Staff Writer

Monica Meldrum named Australian Small Business Champion Entrepreneur 2018

Monica Meldrum from Whole Kids has been named 2018 Small Business Champion Entrepreneur at the Australian Small Business Champion Awards. 

The Australian Small Business Champion Awards is the only national recognition program for Australian small businesses. The Champion Entrepeur Award recognises Monica as an industry leader from an impressive array of entries from Small businesses in Australia that represents a broad range of industries from all states and territories.

 Accepting her award at the Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony held on Saturday 21st April at The Star – Sydney, with over 1,100 guests in attendance, Meldrum was overjoyed by the recognition of her huge achievements as a passionate, determined and purpose driven entrepreneur.

During her acceptance speech Monica perfectly summed up why Whole Kids is a brand with a difference and paving the way for change in the food industry and wider business community as a business with a conscience.

“I’m so proud of everything we have achieved to date. 12 years ago, I convinced my husband to throw everything we had into this little business called Whole Kids” said Monica Meldrum, Whole Kids Founder and CEO. “since then we’ve provided over 35 million healthier choices to parents and kids. We’ve gone up against some of the biggest food brands in the world and we’ve launched programs to promote social equity for children”.

The program aims to recognise outstanding Australian small businesses and encourage high standards of excellence in small business practice. “The Australian Small Business Champion Awards is a way to recognise the efforts of small business people whose efforts contribute to the prosperity and vitality of communities across Australia”, said Steve Loe, Managing Director of Precedent Productions and founder of the awards. 

From taking on the food giants to win their first major contract with Qantas 10 years ago, to being named as one of Australia’s Top 100 Women Of Influence, Monica still has her sights firmly set on her goal to provide 50 million healthier choices to parents by 2020. With the support of her family, staff and customers, Whole Kids continue to fulfil their core purpose to create happier, healthier lives for kids.

New appointment and funding to drive national food waste strategy

Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL) has announced the appointment of Genevieve Bateman as General Manager of Food Sustainability, a newly created position to support the implementation of Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy.

Managing Director of FIAL, Dr Mirjana Prica, congratulated Ms Bateman on her appointment and said that she will bring tremendous experience and proven success at delivering significant government initiatives to the issues of food waste.

“Ms  Bateman will lead the implementation of the National Food Waste Strategy and work with industry, business and government across the food supply chain to find collaborative solutions to the food waste problem which costs the Australian economy $20 billion per year.

“Ms Bateman’s career spanning both the public service and private sector will be an asset to FIAL and her enthusiasm and passion will be instrumental in delivering this exciting initiative.”

“One of the key roles for Ms Bateman over the next 24 months will be to identify short, medium and long-term outcomes for the delivery of the strategy and how these outcomes will be measured against our 2030 target.

“FIAL is also delighted to announce a call for innovative projects that encourage collaboration between small and large businesses in the food and agribusiness sector, to lift productivity and competitiveness.

“We will match funding of over $100,000 and up to $1 million to help industry and agribusiness solve an innovation challenge. Projects that involve and benefit multiple businesses across the sector will be viewed more favourably for funding.

“Now that Ms Bateman has joined us, FIAL’s attention will turn to working hard on the four key areas of the National Food Waste Strategy: policy support, business improvements, market development and behaviour change.

“I am also delighted that the Australian Government recently increased its funding for food waste and announced a further $30 million in funding for the Fight Food Waste CRC to empower industry and individuals to help tackle food insecurity and enhance Australia’s reputation as a sustainable producer of premium food products.

“This decision builds on the $1.37 million already contributed by the Australian Government and states and territories towards eliminating food waste.

 “I look forward to working with the new CRC,” said Dr Prica.

 The National Food Waste Strategy is being delivered as part of the Australian’s Government election commitment to halve Australia’s food waste by 2030.

Scholarships set students on course for vintage careers

Thanks to a donation from Casella Family Brands, four University of Adelaide students are pursuing their dreams of careers in the wine industry.

Edith Parsons-Lucas, Benjamin Jones and Lucas Allen have been awarded undergraduate scholarships worth $15,000 each to support them in the first year of their studies, and Lukas Papagiannis will benefit from an honours scholarship worth $5,000. 

This is the first year the scholarships have been awarded. A total of $180,000 over three years will support new students.

