Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed


Treasury backs intervention to cut energy prices

Treasury has taken the unusual step of backing ‘temporary and regularly reviewed’ market intervention to rein in high coal and gas prices. A statement from Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy read to a Senate estimates committee said price shocks “bring into scope government intervention”, though the government should not boost inflation by utilising direct cash subsidies to consumers and businesses. “Interventions that directly address the higher domestic thermal coal and gas prices are more likely to be optimal.” The secretary argues profits in the energy sector were ‘well beyond the usual bounds of investment and profit cycles’ threatening business viability. Treasury is usually firmly against intervention in markets.

Oventus secures Canadian distribution for sleep apnoea devices

Queensland medical device manufacturer Oventus Manufacturing, which is in external administration, has secured Canadian distribution for its O2Vent sleep apnoea treatment devices. The company announced it had entered into an exclusive distribution arrangement with private Canadian company Open Airway Dental Solutions which has relationships with sleep practitioners and clinics. The agreement covers Oventus’s O2Vent Optima and other products. Grant Thornton Australia was appointed administrators of Oventus in June.

DroneShield receives unmanned aerial systems (UAS) research contract

Drone detection and countermeasure manufacturer DroneShield and Quantum Research International have received, in a teaming arrangement, a US Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 contract titled ‘Utilizing Machine Learning Algorithms to track and identify UAS threats’. The contract is for the United States Department of Defense (DoD) administered by SOFWERX. SOFWERX is a platform established between US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and DEFENSEWERX, a non-profit focusing on homeland security innovation, to help USSOCOM ‘solve challenging warfighter problems’. Phase 1 of the project covers a feasibility study to investigate development of a LiDAR-based system using Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to create electronic signatures for UAS identification and continuous surveillance of UAS/drone threats.

Ai Group and SA industry leaders invite manufacturers to ‘meet the buyer’

Ai Group, the Industry Capability Network and leading South Australian companies are inviting manufacturers interested in supplying them as customers to a ‘meet the buyer event’ later this month. Steelmaker GFG Alliance, defence companies BAE Systems Australia and Hanwha Defense Australia, services company Ventia and electronics group REDARC will join the event on the morning of Thursday 24 November at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Backed by the SA government, the event will cover the changing requirements on suppliers as businesses ramp up for the post Covid economy and the challenges
of decarbonisation, digitalisation and ongoing disruption. Information here.

QUT wins Higher Education Award for robotics partnership 

A Queensland University of Technology research team, led by Associate Professor Dr Jared Donovan and Associate Professor Glenda Caldwell, has been recognised with a win in the Industry Engagement category of the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards 2022. The award was for a collaboration on an $8 million Design Robotics research project, assisted by funding from Innovative Manufacturing CRC and delivered in partnership with Urban Art Projects and RMIT University. UAP, which makes large-scale public artworks, began the project in 2017, partnering with researchers to apply robotic vision systems and digital interfaces to streamline the integration between design and custom manufacturing. According to UAP, it has resulted in increased sales, onshore manufacturing and employment (with 43 new employees.) CEO and Managing Director of IMCRC, David Chuter, said the award was “a well-deserved acknowledgment of their deep collaboration with UAP that delivered a quantum leap in capability and business growth.”

McKell: apprenticeships taskforce “a win for tradies, industry and state”

Centre-left public policy research institute The McKell Institute has said that establishing a taskforce in Victoria “to improve the work lives of apprentices is a win for the industry and state”. The Victorian Labor government has announced the Apprenticeships Taskforce — involving workers, unions and industry — considering ways to improve regulatory arrangements, training plans, screening processes, complaint reporting, enforcement for apprentices encountering mistreatment, and employer accountability. McKell’s CEO Michael Buckland said a taskforce would create a layer of oversight “desperately required” to improve workplace culture and safety, especially as “In Victoria, the number of apprentices and trainees has declined significantly over the last decade.” Buckland said: “We know that apprentices are vulnerable to being bullied, harassed, subjected to dangerous conditions, and underpaid. This exploitation creates toxic workplace cultures and fuels workforce shortages, as those who are subjected to it are less likely to finish their apprenticeship.”

Premium food and wine from WA’s Great Southern region showcased in Singapore

A trade mission to Singapore this week is representing Western Australia’s Great Southern region’s premium food, wine, and tourism industries and attempting to establish new international partnerships. Agriculture minister Alannah MacTiernan will spend two days in Singapore to participate in ‘Discover Great Southern – Western Australia’s Hidden Gem’, the inaugural international Great Southern food, wine, and tourism showcase, and meet with international agricultural industry leaders wanting to partner and invest in WA. Over 50 winemakers, food producers, industry and government officials flew to Singapore for the November 8 – 10 event. MacTiernan said that, “The Great Southern region has extraordinary and unparalleled agribusiness opportunities and tourism experiences on offer, and we want to share Western Australia’s hidden jewel with the world.”

ACOR welcomes Container for Change program review

The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) has lauded an announcement the Queensland government will review the Containers for Change program, aimed at expanding eligible containers to include glass wine and spirit bottles. The resource recovery, recycling and remanufacturing peak body’s CEO, Suzanne Toumbourou, said the a proposed expansion of the program, “will further improve resource recovery rates, increase access to recyclable materials, and create more opportunities for individuals and community groups to be rewarded for their recycling efforts… It is great to see a growing number of States across Australia gearing up to expand their existing and planned container deposit schemes in a harmonised approach, which will reduce costs for industry and drive greater circular economy outcomes.”

Picture: supplied

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