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Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement takes effect

The Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) came into effect this week, eliminating export costs for some manufacturers sending goods to the United Kingdom. The A-UKFTA eliminates tariffs on over 99 per cent of Australian goods exports to the UK, including exports of wine, honey, nuts, and manufactured products like electrical equipment and cosmetic products. For some agricultural products like beef, sheep meat, dairy and sugar, Australia will have access to expanding tariff quota volumes. In the year ending March 2023, the UK was South Australia’s most valuable destination for wine exports according to the state government, totalling $239.9 million. The A-UKFTA also provides a framework for professional bodies to agree to streamline licensing processes for the movement of qualified professionals between Australia and the UK.

Dr Ron Weinberger parts with EMVision Medical Technologies

Veteran entrepreneur and innovator Dr Ron Weinberger (pictured) is to retire as CEO and Managing director of brain imaging company EMVision Medical Technologies, and will be replaced by co-founder of the business, Scott Kirkland. The pair are closely associated with the success of the company, which is pioneering the use of microwaves to image stroke patients at the point of care. Most recently, the company moved to its second phase of human testing of its innovative portable brain scanner. Weinberger has been involved with the development of numerous technology manufacturing companies, including Nanosonics. Weinberger said: “Building the company with the team over the last five years has been a privilege and now is a good time to hand over the leadership baton…Scott has been my right hand man since the beginning and has been immersed in all aspects of the business operations and product development.”

Immuron recruits for human trials of Travelan anti-diarrhoea medication

Biotechnology company Immuron has begun recruitment of healthy volunteers for controlled infection trials of its Travelan anti-diarrhoea product. Approval for recruitment was received from US Army Medical Research and Development Command which is testing Travelan for use by military personnel deployed overseas. The trials will examine the dosing requirements for Travelan, which is made up of hyper immune antibodies and other factors. Travelan is known to protect against the onset of travellers diarrhoea. Another trial of Travelan is already underway by the Uniformed Services University.

Business environment softens for Maggie Beer Holdings

Rising interest rates and inflation are continuing to impact consumer patterns across the grocery retail sector, dampening the outlook for Barossa Valley food manufacturer Maggie Beer Holdings. Second half sales for the group remain strong, with revenue up 5.3 percent led by Maggie Beer Products. However the company’s e-commerce and hamper business HGA has seen sales fall 12.2 percent for the half to the end of April ‘in line with the broader e-commerce market and a shift to bricks and mortar retailing’, according to the company. HGA experienced ‘disappointing’ Mother’s Day sales. The company now expects FY23 trading EBITDA to be between $3.5 million and $4.5 million on revenue of between $70 and $75 million. The company told investors it would make a final decision on the discontinued Paris Creek Farms business before June 30.

UNSW wins in five categories at Australian Space Awards

UNSW staff and alums claimed awards in five of 20 categories at the recent Australian Space Awards, which highlight exceptional contributions to the Australian space sector. UNSW Canberra Space was named Academic Research Team of the Year, and its Director, Professor Russell Boyce, took out Executive of the Year. “Our team of exceptional engineers and scientists have set the pace in Australia in innovative space missions, skills and training, and research and mission assurance. This award honours our contribution,” said Boyce. UNSW Canberra spin-offs Skykraft and Nominal Systems were recognised as the Innovator of the Year (Company) and Start-up of the Year, and Daniel Joinbee, a UNSW Canberra Bachelor of Science graduate, won Indigenous Space Leader of the Year.

Major overhaul for Wivenhoe Pumped Hydro

Queensland’s largest hydro power station, the publicly-owned Wivenhoe Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Station, is undergoing a $17 million overhaul. Major maintenance works have started at the station, and the Queensland government said on Thursday that these would create 100 jobs. The station has two 285 megawatt turbines. Planned maintenance works take place every five years. Publicly owned CleanCo is being supported by the specialised workforce at Downer to undertake these works. Wivenhoe Site Manager, Trevor Turner, said, “The work we are undertaking requires a highly skilled workforce and during the overhaul the number of people on site will increase almost ten-fold to 100.” CleanCo CEO Tom Metcalfe added that the asset “plays an essential role in firming wind and solar energy to provide Queenslanders with reliable, low-emission energy during peak periods… These major overhauls allow us to thoroughly inspect the asset and undertake significant maintenance activities to ensure it continues to operate efficiently and reliably as the [dependence] on energy storage technologies increases.”

GMG announces energy saving test results

Graphene Manufacturing Group has announced results of energy savings tests on a 4.3 kilowatt refrigeration system and heat transfer demonstrations on aluminium and copper, which the company says provide additional confidence in the benefits of its Thermal-XR (TXR) coating. According to GMG, a TXR coated coil saw a 15.7 per cent energy saving and a 16.1 per cent time saving in a pull down test, assessing the time and energy required to reach a set temperature of 2 degrees Celsius in the heat controlled room with an initial set temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, controlled constant humidity level, and an outdoor temperature of 35 degrees Celsius. “This has significant potential for our targeted market of new air conditioners or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), as well as our existing target market of installed air conditioners,” said CEO Craig Nicol in a statement.

Picture: Dr Ron Weinberger

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