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Pure Hydrogen reaps clean energy rewards

Pure Hydrogen announced a rise in revenue during the first half from $206,000 to $6.13 million as it reaped rewards from its focus on developing end to end green hydrogen fuel ecosystems, The rise saw NPAT improve from a loss of $808,000 in the previous corresponding period to a profit of $4.3 million. The company revealed cash of $14.7 million which includes the benefits of $6 million in research and development tax incentives. During the next quarter Pure Hydrogen will begin trials with PepsiCo (pictured), delivering its first hydrogen powered truck to the company. During the first half the company launched its first hydrogen fuel cell city bus in New South Wales.

Professionals celebrate win on unpaid overtime

Professionals Australia has welcomed a Fair Work Commission decision that will improve wages and conditions affecting previously unpaid overtime. The commission’s decision on the Professional Employees Award 2020 which covers professional engineers, professional scientists, IT workers, those working in the game workers sector and quality assurance professionals. Employers will now be required to keep hours of work records and to pay their employees for all hours worked above 38 hours, and penalties will now apply to hours worked before 6.00 am or after 10.00 pm Monday to Saturday, which attract a rate of 125 per cent, and hours worked on Sundays and public holidays will attract a rate of 150 per cent. Employers paying employees 25 per cent above the relevant award classification will be exempt from the requirements. Professionals Australia CEO Jill McCabe said: “These changes give effect to the intent of existing provisions in the award to pay employees who work overtime but which have proven unenforceable due to their vagueness.”

Ampcontrol employee safety programme scoops the pool

‘Live Work Better’, an employee safety and wellbeing programme developed by engineering firm Ampcontrol, was awarded Best WHS Improvement Award at the 2023 Hunter Safety Awards on Friday. Designed in conjunction with EY Psychologists, the programme addresses risk through attitudes and behaviours to build a better and safer workplace for its people. Tailored uniquely to suit its diverse workforce of over 1,000 employees across Australia, the psychology-based programme is provided to all employees. It aims to shift towards a culture of shared responsibility, ownership, and positive health, safety, environment, and quality (HSEQ) outcomes. Since being launched in November 2020, 95 percent of the workforce has completed the programme, comprised of online modules and face-to-face sessions varying between 4 – 8 hours. Simon Coleman, Ampcontrol General Manager – HSEQ said: “The programme challenges everyone at Ampcontrol, including me, regarding how we think, act, lead, and foster a culture of shared responsibility.”

Victorian medtech and healthcare innovation partnership

A  partnership between a top Victorian university and one of the world’s leading hospitals is set to boost medtech innovations and help improve healthcare. Minister for Industry and Innovation Ben Carroll joined Monash University and Sheba Medical Center leaders in Tel Aviv, Israel, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to research and develop equitable healthcare models and medtech manufacturing opportunities in Victoria. The government will invest around $200,000 with Monash University’s Victorian Heart Institute to improve access to the latest technology and enable faster adoption of new treatments for cardiovascular diseases. The state has supported several major medtech projects including the $20 million Australian Medtech Manufacturing Centre, mRNA Victoria, and startup investments through LaunchVic and the Breakthrough Victoria Fund.

SA’s Flinders University’s international AUKUS education hook-up

South Australia will be a home for international nuclear expertise ahead of AUKUS submarine construction, with Flinders University striking agreements with leading nuclear science and technology universities in the United Kingdom and United States. The University of Manchester, the lead university in the UK’s Nuclear Technology Education Consortium, has partnered with Flinders for the Australian delivery of its nuclear masters programmes and doctoral level research training. A second agreement was signed with The University of Rhode Island, a leading US public research university known for its strong ties to the submarine manufacturing industry. These historic partnerships enable Flinders University to deliver a comprehensive suite of the world’s best nuclear education in South Australia as early as 2023.

Rio Tinto boosts Australian supplier purchases

Mining giant Rio Tinto has increased its spend with Australian suppliers to more than $15.3 billion in 2022, as part of what the company calls its’ ongoing commitment to support communities where it operates’. The spend was an increase of almost nine per cent on the previous year and was spent with more than 6,200 businesses, including Australian owned and operated businesses and locally owned and managed branches of global companies. According to a statement the spend helped support tens of thousands of Australian jobs and delivered a significant economic contribution to communities across the country. As part of this spend, more than $565 million was spent with Indigenous businesses – an increase of 40 per cent on the year before. Rio Tinto Chief Executive Australia Kellie Parker said: “Supporting local businesses in the communities where we operate is a key priority for Rio Tinto. We strive to employ local people, buy local products and engage local services.”

