The Dow Chemical Company and The University of Queensland have unveiled a strategic partnership that will establish the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation.
Funded through a Dow contribution worth $10 million over the next six years, the newl Centre will pursue a program of research and collaboration aimed at harnessing solutions to the sustainability challenges of the 21st Century.
“This is a lighthouse initiative - hot-housing innovation at the urban energy, water and carbon nexus, which will attract international attention to the issues of sustainability and position Dow and UQ as leaders, achievers and contributors to society,” Dow Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris said.
“The Center confirms our mutual commitment to sustainability through its focus on high impact outcomes of global significance and delivery of knowledge and leadership for future generations within an operational framework that provides economic prosperity while respecting community values and the environment.”
This is the first time Dow has signed such an agreement with an Australian university.
“Dow and UQ are natural partners,” Mr Liveris said. “The University's strategic intent and core strengths in science and engineering align well with those of Dow. Dow's culture of discovery and innovation, a focus on advanced manufacturing and new markets, and a commitment to sustainability are closely matched by the new initiatives driven by global sustainability challenges that are defining UQ's strategic direction.”
UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said The Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation would be a driving force of the University's sustainability agenda.
“We expect the Centre to become a magnet for talented staff and students and to affirm UQ's leadership in the fields of science and engineering.”
Sydney doctor and philanthropist Tom Wenkart has donated $4 million to endow the University of Sydney Wenkart Chair in Endothelium Medicine at the Centenary Institute.
The inaugural Chair is Jennifer Gamble, Professor of Vascular Biology and one of the pioneers of endothelium research.
Professor Gamble's work has already transformed our understanding of the role of endothelial cells.
"Fifty years ago we just regarded blood vessels as simple pipes," she said. "Today we know that they're much more complex - a living, changing organ that rapidly reacts to threats.
"You prick your finger on a rose thorn - within the hour the wound is inflamed and itching as your body mobilises to fight infection. That's the endothelium in action," says Professor Gamble.
These same endothelial cells are implicated when things go wrong in atherosclerosis and auto-immune disease. And tumours need endothelial cells to form blood vessels - without new blood vessels, tumours won't grow.
We each have within us some 80,000 kilometres of pipelines, that carry the essential supplies needed to all parts of our body. The endothelial cells that form this network of blood vessels are essentially a hidden organ weighing about one kilogram.
The endothelial cells maintain these perfect, smooth pipelines year after year but then, when there's an accident they turn into traffic police within minutes, allowing white blood cells to pass through the wall of the blood vessels, and giving emergency services access to the scene.
In 1985, working in Seattle and Adelaide, Professor Gamble showed that if endothelial cells are stimulated then white blood cells bind to them - the start of inflammation.
Now we know much more about the role of these cells in immunity, heart disease, cancer and other conditions. But Professor Gamble says it's still early days in this field of study.
"I hope that, over the next decade or two we'll be able to understand and control the endothelium in diseases — especially inflammation and those associated with ageing such as atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's."
Tom Wenkart says that's what excites him about this field of research. "These endothelial cells play a critical role throughout the body. I believe they're the key to understanding heart disease, for example. What is happening in my body today that could lead to a heart attack in 20 years?"
The Centenary Institute, University of Sydney is an independent leader in medical research seeking improved treatments and cures for cancer, cardiovascular and infectious diseases.
Dr Bates Gill, formerly Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.
Dr Gates, who will succeed Professor Geoffrey Garrett, is a distinguished think tank leader with strong policy links in the United States, Asia and Europe. His previous positions include serving as Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and as inaugural Director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, both in Washington DC.
An expert on American defence and security issues in East Asia with a focus on China, Dr Gill has overseen the publication of the last four SIPRI Yearbooks on Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, all published by Oxford University Press. He is also author of Rising Star: China's New Security Diplomacy published by the Brookings Institution Press.
Dr Gill is expected to take up the appointment in October. Until then, Professor Garrett will continue to serve as CEO of the US Studies Centre in addition to his new duties as Dean of the University of Sydney Business School.
The University of Sydney has appointed two internationally regarded experts to head up its China Studies Centre.
Dr Kerry Brown will take up the role of Professor and Executive Director of the Centre, and Professor David Goodman will become the Academic Director of the Centre.
Dr Brown is currently Head of the Asia Programme at Chatham House and Leader of the Europe China Research and Advice Network (ECRAN), funded by the European Union and offering advice directly into the External Action Service.
