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.

Sydney has begun the demolition of the old royal South Sydney Hospital site in Zetland, marking the beginning of the first steps of the $8 billion 278-hectare Green Square development.

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has welcomed the final stage of the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) that is expected to generate up to 800 jobs.

The Australian Industry Group (AI Group) has urged the Federal Government to move cautiously as it establishes a Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate to take over the work of the now defunct Australian Building and Construction Commission.

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\"Now that Parliament, despite strong opposition from industry, has passed the Government\'s construction industry bill and road safety remuneration bill, the Government needs to address industry concerns in implementing the new legislation,\" Ai Group Chief Executive Heather Ridout said.

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Ms Ridout has suggested that the Government reassure industry by ensuring that:

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  • The existing Australian Building and Construction Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners and staff will transfer seamlessly to the new Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate; 
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  • The existing level of ABCC funding will be maintained for the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate; 
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  • Industry will be consulted on the appointment of the Independent Assessor, who will have the power to switch off the Inspectorate\'s compulsory interrogation powers for particular projects; and 
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  • Industry will be consulted on the appointment of members of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate Advisory Board.
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Ms Ridout also urged the Government to act prudently with the implementation of the Road Safety Remuneration Act by:

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  • Consulting with representatives of the road transport industry and representatives of the industries which use road transport, on the appointment of Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal Members; 
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  • Ensuring that Members of the new Tribunal have strong industry experience, not only in the road transport industry but in industries which use road transport.
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\"Ai Group opposed both of these Bills which addressed key claims of the construction unions and the Transport Workers Union. We maintain our concern about both pieces of legislation, but now that the legislation has been passed by Parliament it is essential that the Government work with the Australian Industry Group and other key representative bodies to ensure that the new arrangements are workable and not damaging to industry,\" Ms Ridout said.

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Construction giant John Holland has been awarded the contract to design and construct the Esperance Port Access Corridor Project for Main Roads Western Australia.

State Regional Development Minister, Brendon Grylls, said that with the project will include construction of an intermodal terminal and rail realignment in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, as well as a sealed road link between Wiluna and Meekatharra.

Construction on the major upgrade on Victoria’s Clyde Road upgrade in Berwick has begun, with works commencing on the dual divided carriageway.

The Federal Government has passed legislation that will abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) through the Senate.

The South Australian Government has released a discussion paper aimed at ‘ensuring not only the survival but the expansion of South Australian manufacturing.’

The Victorian Government has announced it has awarded the $60 million Hurstbridge line upgrade to Abigroup, with work set to begin shortly.

The Federal, Victorian and South Australian Governments have announced a $275 million co-investment in Holden to keep its operations in Australia

The South Australian Government has released a plan that will see Adelaide’s Tonsley Park transformed into a centre for ‘high-value and innovative manufacturing companies’.

A new Aviation Simulation Laboratory has been opened at Swinburne University of Technology's Hawthorn Campus.

A planning engineer with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in Victoria, Ms Eleanor Wood,  is the 2012 Australian winner of the Anne Wexler Australian-American Studies Scholarships in Public Policy. Ms Wood will study at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in the United States (TBC) for two years to undertake a Master of Public Policy with the longer-term ain of working with industry in the development of a sustainable energy system for Australia’s future.

The Federal and Western Australian governments have announced the commencement of work on the $120 Esperance port works.

A 50:50 joint venture between John Holland and Macmahon Holdings has been awarded the $340 million site development civil works contract by the JKC Joint Venture (JGC Corporation, KBR, Chiyoda Corporation) for the onshore facilities of the Ichthys LNG Project near Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Toll Energy has begun work on a $45 million transport and storage contract as part of coal seam gas explorer GQC’s Queensland Curtis Liquefied Natural Gas (GCLNG) project.

Monash University Chancellor, Dr Alan Finke, has been appointed as the new President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE).

 

Dr Finkel, a prominent Australian engineer and technology entrepreneur, will take up the role on 1 January 2013, succeeding former Australian chief scientist Professor Robin Batterham.

 

Dr Finkel said that as president of ATSE, he would be focusing on improving public discussion and policy on key national issues where applied science and technology can offer solutions.

 

Dr Finkel currently holds the roles of Chief Technology Officer of Better Place Australia and Chairman of the Australian Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics. He has been the Chancellor of Monash University since January 2008.

Dr Benoit Gilbert and Ian Underhill of Griffith University’s School of Engineering are developing innovative hollow power poles made from waste Australian hardwood plantation thinnings.

The Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology (BMET) has been officially opened at the University of Sydney.

The New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services has completed its initial assessment of the bids submitted by construction companies applying for the tender to rebuild the Pacific Highway from Frederickton to Eungai and has provided a shortlist of the top three.

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