“Thanks to the generous support of Casella Family Brands, aspiring grape growers and winemakers from outside Adelaide, or those who would not otherwise be able to afford the cost of studying and living in Adelaide, will be able to pursue their passion,” says Vladimir Jiranek, Professor of Oenology at The University of Adelaide’s Waite campus.

Lukas Papagiannis will use his scholarship to support himself while focusing on the final year of his studies.

“What sparked my interest in winemaking was a love for chemistry and a need for a mobile career path not limited to one corner of the globe,” says Mr Papagiannis.

Edith Parsons-Lucas, has worked in the industry for four years but unlike many of her colleagues, she can now undertake formal studies.

“I am now realising my dream of studying wine-making. I am concerned about the long-term effects of climate change on the wine industry and I want to play a part in ensuring its future,” says Ms Parsons-Lucas.

Benjamin Jones moved from Victoria as he feels Adelaide is the best place to learn his craft.

“I was attracted to studying at the University of Adelaide as it has the best facilities and reputation. This scholarship has certainly helped me achieve my goals of studying with the best,” says Mr Jones.

Lucas Allen fell in love with the world of wine while working overseas in the hospitality and retail industry.

“All the lecturers have been very welcoming. They make us feel that if we believe in ourselves and do the hard yards, we can succeed in our dreams whatever they may be,” he says.

 “There are intensive overseas study tours as part of my course that I can now take that I could not otherwise have afforded without this scholarship. I hope that one day I can shake Mr Casella’s hand over a glass of red and tell him personally how much this has made a difference to my university life,” says Mr Allen.

“Casella Family Brands has always championed excellence in grape growing and winemaking ever since the 1950s,” says John Casella, Managing Director of Casella Family Brands, Australia’s largest family-owned winery and makers of world-renowned wines which include yellow tail.

“These scholarships will encourage students to excel in their studies and plant the seeds for the future of young grape growers and winemakers.”

Can we have our chip and eat it too?

Ever since Swedish scientists discovered acrylamide in food in the early 2000s, there has been growing concerns over the potential negative impact it could have on people’s health, and some regulatory bodies have been looking at ways to restrict acrylamide levels in consumer products.

Acrylamide is a chemical, which forms during the cooking process when sugars and amino acids are release from food. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, have the highest levels, ad certain cooking methods, such as frying and barbecuing, produce higher levels than boiling or steaming.

The World Health Organisation and the International Agency for Research on Cancer has labelled acrylamide as “probably carcinogenic to humans”; the US Environmental Protection Agency has categorized it as an “extremely hazardous substance”, and the European Food Safety Authority noted that acrylamide was a “public health concern as it potentially increases the risk of developing cancer in consumers of all ages”

While these groups have given clear warnings to regulatory bodies and pushed for stricter, maximum levels to be enforced, some say that not enough is being done to curb the occurrence of acrylamide in consumer products. Is this trend about to shift?

In 2016, Denmark lowered indicative levels for acrylamide, and it seems that the European Commission (EC) is only steps away to setting stricter regulations. In 2007, the EC adopted a Recommendation on the Monitoring of Acrylamide Levels in Food, in 2011, they adopted a Recommendation on Investigations into the Levels of Acrylamide in Food, and in 2017 the EC is set to vote on draft regulation on acrylamide.

So what does this mean for food producers? The acrylamide topic is continuing to gain traction, and it may only be a matter of time before stricter legislation is realised.

Potato chip producers are one group at the greatest risk of being hit by this legislation, with these products producing some of the highest acrylamide levels. European manufacturers especially cannot be complacent and let changing legislation creep up on them without being duly prepared.

This now begs the question: Is there a way to reduce acrylamide in potato chips without compromising on taste and quality? The answer is yes. The upside is that these products can be marketed as a ‘premium’ product to appeal to an ever-increasing health-conscious market segment.

These are a number of ways to reduce acrylamide levels in food, such as varying cooking temperatures; storing raw product in different ways; harvesting at different times of the year; ingredient additions; or changing growing conditions altogether. But these methods can affect long-term costs and have negative effects on the taste on your products.

