagniX – an Australian-born world-leader in electric…