Santos has announced the loading of the 1000th cargo from its Port Bonython liquids processing plant in South Australia.
Port Bonython has been in operation since 1983, and has loaded over 40 million tonnes of product, including crude oil, LP and naphtha.
Cargoes from the port have gone to all Australian domestic refineries, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Hawaii, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Taiwan, South Korea and China.
Gross revenue generated by Port Bonython totals over $14 billion and total gross wharfage paid to the South Australian Government exceeds $70 million.
“We’re very pleased to celebrate this significant milestone,” said Lou Dello, Santos’ General Manager Oil & Offshore Business.
“Port Bonython has long been an important part of Santos’ business, processing liquids from the Cooper Basin in South Australia’s remote north and shipping them right across the country and the Asia-Pacific.
In the first study of its kind in Australasia, scientists have used 27 natural climate records to create the first large-scale temperature reconstruction for the region over the last 1000 years.
The study was led by researchers at the University of Melbourne and used a range of natural indicators including tree rings, corals and ice cores to study Australasian temperatures over the past millennium and compared them to climate model simulations.
Lead researcher, Dr Joelle Gergis from the University of Melbourne said the results show that there are no other warm periods in the last 1000 years that match the warming experienced in Australasia since 1950.
“Our study revealed that recent warming in a 1000 year context is highly unusual and cannot be explained by natural factors alone, suggesting a strong influence of human-caused climate change in the Australasian region,” she said.
The study published today in the Journal of Climate will form the Australasian region’s contribution to the 5th IPCC climate change assessment report chapter on past climate.
She said using what is known as ‘palaeoclimate’ or natural records, such as tree rings, corals and ice cores, are fundamental in evaluating regional and global climate variability over centuries before direct temperature records started in 1910.
Dr Gergis collated these natural records provided by decades of work by more than 30 researchers from Australia, New Zealand and around the world.
The reconstruction was developed using 27 natural climate records calculated in 3000 different ways to ensure that the results were robust.
She said reconstructions of regional temperature not only provide a climate picture of the past but also a significant platform to reduce uncertainties associated with future climate variability.
The study is part of a global collaboration, PAGES, Past Global Changes Regional 2K initiative, which is working to reconstruct the last 2000 years of climate across every region in the world in order to reduce uncertainties associated with future climate change projections.
Collaborators include the Climate Change Research Centre and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, University of New South Wales where the climate modeling was conducted.
The study was funded by the Australian Research Council, Federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Past Global Changes (PAGES).
Research and demonstration grants totalling $72.5 million have been awarded as part of the first round of the Federal Government’s Filling the Research Gap and Action on the Ground programs that are part of the $429 million Carbon Farming Futures program.
The Filling the Research Gap program has been allocated a total of $201 million to fund research into new technologies and practices for land managers to reduce emissions and store soil carbon.
The Action on the Ground program will invest a total of $99 million to assist industry and farming groups test and apply research outcomes in real farming situations.
The first round of the Filling the Research Gap program will invest $47.3 million into 58 projects in five key research areas including reducing methane emissions (from livestock and manure), reducing nitrous oxide emissions (from fertilisers and soils), increasing soil carbon and improving modelling capability. The Filling the Research Gap program has been allocated a total of $201 million to fund research into new technologies and practices for land managers to reduce emissions and store soil carbon.
The first round of the Action on the Ground program will invest $25.2 million into 59 projects involving 424 properties around the country which will trial and demonstrate on–farm technologies and innovative practices that store carbon, reduce or mitigate emissions of nitrous oxide and methane and improve farm productivity.
The next funding round for Filling the Research Gap will be announced later this year. The second round of Action on the Ground is expected to open for applications in the first quarter of 2013.
For more information on the successful projects visit Climate Change.
The Federal Government has announced a $1 million funding boost to assist dairy farmers to lower their energy costs.
Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fishers and Forestry Sid Sidebottom said the funding will be provided to Dairy Australia, who will then give tailored energy advice to fairy farmers.
“This grant will help dairies, who have high energy needs, to identify energy efficiency measures that will save them money,” Mr Sidebottom said.