Dr Brown has held a number of high level diplomatic, government and think tank posts as well as holding affiliations with various academic institutions in China, at Cambridge, the London School of Oriental and African Studies and Nottingham University. He was previously Head of the Indonesia, Philippines and East Timor Section at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, Head of Policy at UK Visas, First Secretary at the British Embassy in Beijing, and worked in the China Section at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Professor David Goodman is currently the Acting Director of the China Studies Centre and Professor of Chinese Politics at the University. He was previously the Director of the East Asia Centre at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Chair of the Asian Studies Program and Director of the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University. At University of Technology, Sydney he established and developed the Institute for International Studies and later became Pro Vice-Chancellor, and then Deputy Vice-Chancellor International. More recently, he was the Director of the University's Institute of Social Sciences and Associate Dean International within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
"With his track record of academic leadership Professor Goodman is the ideal person to steer the research and teaching programs of the China Studies Centre", said Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence. "We are delighted to have secured his expertise."
Professor Goodman has a PhD in Chinese Politics from the London School of Oriental and African Studies. He has been involved in course and program design of numerous degree programs at three different universities in the last 25 years. He has taught undergraduate and postgraduate students in Chinese politics, history, language and literature.
The University of Sydney China Studies Centre is dedicated to working for the mutual benefit of Australia and China. Established in 2011, it has more than 130 academic staff engaged in the study of China and facilitates cross disciplinary research and teaching as well as extensive public programs.
The William Angliss Institute has been announced as the successful applicant for a million dollar Strategic Tourism Investment Grant, and will develop and deliver a tailored business skills curriculum through the Indigenous Land Corporation's (ILC) National Indigenous Training Academy at Ayers Rock Resort.
The William Angliss Institute is the largest specialist single purpose provider of tourism, hospitality and foods training in the Southern Hemisphere and has experience in delivering Indigenous training in Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
This grant builds on the work by the Institute, in partnership with the ILC, to train Indigenous trainees at the Ayers Rock Resort through the Australian Government's Indigenous Employment Program.
The Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson said that using the National Tourism Accreditation Standards, the training by William Angliss will include customer service and understanding customer expectations, preparing plans for business, marketing, environmental management and health and safety.
"Importantly it also includes a mentoring program which will match students with mentors who have hands-on business experience," said Minister Ferguson.
"There is a lot of local interest in this training and over the long-term it is expected to improve the Indigenous tourism experience in the region by not only increasing a trained local workforce, but also expanding the diversity and quality of Indigenous businesses.
Strategic Tourism Investment Grants under the T-QUAL Grants program offer funding to eligible tourism projects aimed at delivering three key national priorities - Indigenous tourism, economic development and tourism employment.
More information on the T-QUAL Grants – Strategic Tourism Investment Grants is available at http://www.ret.gov.au/tourism/business/tq/tgrants/stig/Pages/default.aspx
The University of Tasmania has received a $3 million philanthropic grant from the JO and JR Wicking Trust to support research on dementia.
The grant builds on the original $1.5million given by the Trust in 2007 for the establishment of the UTAS Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre in the UTAS Faculty of Health Science.
The second grant will enable the further growth and development of the UTAS Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre for the next five years.
Instigators and Co-Directors of the Wicking Centre, Professor Andrew Robinson and Professor James Vickers, said the grant will allow them to continue translational research, which focuses on dementia, looking at the biological basis of the diseases that cause dementia and the development of health services provided for people with dementia and their carers.
Prof Robinson said the Centre’s goal is to prepare Tasmania and Australia for the increased number of people with dementia.
“As our population ages and one million people in Australia are projected to have a dementia by 2050, we need to explore ways in which we can better support people with dementia and their carers, both in the community and in residential aged care.”
Prof Vickers said being supported by the Wicking Trust to 2017 allows the Wicking Centre to build capacity and capability.
“This funding will allow us to attract more high profile researchers in neuroscience and nursing to better understand the causes of and treatments for dementia,” he said.
Teresa Zolnierkiewicz, Head of Philanthropy for ANZ Trustees which administers the JO and JR Wicking Trust, said the UTAS Wicking Dementia and Research Education Centre grant is a flagship grant of the Trust, which since 2005 has made grants totalling $33mill to address issues of ageing, Alzheimers and dementia.
