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Brisbane Gets Purpose-Built Robotics Centre for $23bn Industry

Brisbane Gets Purpose-Built Robotics Centre for $23bn Industry

Queensland has furthered its push to be Australia’s technological hub with the announcement that CSIRO’s Data61 division will open a new facility in Brisbane to conduct world-leading research into robotics and autonomous systems.

A new purpose-built Robotics Innovation Centre to be located at Pullenvale will be an important step towards establishing a formal robotics cluster in Brisbane to take advantage of the enormous potential of a rapidly growing industry anticipated to be worth $23 billion globally by 2025.

Data61 chief executive Adrian Turner described the new centre as a national asset, with the potential to provide a unique collaborative opportunity between industry, government and academia.

“Robotics and autonomous systems technologies, underpinned by machine learning and artificial intelligence, will unlock new value in all manner of sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare and mining,” Turner said.

“World-class facilities like the Robotics Innovation Centre, will ensure Australia is well placed to benefit from Industry 4.0 and help to protect and accelerate our nation’s ongoing economic success.”

Brisbane Gets Purpose-Built Robotics Centre for $23bn

The new 600sq m facility will be used to further pursue research that is already under way with autonomous robotics systems to interact safely and seamlessly with humans in various situations.

Researchers will strive to develop new approaches to rapidly map, navigate and search underground environments using legged robots and autonomous drone technology, funded by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The facility will also feature the largest motion capture system in the southern hemisphere, to be used to validate data captured by robotics systems in the field.

Additionally, there will be a swimming pool for testing aquatic robots, numerous unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, legged robots, high-accuracy robot manipulators, as well as sensors and telemetry systems.

Brisbane Gets Purpose-Built Robotics Centre for about $23bn Industry

Data61 already has robotics engineers based in Brisbane working closely with experts at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, which is based at the Queensland University of Technology.

The division is currently partnered to organisations including Boeing, Woodside, QUT and the University of Queensland within the robotics space.

The robotics industry has drawn increasing interest from professionals in the built environment with researchers estimating that artificial intelligence in construction will balloon from $500 million in 2018 to $2.41 billion by 2023.

Late last year, the Queensland government unveiled plans to build an artificial intelligence hub in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.

The new training hub, dubbed The Precinct, will aim to help fill the skills gap created by the surging artificial intelligence sector.

The Queensland government also made a $50 million investment to ensure the Australia Defence Force would establish an autonomy research centre, the first of its kind in the country, in Brisbane.

Brisbane also played host to the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in May of last year, further cementing its place at the forefront of Australian robotics and artificial intelligence research.



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Skills Shortages Boost Pay for Property Professionals


Salaries and wages growth across the property industry is rising well ahead of the broader population’s wages, according to the latest Avdiev Property Industry Remuneration Report.

The report, based on a bi-annual survey of property, investment, construction employers and design and construction-related consultants, found the pace of annual pay rises expanded to 3 per cent in the six months since the previous survey.

Property sector remuneration is now well ahead of the broader population’s wages which is languishing at 1.7 per cent.

The report found that the property investment sector offered the largest increases, ranging from 3 per cent to 4 per cent.

Avdiev principal of remuneration consultants Debra Moloney said the industry as a whole had escaped relatively unscathed from the pandemic and is looking forward to reopening with confidence.

“The property industry is well known for surviving peaks and troughs, which perhaps put it in good stead for dealing with the pandemic,” Moloney said.

“The industry as a whole has continued on quite strongly, despite the lockdowns, and is well positioned as the economy begins to reopen.”

More broadly, over 40 per cent of property companies had now resumed full pay increases with one-in-five respondents offered higher-than-usual pay increases to make up for stalled pay across 2020. One in ten still have wages frozen and 3 per cent wages cut.

Property professionals’ remuneration

SectorPositionNational median March 2021Median % increase for last reviews to September 2021Median % Increase forecast next reviews to September 2022
Property Investment, Funds & Trusts ManagementAsset Manager > $500 AUM$270,0003%3%
Property DevelopmentSales Manager$205,0952.5%3%
Retirement Living / Aged CareProperty Upgrades Manager$111,4383%2.5%
Retail ManagementAssistant Centre Manager$76,6002.8%2%
Real Estate Agency / AdvisorySenior Facilities Manager$120,0003%3%
Design & Building ConsultantsProject Manager (mid level)$115,0003%1.5%
Building, Design & ConstructionContracts Manager$189,8002.3%2.4%
CorporateSustainability Analyst$95,0003%2.5%

^Source: AVDIEV, as at October 2021

Amid the stronger remuneration market, the Avdiev survey found that property companies are also paying bonuses, with over 60 per cent expecting to pay their usual short-term incentives in 2021 and 6 per cent expecting an increased short term incentive.

More than three-quarters of the companies surveyed are also adding superannuation increase to total remuneration, effectively delivering staff a built-in 2.5 per cent pay rise over the next five years.

Across the country, states that endured the toughest lockdowns are also confident about their performance with four in five NSW companies and three in four of Victoria companies said they are doing “well” or “very well”.

Meanwhile, one in three property companies in Western Australia and Queensland are doing better than prior to Covid-19.

In spite of the upturn, survey results suggested a tight labour market, with nearly half experiencing a skills shortage and the vast majority noting higher than usual staff turnover in some sectors.