“Dairy Australia will provide energy efficiency advice to dairy farms, including on-farm energy efficiency assessments at over 900 farms.”
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released its first paper in the review of the radiofrequency spectrum between 1427.9 and 1510.9 Mhz (the 1.5 GHz mobile band).
The paper investigates the potential use of the 1.5GHz mobile band for mobile broadband services, which was previously identified by ACMA as one of a number of candidate bands for mobile services.
The paper details drivers for reviewing the 1.5 GHz mobile band and some preliminary options for future arrangements. The primary goal of the paper is to gather views and information from industry to inform the next stage of the review, where more detailed proposals will be developed.
Due to current planning arrangements, the 1.5 GHz mobile band is heavily used in remote and regional areas, but only lightly in metropolitan areas and major population centres and where usage is dominated by one licensee.
The paper can be found here
The Federal Government has announced $20 million in grants to improve the energy efficiency at small and medium businesses and community groups.
Forming part of the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Future package, round two of the Energy Efficiency Information Grants program will aim to assist businesses save money on operating costs will minimising their greenhouse gas emissions.
Federal Minister for Cliamte Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said the response to Round One of the EEIG program had been overwhelmingly successful.
"Small and medium businesses and community groups are under a lot of time pressure. As a result, they often don't have the time, resources or information to find out how to save money by improving energy efficiency."
Applications were assessed by an independent committee on value for money, project effectiveness and delivery, particularly focusing on the strength of relationship between the grant recipient and their network.
Round two of the EEIG program will open in October.
Airservices Australia has announced that its long serving Chief Executive Officer, Greg Russell, has tendered his resignation.
“Mr Russell has been CEO for almost seven years and during this time he has led an extensive transformation of the organisation,” Chairman of Airservices Australia David Forsyth said.
“This includes the rebuilding the Airservices asset base with the replacement of radars, communication systems, control towers and fire stations throughout Australia; the implementation of new satellite based surveillance technology; increased emphasis on training and workforce development; and the commencement of an acquisition process with the Department of Defence for a new jointly operated air traffic system for Australia.”
Andrew Clark, Airservices’ Chief Financial Officer, has been appointed Acting CEO during the search for a new CEO.
AMP Capital has obtained South Australian Government approval to acquire the South Australian Schools Public Private Partnership (PPP) project on behalf of a number of its funds and clients, including AMP Capital’s Community Infrastructure Fund and Core Infrastructure Fund.
AMP Capital Head of Infrastructure Australia and New Zealand Paul Foster said the project has an enterprise value of $232 million.
The project includes six newly constructed schools in Adelaide, ranging from primary, middle, secondary, special education schools and child care centres.
Mr Foster said this acquisition gives AMP Capital managed funds and client’s access to a PPP asset providing availability-based revenue backed by the AAA rated South Australian Government.
“This transaction was sourced through a non-competitive, direct negotiation process and is expected to deliver attractive, double digit investment returns to our clients across the project's remaining 27 year concession period,” he said.
Funds and clients managed by AMP Capital are acquiring 100 per cent of the equity in the project from Lend Lease and Commonwealth Bank of Australia. In addition, AMP Capital is becoming the asset manager of the project.
“This latest deal demonstrates that AMP Capital managed funds and clients are well placed to benefit from the strong flow of opportunities we are currently seeing within the social infrastructure sector. It also reinforces AMP Capital’s strong, ongoing commitment to the Australian PPP market,” he said.
Mr Foster said as governments grapple with a reduced tax base, they are increasingly turning to the private sector to fund the development and delivery of critical economic and social infrastructure assets.
“In addition, a significant number of assets are now coming onto the secondary market from developers looking to exit assets following the construction phase and recycle capital for new projects.
“This is creating good investment opportunities for our clients, many of whom are superannuation funds who are the natural long term owners of these assets,” he said.
Since acquiring management of the AMP Capital Community Infrastructure Fund in September 2010, AMP Capital has acquired four additional social infrastructure assets bringing the total number of assets in the portfolio to eight.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) has announced it will put in place a world-class subsea response solution to mitigate and control any risk of uncontrolled discharges from offshore wells.
