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Jobs and Skills Australia begins its work

Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) has been formally established, after legislation passed through Parliament and received Royal Ascent. Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said JSA will begin its important work providing independent advice to government on current and emerging workforce needs. O’Connor said: “JSA will have a tripartite approach with state and territory governments, employers, business peaks, unions and training providers to provide independent advice to government on current and emerging workforce needs. Australia faces one of its biggest economic challenges in decades – a lack of skilled workers across the labour market.” The government earmarked $12.9 million in last month’s budget to help JSA more precisely identify and anticipate skills shortages.

Orbital raises $5 million for engine development

Unmanned aerial vehicle engine manufacturer Orbital UAV has received firm commitments to raise $5 million from investors. Major shareholder UIL Limited has committed to subscribe for $1.5 million in new shares subject to FIRB approval. The proceeds of the placement will be utilised in new drone engine programmes targeting new engine production for global defence companies, and for working capital. The Perth company has two engine manufacturing lines for Boeing subsidiary Insitu (pictured), but is also progressing new engine developments for defence customers Textron Systems, a Singapore company, Anduril Industries and Skyways. The company is targeting engine sales of $60 million by 2027.

Nufarm records record earnings from agricultural products

Agricultural chemical company Nufarm has reported record earnings for the year to 30 September with strong growth across all of its businesses. The company reported underlying EBITDA profit of $447 million, up 24 percent of the previous corresponding period, on revenue up 17 percent to $3.8 billion. Statutory net profit after tax was up 65 percent to $107.4 million. Favourable seasonable conditions and attractive soft commodity prices generated strong demand for the company’s seeds and crop protection products. CEO Greg Hunt said the seeds business increased earnings on the basis of investment to innovative technologies. Hunt said: “Despite a number of industry supply chain challenges, Nufarm performed strongly leveraging the capabilities of local manufacturing infrastructure.”

Hazer and Mitsui to investigate markets for Hazer graphite

Japanese trading company Mitsui & Co Ltd has signed a MoU with Hazer Group and will jointly investigate potential markets for Hazer’s graphitic carbon (Hazer graphite). They will conduct an initial marketing survey of applications for Hazer’s low emissions graphite products in the steel making and chemicals sectors. Hazer CEO Glenn Corrie said: “Our innovative technology to produce low emissions hydrogen and graphitic carbon offers a low-cost solution to decarbonise hard to abate sectors, such as steel making and chemicals industries…This is great timing for Hazer and accelerates the pathway to unlocking value for our graphite, taking us a step closer to commercialisation.”

Baraja reaches IP milestone

Lidar solutions company Baraja has announced a significant IP milestone, securing 100 patent assets worldwide. The company’s patent protection now spans eight jurisdictions and four continents including the United States, Europe, China, Japan, and Korea, to cover major automotive markets and origins. “This milestone demonstrates the raw innovation capacity and perseverance of Baraja’s brightest minds, but also our commitment to building a robust, protected intellectual property portfolio,” said Cibby Pulikkaseril, Chief Technology Officer at Baraja. The company says its Spectrum-Scan Lidar technology has an edge over previous methods — which use mechanical steering with large mechanical devices — enabling a miniaturised system with lower costs and higher reliability.

University of Southern Queensland awarded $495,000 for advanced materials project

University of Southern Queensland manufacturing researchers have been awarded $495,000 under the Australian Research Council’s ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme. The funding was announced on Wednesday and will be used for a team led by Professor John Bell and Professor Hao Wang — along with colleagues from UniSQ, Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) — to acquire an environmental scanning electron microscope for high temperature analysis. “This new, state-or-the-art equipment is a technological leap in the field of analysing complex advanced materials. It will enable us to address questions related to how materials are structured and how well they perform under service certain conditions,” said Wang.

Picture: Orbital UAV

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