2021: a space business’s odyssey

Despite a recent mishap, Gilmour Space Technologies’ goal of offering commercial trips to orbit in 2021 is unchanged. Brent Balinski spoke to founder and CEO Adam Gilmour about the need for local launches, the $150 million federal boost to space companies, and the enduring mystery of a recent award nomination.  

National Shipbuilding Authority needed to guide naval ship construction

Comment by Peter Roberts A former South Australian Liberal party leader who later became a minister in the state Labor government has called for the establishment of a national shipbuilding authority to guide naval ship construction. Martin Hamilton-Smith’s political history is indeed as complex as the task now facing Australia to build and then sustain…

Profile of success – Elphinstone and Caterpillar

Tasmanian mining equipment manufacturer Elphinstone has made a remarkable comeback as an OEM manufacturer to the global Caterpillar group. The Burnie company, which employs 2,500, first shot to prominence when it modified Caterpillar surface equipment to operate underground. Eventually it grew into a 50: 50 joint venture with Caterpillar, designing and making underground load, haul,…

Canberra threatens exporters as statistics show Australia’s minerals dependence

Analysis by Peter Roberts This week saw the extraordinary spectacle of an Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, threatening exporters and telling them to cut back on exports. For Morrison to warn alumina producers Rio Tinto and Alcoa to cut back on exports to the United States was strange enough, but the reason for it was…

Boardrooms need to get serious about innovation – AICD

Comment by Peter Roberts Australia’s business boardrooms need to get serious about innovation, with few recognising the urgent need to prioritise innovation, acording to a new report from the Australian Institute for Company Directors (AICD). Given the current realities of Australian manufacturing, this is a comment that should be taken on board even more urgently…

Two local companies chase quantum computing success

Analysis by Peter Roberts A second Australian would-be quantum computer developer has emerged just as a well-known university spin-out in the fast-growing area raises $22 million in venture capital. Two year old Q-CTRL, a spin-off from the University of Sydney’s Quantum Science group, has raised $22 million in venture capital to advance its work. This…

STEM failing in schools despite government focus

Comment by Peter Roberts Despite all the noise from policymakers promoting STEM study in schools, the statistics present another depressing picture of Australia’s failing VET education system. Figures released by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) show a continuing fall in STEM subject in Australian schools. In 2018 compared to 2017: # VET…