“The continued development of offshore oil and gas is essential for Australia’s prosperity and energy security, but the industry must ensure we have access to the latest systems, technology and expertise to achieve the highest standards for our environment and safety performance,” APPEA Chief Executive, David Byers, said.
“The funding and development of a Subsea First Response Toolkit (SFRT) not only demonstrates the industry’s technological advancement, but also its commitment to continuous improvement and world’s best practice.”
The APPEA have made the move to an industry-wide practice following the Montara and Macondo offshore incidents, saying that subsequent inquiry recommendations have highlighted the need for an coherent, ubiquitous approach to safety regulations of offshore management.
A University of Queensland researcher has discovered nine new genes that drive the development of breast cancer, taking the tally of all genes associated with breast cancer development to 40.
Published recently in Nature journal, the study is part of an international initiative to sequence the genomes of a variety of cancers. Professor Sunil Lakhani from the UQ Centre for Clinical Research along with an international team of breast cancer researchers lead by Professor Michael Stratton (Sanger Institute, UK), examined all the genes in the genomes of 100 cases of breast cancer.
Professor Sunil Lakhani said mutated cancer-causing genes (called driver genes) were different in different cancer samples, indicating that breast cancer is genetically very diverse.
“Understanding the consequences of this diversity will be important in progressing towards more rational treatment,” Professor Lakhani said.
“The idea behind the work was to establish ‘the landscape' of genetic changes in breast cancer with a view to understanding which genes drive a breast cell to become cancerous.”
“Recently, we have begun to appreciate that breast cancer is not one disease but has several different subtypes. However, what the study shows is that the diversity and differences between patients is much greater than appreciated. Although 28 of the 100 cancers had a single driver mutation, some had as many as six. There were 40 different cancer genes implicated in the development of the cancer and in 73 different combinations – almost every cancer is therefore unique.”
“It is showing us that we will have to use broad information about cancer subtypes (as we do at present in the clinic) and combine it with the unique genomic features of each patients cancer in order to provide individualised treatment plans – which will be a challenge, but hopefully will also improve outcomes by providing new opportunities to target the mutations with specific drugs.”
The research was carried out at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, one of the world's leading genome centres, located in the UK.
A report compiled by the Australian Industry Group (AI Group) shows that the resources sector remains the main driver of growth in the non-residential construction sector for 2012 and 2013.
According to the latest Australian Industry Group/Australian Constructors Association Construction Outlook survey, construction businesses expect the total value of engineering and commercial construction to expand 14.7 per cent in 2012, and 13.8 per cent in 2013.
Mining investment and heavy industrial projects, led by the oil and gas processing will drive growth in the sector by 17.1 per cent in 2012 and 15.4 per cent in 2013.
"Australia's engineering construction sector is powering ahead by virtue of its role in the massive scaling-up of Australia's mining capacity. This part of the industry is bursting at the seams with skill shortages widely anticipated and rising expectations of shortages of raw materials and equipment,” AI Group CEO Innes Willox said.
“The Construction Outlook Report also points to a tentative, although very welcome recovery in commercial construction after a particularly tough period since the Global Financial Crisis.”
Australian Constructors Association (ACA) President, Peter Brecht, said: "The survey underlines the continuing strong growth phase in Australia's non-residential construction industry driven by the resources sector and backed by the sustained expansion of a range of non-mining infrastructure projects.
The key findings of the survey include:
- After a growth of 8.2% in 2011 (current prices), the latest Australian Industry Group/Australian Constructors Association Construction Outlook survey forecasts growth in the total value of engineering and commercial construction work of 14.7% in 2012 and 13.8% in 2013.
- This growth will be driven by engineering construction which is expected to increase by 17.1% in 2012 and 15.4% in 2013.
- Within engineering construction, the value of mining infrastructure work and heavy industrial resource based construction is forecast to expand at annual rates of 20% plus in 2012 and 2013.
- Other key growth areas include telecommunications, electricity generation and supply projects and other civil projects such as port upgrades and terminals.