“The benefactors, John and Janet Wicking, had the vision to devote their Trust to these issues, and would be proud of the world class work carried out by the Centre. We have been impressed with the Centre’s achievements over its first five years and are delighted to support them for a further five years.
For more information about the UTAS Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, visit http://www.utas.edu.au/wicking/
The University of Wollongong and BlueScope Steel have joined forces with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, one of the world’s leading renewable energy and sustainable building research organisations, in a new solar technology research and demonstration project with the support of $477,000 from the Australian Solar Institute.
Research will be undertaken into optimised configurations for a unique arrangement of solar cells that will not only provide solar electricity but also assist in heating and cooling the buildings they are fitted on.
The focus of the partnership will be the development of Building Integrated Photovoltaic Thermal (BIPVT) configurations suited to existing buildings, which aligns with retrofitting as the major focus of the University’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC).
The BIPVT retrofit system involves refurbishment of an existing roof by adding a new roof deck above the existing roof surface. The new roof deck incorporates solar cells, and air then flows in the duct created under the new roof surface.
This air flow will not only help cool the solar cells during warm weather, improving generation efficiency, but it will also help to heat and cool the building. Warm air generated in winter is used for heating, and as heat is radiated from the cells on summer nights, cool air is then supplied to the building, increasing overall energy efficiency.
“The ultimate goal of the collaboration with BlueScope Steel and the Fraunhofer Institute is to develop design and decision-support tools to optimise the system for retrofitting to a wide range of building types and climates,” Director of the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, Professor Paul Cooper said.
“We will also be studying ways in which we can incorporate new phase-change materials to further improve the efficiency of these BIPVT systems.
“We are focussing on retrofitting because less than 2 per cent of existing building stock in Australia is replaced in any given year.
“New system configurations will not only be tested in laboratory settings but will also be demonstrated on the roof of our new Research Centre and other buildings in the Illawarra region as part of our Living Lab project to work out the best way to install the newest of technologies on older buildings,” Professor Cooper said.
“The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre building, which is under construction on the Innovation Campus, is targeting net zero energy use and we will be using the BIPVT technology to help us achieve that goal.”
The University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre will play a major role in the national research effort required to develop new technologies that help to reduce carbon emissions from existing homes and buildings.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released a discussion paper inviting comment on draft documents relating to Telstra's establishment of an Independent Telecommunications Adjudicator (ITA).
"The confidence of Telstra's wholesale customers in the ITA will be important to ensure the success of Telstra's interim equivalence and transparency commitments and its obligations under the migration plan," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
Telstra's structural separation undertaking requires Telstra to implement a number of dispute resolution processes, including an ITA scheme.
The establishment of the ITA requires ACCC approval of an ITA Constitution, a Charter of Independence and of the appointment of an individual to the role of the ITA Adjudicator.
In order to assist the ACCC in its decision making on the ITA, the ACCC has released a discussion paper inviting interested parties to comment on draft versions of the ITA Constitution and Charter of Independence.
The discussion paper will be available at http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/1042497
The ACCC will consider submissions received by 5 P.M. on 20 April 2012 in its decision to accept or reject the draft documents.
The latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows an in increase job vacancies by 0.7 per cent in February, showing a turn around from a previous spate of declines.
The ABS findings come after the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) released findings that show medium sized companies are increasingly looking to expand operations.
The CBA’s Future Business Index found companies are reporting a far more confident outlook for business conditions over the next six months and are reporting strong expectations for increases in revenue.
The bi-annual index of mid-sized companies earning between $10 - $100 million, found that despite patchy results across sectors and states, all companies surveyed reporting a positive increase from the September index.
According to Symon Brewis-Weston, Commonwealth Bank’s Executive General Manager of Corporate Financial Services, the latest findings were a clear sign that confidence was returning to the market.
“We’ve been on wobbly ground for some time, however businesses are showing us that it’s not all doom and gloom and are adopting a much more bullish attitude than has been seen previously,” said Mr Brewis-Weston.
“Appetite for investment is on the way up; the fact that businesses are looking at this over a six month time horizon also shows they have more conviction about the direction they want to take. This shift in attitude comes against the backdrop of continuing change in financial markets and at a time when cost pressures remain relatively high.”
“What this means is they are prepared to look at expansion despite the challenges that are still confronting them. Many mid-market companies have been sitting on sizeable cash reserves for some time and it’s clear they are now re-visiting original investment plans that had been put on hold.”
