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Briefcase: Business Snippets from around South Australia

In this week’s briefcase, an Unley-headquartered marketing agency wins at the prestigious APAC Search Awards, NeuRizer taps Samsung for a major fertiliser contract, Flinders Port Holdings launches a new pilot boat and South Australian exports hit a new high.

Feb 12, 2024, updated Feb 12, 2024

National award for SA marketing firm

Unley-headquartered marketing agency Online Path won the ‘Best Use of Search’ Award at the 2024 APAC Search Awards.

The family-owned business helmed by Michael and Melanie Gibbons won for its campaign for retailer Barberco.

In a post on LinkedIn, Michael said it was a “huge honour” to take out the prestigious award.

“Taking a trip down memory lane, from those early days of working with Mel at our kitchen table eight years ago to where we’re at now, seriously fills me with so much pride,” he said.

“I am truly grateful to the incredible team we have at Online Path. Their dedication and talent is off the charts! They’ve really helped shape us into the successful Digital Marketing Agency we are today.

“I am grateful to our awesome clients too! Their partnership and trust is truly invaluable and I love how we are always learning from each other and inspiring each other to go above and beyond every single day!”

David Simmons

NeuRizer taps Samsung for major fertiliser contract

Adelaide-based NeuRizer has penned a non-binding term sheet with Samsung C&T Corporation – Samsung’s construction and engineering arm and the business’ founding division – to potentially sell fertiliser to the Korean multinational.

NeuZier said there was “no guarantee that a definitive agreement will be entered into between the parties”, but the term sheet contemplates that the Adelaide-based company would sell Samsung up to 100,000 tonnes per year of its nitrogen-based fertiliser.

Samsung would also have first priority for the purchase of 25,000 tonnes of fertiliser in each quarter of the term of the definitive agreement.

“The potential exists for, in addition to the definitive agreement, additional collaborations in the future, including the possibility of a collaboration in clean ammonia business,” NeuRizer said.

“The execution of the definitive agreement would underscore NRZ’s commitment to strengthening global food security and position it as a key player in the domestic and international urea supply chain.

“NeuRizer plans to be at the forefront of Australian urea production with its 1 million tonnes per annum Leigh Creek Urea Plant in South Australia.”

David Simmons

New pilot boats for Flinders Port Holdings

Launched last week at the South Australian Yacht Squadron, PV Spirit is the first of three pilot boats developed with Hart Marine – with the final two due to be delivered later this year.

The boats feature a Volvo Penta Inboard Propulsion System (IPS) for enhanced efficiency and reduced environmental impact.

The composite hull technology includes a lightweight and corrosion-resistant structure for durability in challenging marine conditions. Safety measures like continuous railing and a redesigned bow aim to facilitate navigation in turbulent waters and improve self-righting capabilities.

The boats have enhanced maneuverability in adverse weather conditions, while increased outer deck space accommodates pilot transfer and coxswain activities.

“Spirit embodies our dedication to a better tomorrow, and we eagerly anticipate seeing her in action, serving Flinders Ports for many years to come,” a Hart Marine spokesperson said.

– Sharni McPhail

SA exports hit a new high

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics demonstrates South Australian exports have hit a new record, with the state recording exports valued at $17.93 billion for the year ending December 2023.

In growth terms, year-on-year results were 8.5 per cent higher than the prior 12 months.

The state government said its investment in developing ties with the Southeast Asia export market was paying off, with SA exports growing 30 per cent in the region over the last year.

The value of exported merchandise to markets such as Thailand was up 69.9 per cent, up 42.8 per cent in Indonesia and up 26.6 per cent in Vietnam.

“South Australia’s merchandise exports continue to be in high demand around the world, with the value reaching a record $17.93 billion,” Trade and Investment Minister Nick Champion said.

“Most of our closest neighbours are getting to experience our premium products for themselves.

“This government is working incredibly hard on behalf of our producers to attract Southeast Asian investors to our state, and to increase our exports to the region.”

David Simmons

Repairing in-orbit satellites gets a boost

Adelaide-based SmartSat CRC has announced an investment of $2.3 million towards advancing Australian capabilities in In-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (ISAM).

Led by the University of Sydney in collaboration with industry partners from New South Wales, SmartSat seeks to develop robotic satellite technologies capable of performing in-orbit repairs and maintenance.

“With the number of satellites and spacecraft in orbit increasing rapidly, there’s a greater likelihood of malfunctions and collisions,” SmartSat CRC Chief Executive Officer Professor Andy Koronios said.

“Being able to service and upgrade satellites in-situ, thereby extending their lifespans, will be a crucial capability for governments and the private sector alike.”

The project will address four technology areas – in-orbit servicing, assembly, manufacturing, and robotics – to create a complete software package for an all-in-one code repository to be used on future satellites.

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Sharni McPhail

Positive uranium drilling results for PNX’s Top End mine

Drill results released to shareholders last week by Rose Park-based miner PNX Metals demonstrate “the significant potential to extend the high-grade mineralisation” at its Thunderball uranium site in the Northern Territory.

Situated in the Pine Creek region, which is one of the world’s largest uranium provinces, the Thunderball site likely includes “very high-grade uranium”.

PNX recently saw its uranium rights returned to it as commitments of a historic agreement with Oz Uranium “were not met” according to the Adelaide-based company.

The miner now believes there is an opportunity to make “further uranium discoveries regionally”, with the news coinciding with uranium prices on a tear this year.

“These are fantastic results and add considerable excitement to our planning for the 2024 field season,” PNX executive chairman Graham Ascough said.

“As we go through the large volume of historic data it is apparent that there are a number of high-priority, near-surface targets that require further evaluation.

“The association of potentially economic grades of platinum, palladium and gold with uranium at the Goldeneye prospect is also compelling due to its similarity with the Coronation Hill deposit to the east.”

– David Simmons

Optus to back-pay nearly $8m in unpaid wages

The retail arm of telco Optus will back-pay more than $7.8 million to 3744 current and former underpaid employees nationally and has signed an Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman that includes contrition payments.

A subsidiary of Singtel Optus, Optus Retailco operates the telco’s stores across Australia and the parent company self-reported the underpayments to the Ombudsman in 2021.

The Ombudsman said employees did not receive their full lawful entitlements because of “poor payroll and time attendance systems, human resources and governance practices”.

Employees were underpaid across various entitlements including base rates of pay, weekend loadings, public holiday loadings, meal allowances, overtime rates, no break penalty rates, and annual and personal leave entitlements.

The Ombudsman added Optus Retailco also failed to correctly calculate the mandated six-monthly reconciliations for employees who worked in stores that operated with extended trading hours.

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said Optus Retailco cooperated with the investigation.

“Optus Retail has committed to putting in place stringent measures to ensure all its workers are paid correctly. These measures include undertaking another review of employee entitlements covering January 2020 through to July 2023, and commissioning independent audits of its future compliance with workplace laws over the next two years,” Booth said.

“This matter shows the importance of employers placing a high priority on ensuring they are meeting all their workers’ lawful entitlements, including larger employers who have opted to enter into their own enterprise agreements.

“Employers with enterprise agreements need to put in place proper systems and regular checks to ensure ongoing compliance with all their obligations, rather than taking a ‘set and forget’ approach.”

David Simmons

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