- Supply constraints and input cost pressures are at high levels within the industry: Almost two-thirds (63.6%) of businesses reported major or moderate difficulty recruiting qualified labour in the six months to March 2012 while 45.4% reported the same level of difficulty when it came to sourcing building materials.
- A higher proportion of businesses (69.7%) expect moderate to major difficulty when recruiting skilled labour over the next six months.
- These supply constraints are being reflected in upward pressures on costs. 78.8% of businesses expect moderate or major lifts in direct labour costs in the six months to September 2012.
The full report can be found here (PDF)
Billabong has announced the appointment of Launa Inman as the company’s new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, effective this week.
Ms Inman will replace outgoing CEO Derek O’Neill, who has resigned from the company after a 20-year long stint at the surfware giant.
Billabong Chairman Ted Kunkel said Ms Inman’s skills and depth of knowledge of the retail sector will be crucial to the company’s future growth.
“Launa has proven leadership capabilities in managing and delivering results in challenging environments and uncertain times.,” Mr Kunkel said.
Ms Inman has spent the last two months consulting with the company, which she describes as one of the most iconic Australian brands.
“We need to continue to drive our turnaround strategy, moving to a fully integrated operating model powered by the strength of our brands. The first priorities of the turnaround strategy will be to extract greater value from our retail network and strengthening supply chain management,” Ms Inman said.
Prior to her appointment at Billabong, Ms Inman was the Managing Director of Target for seven years, prior to which she was the Managing director of Officeworks.
WorkSafe Victoria has announced a free workshop aimed at providing employers with advice they need to help reintegrate injured workers into the workforce.
Held in Santurary Lakes on 24 May, the two-and-a-half hour workshop will focus on key knowledge and communication skills required by employers to improve return to work outcomes.
Medical Doctor David Bolzonello will provide a key address to help employers understand the health perspective of reintroducing injured workers, while also helping employers build a collaborative relationship with the injured worker’s doctor.
WorkSafe’s Return to Work project manager Danielle Jacobs said it was essential businesses had the necessary skills needed to help get injured workers back to safe work.
“Helping an injured worker to return to safe, sustainable work sooner – even if it’s on reduced hours and modified or alternative duties – can achieve a better return to work outcome in the long-term.”
“It also helps the business maintain productivity and keep the cost of WorkSafe premiums down.”
Ms Jacobs said a recent employer performance analysis revealed employers who attended the WorkSafe return to work co-ordinator events on average achieved better return to work outcomes than those who didn’t attend.
“Attending this workshop will help you build your return to work knowledge, give you a chance to discuss your return to work issues with experts and meet and learn from other Return to Work Coordinators from your area and industry.”
The event will be held from 9.30am to midday at the Sanctuary Lakes Resort Greg Norman Drive, Sanctuary Lakes, 3030.
Employers are encouraged to register to the event by clicking on the ‘workshops and events section’ at: www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/rtw
For more information on the event, please contact WorkSafe’s Return to Work Project Manager, Danielle Jacobs on 9940 4283.
The Victorian Government has announced the appointment of John Wylie AM as the new President of the Library Borad of Victoria.
Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu welcomed the appointment of Mr Wylie, a Rhodes Scholar, to the role. Previously, My Wylie has held senior roles in the investment banking and global corporate advisory fields, such as holding the role of CEO of Lazard Australia.
"John's outstanding career history, which has seen him advise global companies and governments for more than 25 years, will stand him in good stead to lead the library as it continues its commitment to being a library of the 21st century," Mr Baillieu said.
Mr Wylie holds degrees of Bachelor of Commerce with first class honours from Queensland University, and a Master of Philosophy from Oxford University. He is currently a Trustee of the Global Rhodes Trust and Chairman of Rhodes Scholarships in Australia Pty Ltd.
He has held a number of corporate and honorary directorships and was appointed Chairman of the MCG Trust in 1999, a position he still holds. In that capacity he oversaw the redevelopment of the ground from 2001 to 2006 for Melbourne's 2006 Commonwealth Games.