For potato product manufacturers, there is an alternative method which can reduce acrylamide levels by over 50%. This method is known as electroporation. Electroporation is a technique in which electrical fields are sent through a cell in order to perforate the out membrane with microscopic holes. In the case of a potato, this process allows sugars and amino acids to be released from the potato prior to cooking, which in turn lessens the occurrence of acrylamide.

Heat and Control, in partnership with ScandiNova – a world leader in the development and production of Pulsed Power Systems, have developed a potato processing machine which does just that. The machine, known as E-FLO, can fit into any potato processing line and requires low voltage, minimal maintenance and has a patented transformer design.

Peeled and washed potatoes are supplied in measured quantities by upstream equipment and delivered to the E-FLO infeed chute. The rotating E-FLO wheel transports the potatoes through the processing area as a compact packed bed through a water bath. Processing has to take place in a water bath for the electrical pulses to influence the product as desired. After a short exposure to the electric field pulses, to perforate the cell walls, the potatoes are lifted and discharged from the water bath by the continuing rotation of the wheel into the discharge chute. The potato then continues down the production line where greater amounts of sugars and amino acids can be removed during the slicing and washing stages. THE RESULT: potato chips with a reduction in acrylamide of over 50%, in some test cases.

But apart from reducing acrylamide and creating a healthier product, there are a number of other advantages to running your potatoes through a gauntlet of electrical fields:


A notable benefit to pulsing your potatoes with electricity is that your chip is crispier. The E-FLO increases the amount of starch in the outer layers of the potato, which helps to give the chip that all-important bite. It also reduces the need or length of time needed to blanch your potatoes before cooking.

Less wear and tear

Slicing thousands of potatoes daily can quickly result in dull slicer blades. The E-FLO, however softens the tissue of the potato, allowing the blades to slice between the cells of the potato rather than through them. This lessens the pressure and friction on your tools, which means less down time and longer equipment life. Slicing between the cells of the potato also produces a smoother chip surface. A smoother surface means the chip absorbs less oil, which, in the long run, can significantly reduce your oil expenditure.

Product potential

The E-FLO has the potential to work on a range of products, such as differing root vegetables,  making them easier to process. Because the E-FLO softens the tissue of the raw product, different cutting technology can be used to create new shapes more easily.

While there hasn’t been a direct link between acrylamide and cancer in humans, the evidence provides researchers with a ‘more than likely’ scenario. It may just be a matter of time before tougher restrictions are put in place for food manufacturers. Either way, introducing a machine which reduces acrylamide levels while producing a crispier and crunchier chip into your production line makes sense. And giving consumers the choice of a healthier, ‘premium’ product may just increase your customer base.

With the E-FLO, we can all have our chip and eat it too.

Danny Celoni appointed CEO of PepsiCo ANZ

PepsiCo has appointed Danny Celoni to the role of Australia and New Zealand CEO. He will assume responsibility for the snacks and beverages portfolios, including local brands Smith’s, Red Rock Deli and Bluebird; and international brands Pepsi, Gatorade and Doritos.

Currently PepsiCo ANZ’s Commercial Director, Danny will step into the role following the appointment of former CEO, Robbert Rietbroek to Senior Vice President and General Manager of PepsiCo’s Quaker Foods North America business.

Danny joined PepsiCo in November 2016, and has more than 22 years of experience in senior sales, commercial and strategy roles and in leading large-scale businesses across multiple geographies, including 17 years with Diageo, and four years in strategy consulting.

Adel Garas, President, PepsiCo Asia Pacific, said: “Danny brings to the role a deep understanding of our customers and the Australian and New Zealand retail environments. He has been instrumental in the growth of our brands over the past 18 months and is well placed to lead the team as we chart our next chapter.”

Danny Celoni said: “I couldn’t be prouder to lead PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand. With an enviable portfolio of both home-grown and world-leading brands, and a great team of talented people, PepsiCo is in a strong position to continue to drive category-leading innovation and growth in Australia and New Zealand.”

Comprehensive surge protection against injury, damage and downtime

A lightning strike can discharge several hundred kilovolts of electricity and the ability to protect people from injury and safeguard against fire or electrical destruction when they occur is critical. Surge protection is a critical component of this safeguard and by investing in surge protection you create operational reliability.

APS Industrial are proud to offer the extended range of VARITECTOR surge arrestors from Weidmuller for that purpose. Ideal for use in power distribution systems, electronic equipment, as well as for measurement, control and regulating signals (analogue and digital), these quality surge arrestors reliably protect you and your operations against this potential injury and damage.

