Home' InDaily : June 4th 2010 Contents www.independentweekly.com.au
June 4 - 10, 2010 news
Award in the bag
South Australia's plastic bag ban
is a winner of a prestigious 2010
Gold Quill Award for excellence in
business communications by the
International Association of Business
Communicators (IABC). Zero Waste
SA captured an Award of Merit in the
Communications Management --
Social Responsibility category for the
plastic bag ban. This year's competi-
tion received nearly 900 entries from
28 countries. Of these, 106 were
selected to receive awards -- 32
Awards of Excellence, 71 Awards of
Merit and three Student Awards.
Roll of honour
We thought you should know -- global
toilet paper consumption leads to the
destruction of an estimated 27,000
trees every day. However, in a world
first, one Australian company has
found a way to make the humble loo
roll without it costing the earth. Saved
A Tree uses no trees in its production
of Green Soft toilet tissue, instead
using agricultural residues such as
bamboo, straw, reed and cotton. The
end result is not recycled paper, but
a world first 100 per cent renewably
sourced toilet tissue, and is set to
get the flush of approval worldwide.
According to co-founder of Saved A
Tre e , Damien Scarf, the toilet tissue
is nothing like its nearest rivals. "This
product is 3-ply premium quality and
soft, unlike anything produced to date.
It's more than just a trendy statement,
it's kind to the planet and kind to your
backside," said Damien.
Rise reflects flexible hours
The Finance Sector Union and
Westpac Bank have concluded nego-
tiations on a new collective agreement
covering 26,000 of the bank's
employees. The proposed agreement,
now being considered and voted on
by employees, is the first between
the FSU and Westpac in almost a
decade. The agreement provides
Westpac, some St.George and Bank
SA, BT and Asgard employees with
security around wages and conditions,
while providing flexibilities that reflect
modern banking practices. It will
deliver 10 per cent wage increases to
the majority of Westpac employees
throughout its 26 month term in
exchange for flexibilities around
extended hours and weekend work. If
it gets the go-ahead, it could provide a
new standard for the industry.
Real estate agents could be in for
a tougher than normal winter with
housing data showing the first signs
of the anticipated market retreat. RP
Data's Tim Lawless said numbers out
this week painted a bleak picture.
"Over the last month there have been
quite a few signposts suggesting that
the residential market is starting to
cool. Auction clearance rates have
been consistently below 70 per
cent, housing finance volumes have
continued to trend downwards and
consumer confidence is also falling."
Ditto for biotech
A slowdown has also hit the biotech
industry. MedTRACK, a leading data-
base of private and public biomedical
companies, reports that the number of
venture financings involving Australian
companies decreased by 75 per cent
over the past four years compared to a
drop of 14 per cent globally. During the
same period, the number of product
and technology deals with Australian
companies decreased by 20 per cent
versus a drop of only 7 per cent in the
rest of the world.
One of their early successes was
with Queensland Rail.
"They had moved into contain-
erisation in 1993 and they had a few
problems with transporting timber,
so we designed an open container
that was a specific solution for their
problem," Sykes said.
"It was the beginning of a good
business relationship that endures
to this day."
One of the company s big
breakthroughs came with their
development of internet-based
tracking of containers. SCF was
the first company in Australia that
enabled customers to log on and find
out where their freight was.
"That was a major growth spurt
for us. Again, it was something
we designed and built to address
concerns that our customers had.
"Once we knew what the problem
was, we called in IT specialists to
design what we thought would be
an ideal solution and that s how it
By the turn of the decade, SCF
was building a larger customer
base and there was a need to service
clients dotted all over the nation,
meaning expansion from their
Adelaide base was a must.
According to Carthew, the
national expansion came with its
own headaches and "a different
story in each city".
"We tried different structures
in different places because doing
business in Sydney is different
to doing business in Brisbane or
Perth," he said.
"We set up autonomous struc-
tures in some cases and extensions
of the Adelaide operation in other
places. But over time, we have grown
out of the autonomy model and
moved towards central ownership."
The next stage of growth came
in 2005 when SCF looked for equity
partners to back up its next big idea.
"We wanted to design a
significantly different container and
we came up with a version of the
side-door container that was unlike
anything else on the market," Sykes
"Basically we strengthened the
container which added weight
to it meaning we had to convince
customers that the long term cost
reductions from the added strength
would outweigh any short term
costs of putting a heavier container
onto a train, truck or ship.
"We have been able to show that
repair costs from the stronger
structure (and 40 improvements in
design) reduced from $1500 per year
per container to around $250," he
The side-door containers have
been a big hit, especially in rugged
industries where container life
spans were short. An equity partner
jumped in and from 2005 to 2009
the company experienced strong
growth, culminating in 40 per cent
revenue growth in 2009.