"I am honoured to be asked to serve as President of this iconic Victorian cultural institution, and look forward to working with CEO Sue Roberts and the Board as the Library adapts to the new online environment," Mr Wylie said.
Mr Wylie has been appointed for three years and will work closely with new CEO of the State Library, Sue Roberts, who took up her role in April.
A record La Niña event coupled with tropical cyclone Tasha generated most of the record deluge of rain that devastated much of Queensland in December 2010, but a new study has found that record high sea-surface temperatures off northern Australia was also a significant contributor.
While it was thought that the twin impacts of the La Niña and the cyclone alone could explain why Queensland’s December rainfall was an all-time high at 154% above normal, the new calculations by climate researchers have revealed that evaporation from the warmer seas to the north and north-west of Australia probably contributed about a quarter of the total.
Sea-surface temperatures off northern Australia in the Indian Ocean, Arafura Sea and Coral Sea were unusually warm at the time, in places as much as 2 degrees C, the study notes: analysing 30 years of historic measurements, the study identified a general warming trend there of at least 0.2 degrees C per decade.
“If the observed warming trend in the sea-surface temperatures continues, this result suggests that future La Niña events are more likely to produce extreme precipitation and flooding than is present in the historical record,” says Dr Jason Evans, of the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre. Dr Evans led the study, to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, with a French co-author, Dr Irène Boyer-Souchet.
“If the sea-surface temperature increases can be attributed to global warming, then the probability of La Niña events producing extreme precipitation responses similar to December 2010 will increase in the future.”
The researchers caution, however, that this was the strongest La Niña event during the satellite record and that equally extreme events may have occurred before the satellite record began.
The extreme December rains – coming after a wet spring - produced nine floods that affected almost 1,300,000 square kilometres of land, caused billions of dollars in damage, led to the evacuation of thousands of people, and resulted in 35 deaths.
La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean are well known to enhance Queensland’s rainfall. The heaviest falls occurred between December 23 and 28, 2010, when a moist easterly airflow covered most of Queensland and Cyclone Tasha made landfall south of Cairns. Large parts of eastern Queensland received more than 100 mm of rain and several stations set all-time daily records, with some receiving around 300 mm in one day.
Modelling reconstructions showed that on December 14, a low-pressure centre formed off the north-west coast of Australia and moisture-laden air was carried east to New Guinea then south into Queensland, contributing directly to heavy rain between December 23 and 26.
Black carbon aerosols and ozone, both man-made pollutants emitted predominantly in the Northern Hemisphere’s low- to mid-latitudes, are most likely pushing the boundary of the tropics further poleward in that hemisphere, new research has shown.
While depletion of the ozone layer high up in the stratosphere has already been shown to be the primary driver of the expansion of the tropics in the Southern Hemisphere, the researchers are the first to report that black carbon and ozone pollution nearer the Earth’s surface are probably doing likewise in the Northern Hemisphere.
The study results appear in the May 17 issue of the journal Nature. The research team was led by climatologist Robert J. Allen, at the University of California, Riverside, and included Professor Steven Sherwood, co-director of the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre.
The observed tropical belt expansion by 0.7 degrees latitude per decade has been greater than climate models predicted, but this study considered newer estimates of regional trends in air pollution. When this data was included, the models more closely agreed with the observations.
The researchers note that an unabated tropical belt expansion would have an impact on large-scale atmospheric circulation, especially in the subtropics and mid-latitudes.
“Both black carbon and tropospheric ozone warm the tropics by absorbing solar radiation,” Allen says. “Because they are short-lived pollutants, with lifetimes of one to two weeks, their concentrations remain highest near the sources: the Northern Hemisphere low- to mid-latitudes. It’s the heating of the mid-latitudes that pushes the boundaries of the tropics poleward.
“If the tropics are moving poleward, then the subtropics will become even drier. If a poleward displacement of the mid-latitude storm tracks also occurs, this will shift mid-latitude precipitation poleward, impacting regional agriculture, economy, and society.”
Climate scientists have observed that the tropics have widened by 0.7 degrees latitude per decade in recent times, with warming from greenhouse gases also contributing to the expansion in both hemispheres.
