Briefcase: Business Snippets from around South Australia

In this week’s briefcase Palumbo scores Defence Housing, Detmold opens paper bag testing site and the rock lobster season is extended. Plus upcoming business events in South Australia.

Jul 31, 2023, updated Jul 31, 2023
Nick Champion, Daniel Palumbo and Liam Golding at the 185 Pirie Street development. Photo: Andrew Beveridge.

Nick Champion, Daniel Palumbo and Liam Golding at the 185 Pirie Street development. Photo: Andrew Beveridge.

$45 million development secures Federal government agency as anchor tenant

South Australian family developer Palumbo has secured the Federal government agency Defence Housing Australia as the anchor tenant for their $45 million development.

Located at 185 Pirie Street, the seven-storey office building is on track for completion by the end of the year and will feature 6,500 square metres of office space, a rooftop terrace, a ground-floor cafe and end-of-trip facilities.

When it was designed in August 2022, the building was awarded Australia’s first five-star Green Star certification and is expected to be one of the only buildings in Adelaide designed to achieve a five-star Green Star rating and a five-star NABERS energy rating.

Minister for Housing and Urban Development Nick Champion said the project highlights developers’ confidence in investing in South Australia and growing South Australian businesses.

“Projects like these are a sign of industry backing the State’s direction and providing critical investment in our CBD, ensuring Adelaide has world-class office accommodation to grow and attract jobs,” Champion said.

“The CBD is the beating heart of our State, and construction activity of this scale is testament to confidence – a confidence which is attracting head offices and major global companies into our city.”

– Elisabeth Marie

SA economy ranks third in the nation

A CommSec report ranked South Australia’s economy third of all the Australian states and territories, beating out Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, the ACT and the Northern Territory.

Tasmania ranked first and New South Wales came in at second in the State of the States report which said South Australia’s strength was its “relative population growth”.

CommSec said SA’s weakness was retail spending, but the state improved on the back of housing finance commitments with loan activity currently 16.5 per cent above the decade average.

SA ranked first on population and employment growth, and tracked above the decade average on almost all measures the CommSec report considers.

“This report confirms that certain economic indicators in South Australia continue to show resilience in the face of economic headwinds,” Treasurer Stephen Mullighan said.

“This is a positive sign as we come into an uncertain period that is likely to weigh on national, and subsequently South Australian economic activity.”

– David Simmons

Micro-X staff working on the flasgship Nano mobile x-ray at their Tonsley headquarters in South Australia.

Adelaide x-ray tech Micro-X extends US contract

SA-based listed tech firm Micro-X has extended its existing developing contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to build and test self-screening modules in airports.

The extension is worth $21 million over 40 months, and builds on an initial contract commitment of $7.25 million.

Micro-X specialises in cold cathode x-ray technology for health and security markets globally, and its deal with the Homeland Security Department will see the company’s innovations tested in live airport environments with travelling passengers.

“This new project will involve Micro-X moving progressively, first fabricating a single self-screening station, then three stations, and finally a full six-station lane and testing each increment first in TSA laboratories and then in at least one live US airport,” Micro-X said.

“At each stage, Micro-X will receive feedback on the airport and passenger experience from the DHS and TSA to refine and improve the end design.

“The objective of the project is to have a fully integrated passenger self-screening security system that is ready to transform the passenger security experience across the United States’ 440 airports.”

Micro-X CEO of Americas and chief scientist Brian Gonzales said the deal was a “significant step forward” for the company.

“This contract extension fully funds us to build and test the design of a self-screening checkpoint in real airports, demonstrating the improvements and refining the design with real passenger and operator input,” Gonzales said.

“US airport security is a unique market, where the government is both the regulator and the customer. The partnership we have formed with DHS and TSA enables us to combine input from both the end-customer and the safety regulator to deliver a design that completely re-imagines security screening but is also grounded in the reality of airport operations and regulations.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with DHS and TSA as we build and then demonstrate this design in real airports.”

– David Simmons

InSync Business Events South Australia

South Australian Business Index, Friday, 20 October at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Tickets on sale now.

Operation Flinders City to Summit walk for charity, Friday 29 September. Register here.

