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Move over panda diplomacy, toast two way trade with Penfolds Grange

Move over panda diplomacy, the local wine industry has been recruited to treat visiting Chinese Premier Li Qiang. Trade Minister Senator Murray Watt welcomed Li to lunch at Penfolds Magill Estate winery in Adelaide (pictured), the home of the company’s famous Grange. Watt said: “A great opportunity for Premier Li’s delegation to meet Australian winemakers, who have already sold $86 million of wine to China since suspensions were lifted a few weeks ago.” Earlier in the day Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong welcomed Li at Adelaide airport before a trip to Adelaide zoo. There Li promised to send another two pandas to Adelaide to replace the ageing Fu Ni and Wang Wang who are returning to China.

WA gas exports threaten supply to local industry – report

New research from energy analysts Sustainable Energy Now and Climate Safe Solutions shows that excess LNG export capacity at Woodside’s Burrup Hub, and a lack of timely renewable energy development, are shaping up as major threats to WA’s domestic gas supply and local energy consumers. The Sustainable Energy Now report finds that Woodside’s Burrup Hub will increasingly rely on large volumes of gas from WA’s onshore domestic reserves to meet its export demand. Report author Piers Verstegen said: “Burrup Hub is already becoming a parasite on WA’s domestic gas reserves and will increasingly compete directly with domestic gas users in the state. “Without urgent action the WA gas market will follow the same pattern as in the East, with higher prices for consumers.”

5B announces major prefabricated solar PV installation

Modular solar PV power plant producer 5B has announced that Zenith Energy has completed a 16.9 MW deployment of its prefabricated 5B Maverick solar array technology on a waste rock dump at Northern Star Resources’ Jundee gold mine in Western Australia. The project which involves 342 5B Maverick units will shortly enable integration of the new clean power generation station with the existing gas power station. The strength of 5B’s potential sales pipeline has surged on the back of falling module prices, according to David Griffin, CEO of 5B. Griffin said: “The strength of our pipeline continues to increase particularly as module prices fall. We’re seeing more instances where 5B Maverick is beating single access tracker on a levelised cost of energy basis where labour and land are constrained, and the cost of bring people, equipment, materials and infrastructure to site for projects is a challenge.”

AI use among SMEs is booming – survey

New figures have revealed 60 per cent of all Australian businesses are already using, or planning to integrate, AI into their operations over the next two years. The figures were revealed in a survey of SME decision makers of companies employing up to 200 people commissioned by business loan comparison platform Small Business Loans Australia. The survey revealed 25 percent of Australian businesses have already embraced the swelling tech trend and adopted AI tools throughout their day-to-day operations. Also 90 per cent of medium-sized businesses (51-200 employees) will be using AI by 2026. The data also shows over a third (37 percent) have adopted AI, with an additional 53 per cent planning to integrate it into their businesses by 2026.

Titomic’s new engagements with defence customers

Cold spray additive manufacturing machinery manufacturer Titomic has revealed it has secured a number of highly sensitive projects with international defence primes and suppliers leveraging Titomic’s cold spray capabilities. These contracts are worth aggregate revenues of $476,000 for Titomic. However the company gave few details and said it was unable to disclose the nature of these engagements and the identity of customers due to legislative and regulatory restrictions governing information disclosure in the defence sector. The Managing Director of Titomic Herbert Koeck said: “These projects present significant long term revenue generation opportunities for Titomic as adoption of our technology expands within these projects and within the broader defence sector.”

Avecho Biotechnology receives R&D tax incentive payment

Medicinal cannabis producer Avecho Biotechnology has received a $1.07 payment under the Research and Development Tax Incentive Scheme from the federal government. The payment covers research including the development of edigle doses of medicinal cannabis for calendar 2023.Avecho told investors: “The funds will be used to support the ongoing Phase 3 insomnia clinical trial, company operations and to advance our commercialisation strategy in order to bring innovative medicines to patients.”

Whitebark Energy to raise cash to develop geothermal energy

Whitebark Energy will conduct a placement and entitlement offer to shareholders to raise a total of $1.5 million. The funds will be used to accelerate commercialisation of Australian geothermal assets and geothermal to hydrogen production. The company is exploring EPG2037 and EPG2040 permit areas and plans to advance both assets to the final investment decision stage, as well as developing the Warro asset , according to an announcement. Whitebark said: “It is intended capital rasied will complement various government funding initiatives that the company is currently persuing…Whitebark remains focused on its stated objective of being the first company in Australia to commission a commercial geothermal project.”

HEO marks a year in space for Holmes Imager

HEO marked the first anniversary of the launch of its first commercial non-Earth imaging (NEI) camera, Holmes-003, on Thursday. The year was not without its challenges for HEO’s first piece of hardware in space, it said, and the team “made significant progress to qualify our camera and showed resilience to overcome hurdles like a detached camera baffle.” In a post on Linkedin, HEO nominated as milestones “The aperture door opened and exposed Holmes to space” on day 173, and capturing a photo of the Moon, “which confirmed our camera’s focus and performance in the harsh space environment” on day 314. “Despite many iterations and experiments to get here, we are not done yet,” said HEO. “Holmes-003 is one step closer to performing non-Earth imaging and delivering high-quality information and images to our customers. Stay tuned!”

More resources to enforce engineered stone ban in NSW

The NSW government has said it is putting more SafeWork NSW inspectors on the ground to enforce the engineered stone ban. In a statement on Monday it said the 2024-25 budget includes an extra $2.5 million to ensure compliance with the ban on the use, supply, and manufacture of engineered stone from July 1. There will be “more inspectors carrying out site visits and issuing penalties to any non-compliant operators”, as well as as additional program staff to provide education tools and programs to support impacted industries, and new notification systems for businesses doing processing work on existing engineered stone in homes and workplaces. State minister for work health and safety, Sophie Cotsis, said: “Silicosis is preventable and all workers who are at risk of silicosis will now be registered so that their health is tracked for their lifetime.”

Firebrick Pharma debuts Nasodine in Singapore

Firebrick Pharma announced last week that its product, Nasodine Nasal Spray is now available for sale in Singapore. The product can be ordered via Firebrick’s new website dedicated to Singaporen sales: In Singapore, Nasodine is classified as a topical antiseptic and does not require approval or licensing by Singapore’s Heath Sciences Authority (HSA) before sale. Advertisements to local consumers need prior approval by the HSA. Firebrick received approval for onsumer advertisements on June 12. “We believe that Nasodine will be a valuable product in the wake of the COVID pandemic because of increased awareness and concern about nasal germs,” said Firebrick Executive Chairman, Dr Peter Molloy. Initially, Nasodine will only be sold in Singapore online and Firebrick has engaged a Singapore-based marketing agency to manage the online social media promotional campaign.

EV training equipment upgrade for TAFE Queensland

The federal government has announced an extra $3 million from the TAFE Technology Fund for electric vehicle (EV) training in Queensland. According to a statement from skills minister Brendan O’Connor’s office on Thursday “The grant will be used to install cutting-edge Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) training simulators, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, used BEVs, 3D scanners and virtual reality headsets at TAFE Queensland’s Acacia Ridge (Brisbane South) and Bohle (Townsville) campuses.” TAFE Queensland estimates that over 5,000 trade students and their prospective employers will benefit from the investment across Queensland.

Picture: Senator Murray Watt/lunch for Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Penfolds

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