“This has typically been blamed on global warming, although in the Southern Hemisphere some studies have suggested the ozone hole may be playing a lead role,” says Sherwood.
“We have confirmed the finding that ozone loss has been the main driver in the Southern Hemisphere, but also that air pollution trends - mainly increases in China and to some extent India - appear to have been the dominant counterpart driver in the Northern Hemisphere. Both are beating out global warming driven by greenhouse gas increases.
“The ability of air pollutants to cause such an expansion derives from the geographic pattern of the changes, with increased emissions from Asia and decreased emissions from Europe, rather than any trend in the worldwide amount of pollution.”
The Federal Government has outlined further reform under the Empowering Local Schools initiative, with schools able to share teachers and principals given a greater say in financial management and staff selection.
Federal School Education Minister and NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli outlined the reforms, which will operate in 229 government schools in NSW over the next two years.
The Federal Government is providing NSW $12.5 million to roll out the initiative.
Mr Piccoli said the funding provided for the first phase of Empowering Local Schools will help implement key elements of the NSW Government’s Local Schools, Local Decisions reforms.
"Our Local Schools, Local Decisions policy is a roadmap for change that puts more decision-making authority in the hands of each school and gives them the opportunity to respond to the needs of their students based on their specific circumstances,” he said.
Mr Garrett said the Federal Government is providing states, territories and non-government schools with over $69 million over the next two years to implement school autonomy reforms in up to 1000 schools across Australia.
“We are doing it because we know it works. Evidence from overseas and pilot programs here in NSW have confirmed that when principals feel empowered and the local community is more involved, student attendance and results often improve,” he said.
NSW government schools taking part in the scheme will have a range of options, including:
- Principals will have greater flexibility over staffing including being able to share teaching and non-teaching staff with other schools or groups of schools; and having a greater say in selection of staff.
- Schools will control about 70% of their budget, up from just 10%.
- Schools will have a greater say over infrastructure decisions, including being able to hire local contractors and make better use of local tradespeople and businesses, and being able to share facilities and resources with other schools.
- Each school will develop a single School Plan each year to manage their resources and improve student results, helping reduce administrative burdens.
- Schools will introduce better performance management and professional development for teachers and principals.
Mr Piccoli said once reforms were embedded in the first group of schools, greater authority would be rolled out across all NSW Government schools over the next four years.
"We already trust our teachers and principals to put students at the centre of every decision they make. We know we can trust them to use the resources available to them to improve the learning of every student," he said.
Mr Garrett said the Gillard Government was also providing $5.4 million to implement Empowering Local Schools in 64 Catholic Schools and 38 independent schools in NSW.
The ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genomic research are the focus of a new international collaboration to use web 2.0 technologies to build a "collaboratory" infrastructure for ELSI research globally.
Professor Don Chalmers of the University of Tasmania Centre of Law and Genetics and the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania is one of the authors of a paper published in Science that outlines the initiative iwhich s designed to catalyse international collaboration in ELSI genomics and to better assess the impact and dynamics of global genome research.
Professor Chalmers believes that enabling large-scale global collaborations are essential for ELSI research to become more effective and efficient.
"This will lead to the development of better local, regional and international practice and policy," he said.
Dr Jane Kaye of the University of Oxford said ELSI 2.0 will also connect stakeholders in research from around the world, "allowing us to develop new ways of working together."
"By using 2.0 technologies we can develop global perspectives and solutions to pressing issues in genomics," Dr Kaye said.
Professor Eric Juengst regards ELSI 2.0 as being highly innovative.
"It will not just be a discussion board but will allow real-time collaborations to enable capacity building between people across the globe, whether they be healthcare professionals, researchers, patient advocacy groups, patients or research participants, policy makers or funders.
"It is an opportunity to use technology to break down barriers and to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and resources in new and equitable ways."
What will ELSI 2.0 do?
- ELSI 2.0 will make it easy for an ELSI scholar in Africa to connect with other scholars around the world or to tap into resources not otherwise readily available.
- For a US-based advocacy organisation, the Collaboratory will provide essential services to extend the reach of work otherwise locked up in the academic literature.