On the issue of vaccination, as the economy opens up many property companies said they weren’t planning to make vaccination compulsory, but noted they would not hire unvaccinated staff moving forward.

Most staff in the property industry have shifted to a work-from-home setup, with over half of the companies surveyed planning or working to a hybrid arrangement, and one in three returning to the office full time.


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Qantas in Property Review, Mulls HQ Move

Qantas in Property Review
Calling on state governments for “potential incentives”, Qantas has announced it is considering moving out of its Sydney headquarters as the national carrier looks to cut its $40 million annual spend on leased office space.

Qantas is reviewing the location of its key facilities as part of its recovery plan and bid to cut overheads, which it says could result in combining several facilities, currently spread across Australia, into one state.

The group said it will begin an expression of interest process to state governments over a three month period. The NSW, Victorian and Queensland state leaders were quick to weigh in, saying that they had engaged in preliminary talks with the airline.

All on the table for relocation, are the 5000 Qantas jobs at the Sydney head office site, 1000 Jetstar staff in Melbourne and more than 700 heavy maintenance jobs in Brisbane.

Open to options

Adding that Qantas will remain one of the nation’s largest employers, Qantas chief financial officer Vanessa Hudson said the group is “keen to engage with state governments on any potential incentives as part of our decision-making”.

“Most of our activities and facilities are anchored to the airports we fly to, but anything that can reasonably move without impacting our operations or customers is on the table as part of this review,” Hudson said.

Hudson also made special mention of Western Sydney.

“We’ll also be making the new Western Sydney Airport part of our thinking, given the opportunity this greenfield project represents.”

Qantas review

The group’s property review will focus on non-aviation facilities—including its leased 49,000sq m head office in Mascot and Jetstar’s leased head office in Collingwood, Melbourne.

“We could co-locate the Qantas and Jetstar head offices in a single place rather than splitting them across Sydney and Melbourne,” Hudson said.

“Some aviation facilities will be considered for possible relocation, such as flight simulator centres currently in Sydney and Melbourne as well as Qantas’ heavy maintenance facilities in Brisbane – particularly if there was an opportunity to bring some or all of these facilities together elsewhere within Australia.”

Colliers International has been appointed to sublease about 25,000sq m of office space across Mascot, Melbourne CBD and Hobart.

A lease on a 230sq m Sydney CBD office, due to expire in October, will not be renewed.

The review, which flows on from the 6,000 job cuts made in June this year, will take three months to determine the “preferred option” with the relocations likely to be staggered over years.

Hudson confirmed that Qantas had no intentions to offshore facilities.

Qantas moved its head office from Winton Queensland in the 1920s, before moving into the Wool Exchange building in Brisbane in the 1930s, but has held its Sydney HQ since the 1990s.

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Virgin, Australia’s First Major Corporate Casualty Seeks Investors

Virgin, Australia’s First Major Corporate Casualty Seeks Investors (1)

Virgin Australia went into voluntary administration on Tuesday, following the federal government’s rejection of a $1.4 billion bailout, with the hunt now on for new investors to keep the airline in flight.

At least 10 investors are understood to be circling the airline, in what is to date Australia’s largest coronavirus-related collapse, but debt-burdened Virgin insists it will survive beyond Covid-19.

Virgin’s board of directors appointed Vaughan Strawbridge, John Greig, Sal Algeri and Richard Hughes of Deloitte as administrators. While former chief executive Macquarie Nicholas Moore has been appointed to engage with Virgin’s administrator on government’s behalf.

“There have been several expressions of interest so far,” Deloitte’s Vaughan Strawbridge said on Tuesday.

“This is a matter of months, not longer than that.”

Virgin’s move into administration comes as Queensland and New South Wales entered into a battle over Virgin Australia’s headquarters.

Queensland’s state government offered $200 million to help rescue Virgin over the weekend, on the condition it kept its headquarters in Brisbane.

Virgin, Australia’s First Major Corporate Casualty Seeks Investors (2)

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state was “considering all the options” on Monday, offering Virgin Australia a rescue package, announcing the state could bring Virgin to the Badgerys creek airport in western Sydney.

Virgin, which had reported losses before covid-19, has debts of more than $4.8 billion.

While Virgin’s future is unclear as administrators look for new owners, Strawbridge said on Tuesday he did not plan to make any of Virgin’s 10,000 employees redundant.

Virgin’s move into administration impacts up to 10,000 employees and as many as 6000 contractors.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government’s objective was “a market-led solution”.

“This is not liquidation,” Frydenberg told media.

“This is not Ansett. This is not the end of the airline.”

Frydenberg added that government would not bailout the five foreign stakeholders who own the airline.

While Richard Branson’s Virgin Group hold 10 per cent, Virgin’s major shareholders include Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and conglomerates HNA Group and Nanshan Group.

Virgin Australia chief executive Paul Scurrah said that seeking new investment streams was the best way to ensure the airline’s future, “to emerge on the other side of the covid-19 crisis”.

“Australia needs a second airline and we are determined to keep flying,” he said.

Virgin will continue to operate its scheduled international and domestic flights during the administration period.

It is understood that staff who still have jobs will continue to receive wages, and eligible staff will receive the job keeper scheme.

Velocity frequent flyer, while owned by the group, is a separate company and is not in administration.




This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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