In this regular feature, Ferret.com.au turns to its sister publications Manufacturers' Monthly, Australian Mining, Food Magazine and PACE Process & Control Engineering to round up the most popular breaking news stories from the past week.
Orange Electrolux factory could close in 2015 (Manufacturers' Monthly)
Barely a week after the announcement that Electrolux would receive $4.7 million under the federal government's Clean Technology Investment Program senior management has revealed that the efficiency of the company's Orange factory is under review and that the site may close by 2015. Federal Nationals MP John Cobb has since blamed the carbon tax for the review. (http://www.manmonthly.com.au/news/nationals-mp-blames-carbon-tax-for-electrolux-fact)
Bright spots remain in Aussie manufacturing (Manufacturers' Monthly)
Australian manufacturers are facing tough times, but it is not all doom and gloom for the industry. The Australian Industry Group has highlighted Wollongong-based Leussink Engineering as one example of a local manufacturer doing well.
The company recently started five new apprentices on their training program at Wollongong TAFE. AIG regional manager Leanne Grogan credits the company's focus on training as a key factor that has helped it to stay competitive.
Rio Tinto looks to create 2000 jobs in the Pilbara (Australian Mining)
In an expansion of its iron ore operations in the area, Rio Tinto has announced that it will invest $3 billion in the Pilbara and is set to create over 2,000 jobs in the region. The majority of the investment used to extend the life of its Nammuldi iron ore mine, with the site receiving a $2 billion boost. Commenting on the announcement, Premier and State Development Minister Colin Barnett said the Western Australia economy was set to benefit from the investment.
Dairy industry being squeezed by "triple whammy" (Food Magazine)
Low global milk prices, the high Australian dollar and supermarket price wars are key concerns for local dairy producers, with farmers claiming they are near breaking point. Dairy producer Jock O'Keefe told ABC's The Business that farmers are losing money, service providers aren't getting paid and land prices are depreciating. A glut in global supply is also being blamed for producers’ woes.
Wind energy in Australia is now cheaper than energy from new coal (PACE)
In good news for supporters of renewable energy, research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has confirmed that unsubsidised renewable energy is now cheaper than electricity from new-build coal and gas fired power stations in Australia.
In a new study, BNEF has shown that electricity can be supplied from a new wind farm at a cost of $80/MWh, compared to $143/MWh from a new coal plant or $116/MWh from a new baseload gas plant, including the cost of emissions under the Federal government's carbon pricing scheme. The study notes, however, that energy generated by wind energy cannot yet compete with energy generated by old coal and gas-fired assets that have already been paid off.