- A funder in the European Union could request a rapid response team to respond to ad hoc, short-notice requests related to emerging issues or to forecast important policy directions.
- A patient could become an active participant in ELSI research or find literature and experts on subjects such as direct-to-consumer testing.
The upgraded facilities of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) have been officially opened at Chowder Bay in Mosman, following investment of $20 million to upgrade and construct laboratories, expand seawater research aquarium facilities and purchase and install a range of marine research equipment.
The Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund provided $19.5 million for the institute’s new facilities, while the NSW Government and Ian Potter Foundation contributed $600,000 each.
SIMS was established in 2005 in buildings previously occupied by the Army’s Maritime Transport Wing.
More information about SIMS is at http://www.sims.org.au/
The ANZ bank has announced plans to invest a further $300 million in its China operations to support further growth in the country.
After becoming the first Australian bank to locally incorporate in China, the company invested an initial $395 million to launch its operations.
Speaking in Beijing, ANZ CEO Mike Smith said the move will allow the bank to expand its network beyond Beijing, Shanghai, Chongquing and Guangzhou to 20 outlets over the coming 10 years, pending regulatory approval.
“Our business in China has grown steadily since we established a presence in 1986 and the additional capital we plan to invest in ANZ China will support further network expansion, growth in customer lending, employee recruitment and product development to better service our customers,” Mr Smith said.
“ANZ aims to become a super regional bank in the Asia Pacific region, and China is a strategically important market for us. We are making good progress towards our goal of earning 25% to 30% of Group profit from outside Australia and New Zealand by 2017.”
Mr Smith took the opportunity to reiterate the bank’s long-term commitment to China, saying the investment will significantly boost the bank’s local growth capability.
ANZ also has 20% stakes in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank and Bank of Tianjin, and a fully-owned rural bank in Liangping county, the Chongqing Liangping ANZ Rural Bank Co Ltd.
The planned capital investment is subject to regulatory approvals.
The report of the Parliamentary inquiry into the collapse of Trio Capital, the largest superannuation fraud in Australian history, has found that key checks and balances in the Australian financial and superannuation system failed to identify the fraud.
The report found that both the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) failed to recognize key events in setting up the fraud, failed to detect the fraud, and were slow to communicate the evidence of fraud and to take action.
The report stated that although APRA had conducted five prudential reviews between 2004 and 2009, it took no enforcement action as a consequence of any of these reviews. Further ASIC only began its investigation into Trio in October 2009 after it had been tipped off by ‘an alert industry participant’.
The report noted that from late 2008 to mid 2009, APRA was unable to obtain from Trio a valuation of certain Trio funds' assets.
“The committee questions how a trustee can be subject of what APRA describes as 'active supervision' over a period of six years and yet, when essential information was not forthcoming at the end of this period, APRA did not act quickly. For a risk based supervisor, as APRA is, the inability of a trustee to provide basic valuation information should have raised strong concerns.”
Further, APRA did not communicate to ASIC its requests for Trio to provide information from late 2008 to mid-2009, failing to alert the Commission about Trio when it began active surveillance of hedge funds in June 2009.
The report also questioned the validity of evidence given by ASIC and APRA about the existence of the principal underlying asset of the ARP Growth Fund, and suggested the two agencies “failed to fully investigate the alternative possibility: there may have never been a contract and the ARP Growth Fund was a fraudulent venture.”
The Parliamentary Committee also expressed surprise that “there appears to have been very little follow up activity by APRA, ASIC and other authorities such as the AFP, to seek to recover outstanding moneys or to bring to justice those who have committed crimes which have led to great suffering on the part of Australian investors.”
The report also highlighted the role of financial advisers in the losses suffered by investors. Two particular advisers operating in Wollongong and Sydney’s North Shore were identified in connection with Trio, and the report suggested that “their recommendations were influenced by the high commissions paid by Trio”.
The report made 14 recommendations in relation to the Trio fraud and to improve detection and public awareness of superannuation fraud.
The full report into the collapse of Trio Capital, tabled by the Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, is available here.