Artificial Intelligence – The Perils and Promises, and AmCham breakfast on Thursday 24 August 2023 from 7:30-9:30am at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Members $119, non-members $169

EuroMix 2023 hosted by the French Australian Chamber of Commerce at the National Wine Centre on 30 August from 5.30pm. $40 for international chamber members, $60 for non-members

“The Dirt on Carbon Farming: Insights from Industry Leaders” at the SA Agribusiness Annual Lunch on 1 September at the National Wine Centre. Members $145, Non-members $195, Students $75

SA BioCheers networking event sponsored by Madderns at 19 Gougers St. on Thursday 17 August 2023. Non-members $80

SA 2023 Infrastructure Address: The Hon. Tom Koutsantonis for CEDA at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Wednesday 9 August from 12:00-2:00pm. Members $199, non-member table $3490 (singles sold out)

Finlaysons Wine Roadshow 31, starting Monday 7 August through to Monday 18 September at various wine regions.  Tickets start at $86.90

Grants on offer for educating female business leaders

Up to $25,000 is up for grabs by organisations that bring female business owners together to learn skills from one another and from leading business figures.

The Government’s Connecting Women in Business program is part of the $14 million Small Business Strategy, and was created to build greater business capability by bringing female businesses owners together to share knowledge.

Eligible organisations for the grants include:

  • Industry/ business associations and peak bodies
  • Business Enterprise Centres
  • Regional Development Australia Boards (RDAs)
  • Local governments
  • Co-operatives
  • Corporations limited by guarantee (including not-for-profit organisations)

Applicants will need to demonstrate how their organisation provides a supportive space for women to discuss challenges and foster business opportunities, partnerships and collaborations.

Applications close 15 September. For more information visit

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– David Simmons

business insights Southern Rock Lobster

The Southern Rock Lobster fishing season has ben extended. Photo: supplied.

More time given to South Australian rock lobster fishers

The government has announced extensions to fishing seasons for the South Australian Rock Lobster industry.

The extension applies to the state’s two Southern Rock Lobster fishing zones, allowing fishers greater access to international markets.

The Rock lobster fishery industry contributes more than 30 per cent ($158.5 million) of South Australia’s seafood product and creates over 1300 jobs through direct and flow-on business impacts.

In the Northern Zone, the previous temporary arrangement that enabled fishing year-round will be made permanent starting 1 September 2024. In the Southern Zone, the fishing season will commence on 1 September 2023, extending the season by one month.

The extensions provide fishers more time to reach their quota and better align catch timings and supply with export market demand.

The government also reduced license fees by 50 per cent for rock lobster license holders in 2022/23.

– Lauren Mills

The rise in complaints reflects an increase in financial stress and scams. Photo: Pexels.

AFCA documents record complaints in the 2022-23 financial year

In the past 12 months, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) received 96,987 complaints, representing a rise of 34 per cent from the previous financial year.

The rise reflects the increasing financial stress upon Australians and the increase of scams and issues with insurer claims handling.

AFCA’s chief ombudsman and chief executive officer, David Locke, said he is concerned at the number of complaints being taken to the AFCA.

“It’s not fair on consumers and not good for business. We need to see a significant improvement from firms,” Locke said.

For the first time in nearly five years, credit cards did not top the list of most complained about product, being overtaken by personal transaction accounts with disputes up 86 per cent.

This was related to the 46 per cent rise in scam-related complaints.

However, the top issue in complaints was delay in insurance claim handling.

This delay was also a significant issue in superannuation which rose 32 per cent, however, within this was a 136 per cent rise in complaints about claim delays, including payment of death benefits.

“Access to this money is vital for people who have lost a loved one or are unable to work. Unnecessary delays and poor communication are distressing,” Locke said.

– Lauren Mills

GM of Detmold Medical Mark Coupe, Governor of South Australia Frances Adamson AC and Detmold Co-CEO Sascha Detmold Cox at the new testing facility. Photo: Julian Hatch

Detmold opens Australia’s first dedicated bag testing facility

The Detmold Group’s $500,000 LaunchPad facility in Brompton now tests paper and board repulpability and medical mask functional effectiveness.

Acting Co-CEO Sascha Detmold Cox said the facility was the first and only dedicated bag-testing facility in Australia and one of only a few laboratories able to test coated paper/board packaging for recycling.

“Innovation is essential in our industry, as consumers demand higher quality packaging and medical supplies,” Detmold Cox said.

She said the LaunchPad laboratory had created bespoke testing equipment which replicated the usage of products in the real world

“The Detmold Group is investing in South Australia as this is the ideal place for us to reach national and international markets,” Detmold Cox said.

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