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HMAS Ballarat gets its new mast

HMAS Ballarat recently received a brand new mast that will provide its sailors with a new Australian manufactured L-Band high power active phase array radar, and an integrated ‘friend and foe’ capability. The new radar, with CEA Technologies’ CEAFAR and CEAMOUNT phased array radars, are becoming standard on Australian naval ships. Ballarat is the seventh Anzac class ship — out of a total of eight — undergoing the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) through the Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA) Alliance at the Henderson shipyard. The last mast — for HMAS Parramatta — has been consolidated and is currently being fitted out. The build team are now pivoting to the proof-of-concept for the Hunter class frigate mast, which is planned to start later this year.

Approval granted for permanent commercial space launch facility in Koonibba

Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation will begin work on Australia’s first permanent commercial sub-orbital space launch facility after planning consent was granted for the Koonibba Test Range in outback South Australia. Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp said: “The development of permanent, world-class facilities at the Koonibba Test Range will put Australia on the map as a space-faring nation. What we have to offer at Koonibba is unique, highly sought after and complements our orbital facility at Whalers Way.” Damp said the space launch company had a long list of global customers ready to use the range. The Koonibba Test Range is one of the largest commercial rocket testing facilities in the world.

Pilbara industry agrees to share electricity infrastructure

The Western Australian government has announced that members of the ‘Pilbara Industry Roundtable’ (PIR) have all agreed on common use electricity infrastructure in the Pilbara. The agreement recognises the importance of supporting increased use of renewable energy. Members of the PIR include the Minister for Energy Bill Johnston and representatives from Rio Tinto, BHP, Fortescue, Roy Hill, Woodside Energy, Horizon Power, Alinta Energy, ATCO, bp, TransAlta, Pilbara Independent System Operator Company, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia and the Macquarie Group. The PIR met four times in the past year to oversee a works programme modelling future electricity demand scenarios. The PIR agreement recognises the challenges and opportunities that decarbonisation presents for industry and the region.

Waterbox in recyclable Tetra Pak slashes climate impact

Australian startup The Boxed Beverage Company has partnered with global food and beverage packaging company Tetra Pak to launch Waterbox, a sustainably-packaged alkaline water sourced directly from Cottonwood Springs in Victoria. The new product comes as a result of growing consumer demand in Australia for sustainably-packaged and locally-sourced products with a lower environmental impact. Packaged in Tetra Pak’s plant-based carton bottle, Waterbox has up to eight times less impact on climate change than traditional PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottled water across its entire lifecycle in Australia and New Zealand. Consumers can recycle the plant-based carton bottle at kerbside collection points, where they can be transported to saveBOARD recycling facility and turned into sustainable building materials for homes and offices. Waterbox also boasts a number of health claims including one of the highest-known silica contents in bottled water, as well as high levels of magnesium.

Further $20.5 million in Made in Queensland grants

Queensland manufacturers continue to benefit from Made in Queensland grants with a further $20.5 million is awarded to 33 manufacturing projects across the state as part of round five. Over the next five years, 2,380 jobs will be created and supported and almost $51 million in private investment generated. In addition, 18 of the 33 projects are in Regional Queensland, ensuring local economies outside the southeast corner benefit from business growth, jobs growth and wages being spent in the local community. MiQ funding supports Queensland-based manufacturers to adopt manufacturing 4.0 processes, practices and equipment allowing them to start projects that include energy efficiency, export, reshoring, supply chain improvements, sustainability and decarbonisation. Bundaberg business Aletek was awarded $1.36 million in Round four to install a punch/laser combination machine, hydraulic press, flatbed cutter and handheld 3D scanner. This equipment has allowed them to expand their product line, onshore steel fabrication, and employ 15 new staff, taking their total workforce in the region to 89 employees. The Queensland government’s 2023-24 Budget invested $32 million in the MiQ program.

Babcock and Adelaide University support development of defence workforce

Babcock Australasia is partnering with the University of Adelaide to accelerate Australia’s critical defence industry workforce to support the biggest and most ambitious defence agenda in the nation’s history. The parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in a commitment to work closely together. CEO Andrew Cridland said: “The MOU highlights Babcock’s commitment to work closely with the university sector so we can continue to grow and develop our workforce needed to support keeping our nation – and the wider Indo Pacific region – safe and secure. Given our extensive global experience in sustainment, nuclear safety and stewardship, Babcock stands ready to assist Australia in delivering this very significant opportunity, including growing the required workforce to support the delivery of the nation’s first nuclear-powered submarines.”

DEWC joins with UNSW on Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare (ISREW)

Defence specialists DEWC Services have signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of New South Wales to support the outcomes of the Defence Strategic Review by solving some of Defence’s most vexing problems. The company said it had a long history as leaders in the field of Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare (ISREW) while UNSW Capability Systems Centre are leaders in the critical area of digital engineering and all aspects related to the capability lifecycle – design, acquisition, sustainment. “We look forward to working together in collaboration to deliver outcomes that will help protect Australia’s national sovereignty, as well as constantly exploring new opportunities to improve capability for Defence Australia. Through this MOU, DEWC Services and the Capability Systems Centre will be able to undertake discovery exercises on defence industry needs and demands, identify and conduct activities to support Defence, freely exchange ideas and information, and integrate innovative research into Defence projects.”

Vehicle-to-grid technology comes online at Flinders Uni

A state government-backed electric vehicle charging station, showcasing bidirectional vehicle-to-grid technology, has been unveiled at Flinders University. Ten V2G chargers are online, allowing “charge and discharge electricity to the campus’s electricity grid, creating a virtual power plant (VPP)”, according to the South Australian government, and demonstrating how EVs can be harnessed to support SA’s electricity system during periods of peak demand. Flinders already has regular DC and AC chargers available, and the entire network delivers Flinders University’s solar and wind-sourced energy. The project has just won Flinders University the Sustainable Development Goals Initiative of the Year Award at the Triple E Awards in Barcelona, and was funded under the state government’s $3.2 million Smart Charging Trials, with data gathered used to frame and inform the future direction of EVs in SA.

Picture: WAMA Alliance/HMAS Ballarat

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