Almost half (49%) of businesses expect their revenue to increase over the coming six months, with a similar figure (44%) indicating this will flow on to an associated increase in profits. On net balance, both revenue and profit expectations were up 8% since September. Over one-third (38%) said they expected to increase capital expenditure, up 12% on net balance, with roughly one-third (31%) saying they expected to take on new staff over the next six months, up 5% on net balance.
The Federal Government has released a new handbook to assist farmers, landholders, waste operators and other clean energy businesses take part in the Federal Government’s Carbon Farmining Initative.
“The Carbon Farming Initiative Handbook will be a great resource for Australia’s farmers. It sets out how farmers and landholders can improve land and farm sustainability while generating carbon credits that can be sold on domestic and international markets,“ Parlimentary Secretary for Climate Change and energy Efficiency.
So far, several methodologies have been approved under the CFI, including reducing methane in piggeries, flaring landfill gas, planting n ative tree species and reducing pollution from savanna fires.
CSIRO, universities and other research bodies are developing a number of other methodologies with the federal government, including dairy cattle food supplementation, enhanced efficiency fertilisers, manure management and soil carbon.
“Climate change poses a serious risk to the future of Australian agriculture and food production, with scientists confirming a strong link to less predictable and more intense weather events,” said Mr Dreyfus.
“Australian farmers and landholders have an important role to play in our nation’s clean energy future by increasing the land sector's resilience to climate change and improving long term farm productivity.”
Further information about the Carbon Farming Initiative is available at www.climatechange.gov.au/cfi
The Federal Government has opened the detailed modeling tool used by the Gonski Review of School Funding to state and territory governments, non-government schools and school education unions.
School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the education community would benefit the use of extensive and up-to-date data and allow them to test the School Resource Standard (SRS) model.
Mr Garrett said sharing the modelling tool used by the review panel in developing its recommendations will allow school authorities to trial how an SRS could work in practice for schools and school systems. Representatives from state governments, non-government schools and unions will also be given separate technical briefings of the Gonski modelling over the next few days.
“As Mr Gonski and the review panel made clear, there is still a lot of work to do to test and refine the various elements of their proposed funding model. This includes testing the proposed funding amount per student, and examining whether the loadings for disadvantage are set at the right levels,” Mr Garrett said.
“We are asking everyone involved in school funding to carry out these tests and come back and share the results with the various working groups we’ve established, as well as the Ministerial Reference Group.
“This will allow us to see where the SRS model might need refining and tweaking, how it might impact on schools and systems, and also gain a better understanding of any financial implications.”
NSW is able to enjoy one of the healthiest sex industries ever documented due to the decriminalisation of sex work in NSW combined with a free market approach, according to a report into NSW Health.
International authorities regard the NSW regulatory framework as best practice – the result of decades of partnership by government, community organisations, health workers and researchers, according to the report, The Sex Industry in New South Wales.
The report was launched by Mr Peter Collins, Minister for Health in the Greiner Government 1988-91 and the Coalition representative on the ground-breaking NSW Parliament Select Committee on Prostitution that reported in 1986.
Decriminalisation of the industry in 1995 led to a dramatic reduction in police corruption and sex worker exploitation.
There is still room for improvement. Many local councils routinely refused development applications for brothels, resulting in some brothels masquerading as massage parlours with poor occupational health and safety standards.
Lance Schema, Executive Director of the lead sex worker agency in NSW for HIV, STI and Hepatitis C education and prevention, Sex Workers Outreach Project said, “This report provides clear evidence to inform policy development. We commend the Kirby Institute for pulling together this report that will and should assist governments in developing future policies relating to the sex industry.”
More information can be found here.
Mining exploration company Mindax has announced the appointment of Loh Kgai Mun as the company’s new director.
Mr Loh has been appointed with immediate effect and will offer himself for election at the companty’s next annual general meeting.
Mr Loh is the Executive Director of Lion Asiapac Limited, a company listed on the Singapore Exchange, since August 2008.
Mr Loh has extensive experience in wealth management, including companies with multi-national operations.
Prior to 2008, he was the Group General Manager of Lion Asiapac Limited and oversaw operational, financial, and management matters of the Lion Asiapac group.