Inaugural Illawarra Energy Expo to be held in Canberra

Illawarra-born ingenuity in clean energy and renewables will be on display at the Illawarra Clean Energy Expo, to be held at Australian Parliament House in Canberra on Monday. According to a statement from the University of Wollongong, the expo will showcase the companies and organisations active within the Illawarra region in the clean energy transformation, providing high-calibre, sustainable employment and training. Delegation leaders met on Friday at Sicona, a Wollongong based developer of next-generation battery technology enabling electric mobility devices and storage of renewable energy, and which is commercialising technology developed and perfected at UOW’s Australian Institute for Innovative Materials. The delegation includes BlueScope Steel, Squadron Energy, Hysata, Green Gravity, Oceanex, BOC Gases, Sicona Battery Technologies, Gridsight AI, NSW Ports, i3Net, Business Illawarra, Recharge Illawarra, Rewiring Australia, Ecojoule Energy, Wise Energy and Invest Wollongong.

Two UniSQ fellowships focus on state infrastructure

Two University of Southern Queensland researchers have been named among this year’s Advance Queensland Industry Fellows. Dr Hamid Ahmadi received $240,000 to investigate the application of newly-developed composite materials to improve the resilience of marine infrastructure, while Dr Andy Nguyen was awarded $360,000 to develop a novel AI technology to monitor the structural and health conditions of Queensland’s transport tunnel network. The Advance Queensland Industry Fellowships program facilitates collaboration between research and industry on major technological, environmental and social challenges, helping the state’s scientists increase Queensland’s standing as a global innovation economic powerhouse. Ahmadi’s project will address issues caused by the 2022 east coast floods — which led to $5.5billion in damage to critical infrastructure — and will involve engineers from Wagners Composite Fibre Technologies and Maritime Safety Queensland as well as three UniSQ postgraduate students. Nguyen will use his fellowship to develop a novel AI-powered automated structural condition and health monitoring technology to advance condition management and digital engineering of the transport tunnel network in Queensland.

VC firm urges rethink of investor visa changes

Last week Sapien Ventures, an Asia Pacific technology venture capital firm, urged the federal government to “urgently reconsider plans to alter Australia’s Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program.” The government has signalled intentions to review the program — introduced in 2012 and allowing skilled migrants to have visa applications fast-tracked if they invest $5 million in Australia — which was described by home affairs minister Clare O’Neal as “[not] adding value to the country.” According to Sapien’s modelling, $800 million will have been channelled into the Australian innovation economy via SIV-compliant VC/PE funds, by June 2023. “When a company is venture-funded, its first mission is usually to create local jobs by hiring staff, and the successful ones go on to create further value via ongoing company profits, tax revenue, R&D expenditure and export sales”, said Sapien Ventures founder and Managing Director, Victor Jiang.

Australian Responsible AI Network to announced

A new Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) Network, described as “a world-first cross-ecosystem program to support Australian companies in using and creating AI ethically and safely” was launched by industry minister Ed Husic last week at CSIRO’s National AI Centre. According to a statement from CSIRO, the network will [bring] together a national community of practice, guided by world leading expert partners, and enabling Australian businesses with best practice guidance, tools and learning modules”. Established by the National AI Centre, initial Knowledge Partners of the Responsible AI Network include the Australian Industry Group, Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), CEDA, CSIRO’s Data61, Standards Australia, The Ethics Centre, The Gradient Institute, The Human Technology Institute, and the Tech Council of Australia. National AI Centre Director Stela Solar said, “No country in the world has yet worked out responsible AI, but Australia is taking a big step forward by collaborating across the ecosystem to share best practice and respond to an evolving regulatory landscape… “We have a sliding doors moment here to build a competitive advantage in responsible AI, and to take it to the world by equipping Australian businesses with the toolkit to build and deploy safe and ethical AI solutions.”

Queensland schools join Queensland’s future hydrogen workforce initiative

Thirty-two Queensland high schools have joined the state government’s Hydrogen Gateway to Industry Schools program. According to a statement, 2,000 students to be given hydrogen career pathway opportunities through the program, delivered by Energy Skills Queensland, which will provide hands-on experience to the emerging hydrogen industry. Students “will be exposed to a range of learning experiences to assist them in their career choices and self-select pathways to employment” in areas including from production, to engineering, to storage to distribution and exporting. Queensland’s hydrogen industry alone is expected to grow by $19 billion, creating an additional 4,350 jobs by 2040, said premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. “We have the potential to be hydrogen superpower, she said. “But we need the workforce to support this jobs bonanza so that Queensland’s future workforce is primed and ready to go to capitalise on it.”

Image: Pure Hydrogen will supply PepsiCo with a Hydrogen Fuel Cell 160kW 6 x 4 Prime Mover

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