The global slump, however,
delivered more challenges for the
company, but Sykes and Carthew
decided to use the downturn as an
Carthew said the usual things
happened; people taking longer
to pay their bills and the orders
slowing from some sectors.
"It was a very nervous time, a
tight time. But we took the time to
make some changes to the structure
of their group and make some
efficiencies and that has set us
up quite well. We have remained
focussed on developing new and
better ways for our business and
that has kept us on track."
It s the latest development that
has Sykes excited.
"We are about to release our
world-first polymer side doors.
"They weigh much less that the
steel doors so we get the advantages
of the design and strength changes
we made before without having the
disadvantage of additional weight.
"It s really exciting and I think
sets us up for a very strong three
SCF has also developed a niche
market in container rooms -- contain-
ers fitted out to motel standard with
insulation, plumbing electrics etc.
They have been a big success
in remote locations where the
traditional demountables couldn t
take any more than two or three
"We can uplift and move these
container rooms every seven days
if you like and it has no impact
on their structural condition,"
"It s particularly successful for
mining exploration teams where
they drill, move on, drill and move
The 3 metre by 12 metre rooms
have been so successful they are
now in New Zealand and Africa, as
well as remote communities and
locations in Australia.
Despite the long journey of build-
ing a business over almost twenty
years, the two South Australian
innovators have lost none of their
"I love it. I get excited every day,"
Sykes said with a broad smile.
As a business model, the pairing
Adelaide Airport Ltd will
advance plans to commercial-
ize surplus land at Parafield,
18km from Adelaide, including a
new light industry estate, despite
having to produce a new master plan
for the general aviation airport.
The airport company, which
leases both West Beach and
Parafield from the Federal
Government, will use the previ-
ously-approved 2004 master plan
to seek projects including a retail
brand-outlet centre, similar to
Harbour Town at Adelaide Airport,
and a distribution warehouse.
It also will canvass the potential
for attracting light industry --
including moving operations
from other areas within Salisbury
Council to Parafield s 70-hectare
Cross Keys industrial precinct on
the western side of the airport.
"That would free up land
elsewhere in the council area for
residential development," AAL s
general manager of corporate
affairs, John McArdle, said.
Salisbury Council s chief execu-
tive, Steven Hains, said relocating
existing light industry to Parafield
was "not realistic".
But he said council would be
interested to see any low-impact
development, provided it did not
result in an unacceptable increase
in heavy transport traffic.
Mr Hains said the council had
long advocated moving the airport,
which covers about 470 hectares,
with regional areas such as Mallala
and Murray Bridge interested in
hosting the aviation businesses.
"We ve always said the airport
land would be better suited to
residential development," he said.
However, last month Federal
Transport Minister, Anthony
Albanese confirmed Parafield s
future as an airport, although he
rejected AAL s new master plan.
AAL will now have to devise
another master plan for Parafield
and engage in further community
The Minister said there had
been inadequate consultation with
"those sections of the community
most affected by aircraft noise as
the airport grows".
He also called for more accurate
information on present and forecast
aircraft movements at Parafield,
where the bulk of the flying is
undertaken by the international
flying school Flight Training
The draft master plan said
current aircraft movements were
290,000 a year, with a forecast
348,000 within 20 years.
A study found the maximum
capacity was about 450,000 move-
However, local opponents
claimed movements already
exceeded AAL s current figure and
that more than 30,000 homes were
affected by aircraft noise, with the
problem expected to increase.
Mr Albanese has given AAL
12 months to complete new
consultations and prepare a revised
plan, although Mr McArdle said
preparing a new plan was likely to
The original draft contains a
wide range of proposals to expand
the commercial activities on the
airport, including further retail
development along the Main North
Road frontage, where several retail
outlets have been established, as
well as offices and warehouses, and
scope for a hotel-motel, licensed
restaurant and other food outlets,
a recreation centre and child care
Mr McArdle said some projects
could be advanced under the 2004
master plan, and the Minister s
assurance that the airport, with 89
years of its lease still to run, would
not be closed would enable negotia-
tions with potential investors in
"We re open to discussions," he
said. However, there were no firm
plans for projects at present.
Parafield Airport was opened in
1927 and was Adelaide s main civil
airport until 1955 when West Beach
SCF's container rooms in remote South Australia (inset; inside the container).
SCF -- The Odd Couple that works
From Page 13
SCF was the
first company in
Australia that enabled
customers to log on
and find out where
their freight was.
Links Archive June 3rd 2010 June 7th 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page