Jetstar has announced the appointment of Barathan Pasupathi as the new Chief Executive Officer of the company’s Asia brand.
Mr Pasupathi brings 16 years of experience in senior roles, including in the energy, aviation and finance sectors. Mr Pasupathi previously served as Jetstar Asia’s first Chief Financial Officer.
Chairman of Newstar (holding company of Jetstar Asia) Mr Dennis Choo said Mr Pasupathi, a Singapore national, would lead Jetstar Asia and Valuair as their networks expand into some of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world.
“We are very pleased to have an executive of Mr Pasupathi’s calibre to lead Jetstar Asia into the next phase of its development,” Mr Choo said.
“As one of the founding executives of Jetstar Asia, Mr Pasupathi has a first-hand understanding of our business as well as the aviation sector overall.
“His 10 years’ experience in oil and gas industry has equipped him with detailed knowledge of the leading cost driver in aviation, namely fuel, and his familiarity with supply chain management gives him a sharp sense of process optimisation,” Mr Choo added.
Paul Daff will continue as acting Chief Executive Officer of Jetstar Asia until Mr Pasupathi starts in his new role on 2 July 2012.
The University of Wollongong (UOW) and Ecotech have announced a partnership to manufacture and distribute a one-of-a-kind comprehensive greenhouse gas analyser to worldwide markets.
The new Ecotech instrument, known as the Spectronus analyser, delivers a high precision, real-time analysis of all principal greenhouse gases and has, according to its researchers, capabilities unmatched by its competitors.
The analyser has applications in background air monitoring and in quantifying the emissions and uptake of greenhouse gases by ecosystems and industries, especially agriculture.
The Spectronus analyser offers, for the first time, a single high-accuracy instrument which simultaneously measures important greenhouse gases and is complemented by powerful operating software which results in a flexible, fully-automated system that can be controlled remotely – a world first.
Ecotech is an Australian-owned company with more than 35 years’ experience providing environmental monitoring solutions. It specialises in ambient air, emissions, dust, process gas, water and blast monitoring solutions, and exports instruments throughout the world.
For more information, click here.
Deakin University in collaboration with CSIRO in Geelong and the Poultry Co-Operative Research Centre have come together to produce allergy-free eggs for use in food consumption and the production of common vaccines such as flu vaccines.
Deakin University is internationally recognised for its research into allergies and CSIRO is recognised for its expertise in macromolecule modification through RNA interference (RNAi) technology.
The two research organisations are bringing their respective expertise to a collaborative research project to produce allergy-free eggs, the first of its type for both organisations.
Adjunct Professor Tim Doran, Project Leader at CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory, himself the father of an anaphylactic child, said that the world-leading research had the potential to substantially improve the lifestyles of thousands of families who lived in fear of their children consuming egg whites and having an anaphylactic shock as a result.
"The effect of this type of allergy on the whole family is immense," he said, "because in many cases all food has to be prepared in the home as you can't guarantee that food purchased outside the home won't have traces of egg white."
"We recently did a long-haul flight with the family and had to prepare all meals to take on the plane," he said.
Of the 40 proteins in egg white, there are four major allergens and this research will systematically switch off the allergens in all four, creating a hypoallergenic egg that can produce chickens, which lay allergy-free eggs.
The research is expected to take three years to complete with the possibility that allergy-free vaccines could be available within five years and allergy-free eggs could be available in supermarkets for human consumption within five or 10 years.
For more information, click here.
The New Zealand Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, has announced a broad investigation into hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Dr Wright announced that the initial scoping work would be stepped up into an official investigation, saying that preliminary work indicated a need for close examination of the issue.
“The work that has been done by my office thus far shows a substantive case for an official investigation under the Environment Act,” Dr Wright said.
“Over the next few months my staff and I will conduct this investigation and produce a report to Parliament.
“I realise this is a hugely contentious issue and I would hope to have a report tabled in the House before the end of this year.”
Approximately 100 representatives from 15 countries attended the 4th International Conference on Sustainable Automotive Technologies - From the Present to the Future – held in Melbourne.
The three-day conference at RMIT University was chaired by Professor Aleksandar Subic, Head of the RMIT School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.
The conference discussed issues such as the future of green cars, including electric powered and alternative fuel vehicles, lightweight vehicle technologies and intelligent vehicle systems.
RMIT hosted the conference as part of the Australian Automotive Week program sponsored by the Victorian Government.
Keynote speakers at the conference included:
- Dr Matthew Cuthbertson, CEO, AutoCRC, Australia;
- Professor Dr Gernot Spiegelberg, Head of Research Corporate Technology Division, Siemens AG, Germany;
- Professor Dr Ingemar Denbratt, Head of Combustion Division, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden;
- Dr Johannes Toepler, President of the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association;
- Professor Keqiang LI, Chair of Automotive Engineering, Tsinghua University, China;
- Dr Bruce Bunting, Research Manager, Fuels, Engines and Emissions, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US.
For more information, please click here.
The Federal Government has announced a National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout plan that will see the service delivered, or in the process of delivery, in the next three years.
NBN Co announced that Stage 1 of the large-scale rollout of the National Broadband Network is now underway and will see of the fibre optic component of the network delivered or be underway to areas of the country containing 3.5 million premises in 1500 communities in every state and territory in Australia, comprising one third of the nation’s homes and businesses.
The fibre optic broadband offered to consumers will see speeds of up to 100Mbps to 93 per cent of Australian premises, with the remaining 7 per cent of premises expected to receive high-speed broadband via fixed-wireless or satellite due to be completed by 2015.
So far, the NBN has been rolled out to 18,200 premises, with the NBN Co rolling out fibre network in a series of modules, each containing 2500-3000 premises.
"Construction contracts are in place and the major commercial and regulatory hurdles have been cleared, giving us the momentum we need to deliver better broadband to every Australian no matter where they live,” NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley said.
"The NBN is not just about faster internet - it’s about an upgrade to the infrastructure that will underpin the delivery of vital applications that Australians will need over the coming decades. This is a great step forward in preparing our country for the future and helping to address some of its biggest challenges in healthcare, education and business."
Across Australia, the numbers of homes, businesses, schools and hospitals that will see construction begin or be completed by mid 2015 are:
· 1,010,700 in New South Wales
· 691,600 in Victoria
· 678,600 in Queensland
· 429,200 in Western Australia.
· 327,300 in South Australia
· 135,300 in the ACT
· 65,200 in the Northern Territory
· 209,100 in Tasmania
The full list of localities where the network is up and running, where work is underway and where work is scheduled to begin before mid-2015 can be viewed on theCommunities in the rollout page. Communities can also check the progress of the rollout by typing in their location or postcode into the interactive NBN rollout map.
The Bank of Queensland (BoQ) has announced it will seek to raise $500 million through a placement of shares with institutional investors.
BoQ announced through the ASX it expects two institutional transactions to raise
$150 and $135 million respectively.
The bank has announced its intentions to launch a non-renounceable entitlement offer for retail shareholders, through which it expects to raise $165 million and will open on the 3rd of April.
The capital raising comes after the bank reported a $91 million net loss, a fall from its $46 million in profit from the last reporting season, on which the bank blamed a challenging operational environment.
“Despite a challenging cost of funding environment, BoQ’s net interest margin has increased by 3 bps to 1.68 per cent, primarily through improved asset repricing,” BoQ Managing Director Stuart Grimshaw said.
“The Bank has also increased its reliance on domestic retail funding, which has risen from 52 per cent of our overall funding mix in 2011, to 54 per cent in 1H12.”
RateCity has warned that slow credit growth has become the new normal as credit card spending growth, and subsequently credit card profitability, has slumped to a three year low.
According to a study conducted by RateCity, similar trends in home lending will serve to compound the issue of slow credit growth as Australians increase their savings patterns.
Year-on-year credit card growth has hit a three year low of 2.5 per cent according to RBA findings.
RateCity CEO Damian Smith said that borrowing less money is increasingly becoming the new normal, as credit growth has plummeted from 20 per cent in 2006,
“Credit card growth has been on the way down for the past six years and lenders need to get used to the fact that Australians aren’t taking on as much credit as they once were,” Mr Smith said.
“This isn’t just true of credit cards – borrowing for home loans has slowed dramatically with 2 percent growth in the number of home loans financed in 2011 compared to 2010 (based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data). Conversely, Australians are saving at unprecedented rates with a record $535.6 billion of cash deposits sitting in banks and 10 percent growth in the year to January 2012 (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority data).
“We really believe there’s been a genuine shift in the way Australian consumers and businesses think about credit, and lenders will have to be prepared for a decade of slower credit growth.”