The VARITECTOR range offers increased application flexibility with further suitability with data interfaces like Ethernet Cat. 6 and protective elements your telephone systems.

The extended range of lightning protection products can be used in conjunction with all Weidmüller industrial ethernet, power supplies, analogue signal processors as well as relays and semiconductor switches – all available from APS Industrial.


Organics industry coming of age

The organic food and beverage sector has announced that Australian Organic is set to become its peak representative body. Matthew McDonald spoke to Quentin Kennedy, a director of that organisation, about where the industry is heading.

Things have changed for the organic food indutry. It has entered the mainstream.

According to the 2017 Australian Organic Market Report, a survey conducted by Australian Organic (AO), more than two out of three Australian households purchased organic products in the previous year.    

And it’s not just consumers who are attracted to organics. The survey showed that Australia has more certified organically managed agricultural land than any other country. In addition, the 27 million-plus hectares used for certified organic farming in this country account for about 7 per cent of our total farmland.

These figures have translated into more organisation. In February, the industry came together for the Love Organic Symposium, an event in Canberra which was attended not only by growers and manufacturers, but also Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud, and others. Out of the symposium it was agreed that, for the first time in Australia, a peak organics body will be formed. Over the coming months a permanent structure of the organisation, to retain the name Australian Organic, will be finalised.

According to Quentin Kennedy (pictured below), a director of AO and managing director of organic cereal grain processor Kialla Pure Foods, most Australians (76 per cent) are already aware of this organisation and its “bud logo”.

Australian Organic logo CMYK

“Originally we began as Biological Farmers of Australia which was both a member-owned body and a certification body. But some years ago we split off the clinical certifier Australian Certified Organic (ACO) as a subsidiary,” he said. “Then we also changed our name and moved from a member-based co-op to a not for profit and renamed ourselves Australian Organic.”

He explained that AO has a license agreement with ACO to approve the use of the logo on all certified products. “We’re separating ACO and opening up use of the bud logo to anyone that has certified with other certification bodies. In return, they will pay a fee which will go towards industry development,” he said.

So AO will now stand alone as the peak industry body. Asked why this step has taken so long, Kennedy nominated diversity and the relative youth of the industry as two important factors.

“The term organic covers all sectors of food and beverage production and agriculture, so having a single voice previously had been a challenge for us. It’s not until an industry starts maturing and getting a critical mass behind certain opinions that you’re able to get consensus.”

Growth, regulation and export potential

The organic food and beverage sector is growing. According to Kennedy, manufacturers of all sizes are now interested in producing organic products. “The bigger corporate players are looking at it now, just from the point of view of differentiating their product,” he said.

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According to the 2017 Australian Organic Market Report, in 2016 Australian exports of organic products increased by 17 per cent (in terms of overall tonnage) as compared to the previous year. While this growth was to all continents, according to Kennedy, much of the future growth is likely to be to Asian markets.

The Government responded to this potential by commissioning professional services network Deloitte Australia to conduct an Organic Export Orders Review. According to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the aim of the review is to improve access for Australian organic products into premium markets and increase the competitiveness of the sector. Submissions ended in late February and the results of the review are due for release in the second half of this year.

Kennedy pointed out that any subsequent regulation is likely to centre around establishing and proving that “organic” products destined for exports are, in fact, organic.

“It’s a regulatory impact statement so they’re assessing the impact of legislation. We want a level of legislation to stay because we need authenticity for our organic exporters,” he said.

In addition, Kennedy said one of the key aims should be to establish equivalence with the national standards of various other nations.

Pointing to personal experience, he said, “One big challenge is we have to be certified to, for example, US standards and Korean standards. Not only is there a lot of lost opportunity but also it adds spend to our systems. We’ve got to store grain in individual silos depending on the certification and we can lose opportunity if we haven’t got product that is certified for Korea.”

Kennedy said that there is still no domestic regulation around organics and said that, though it is not within the scope of the Deloitte review, the industry is hoping this situation will be addressed some time down the track.

“There’s no domestic regulation and it’s a big challenge for us,” he said. “Having domestic regulation around the term ‘organic’ would assist the industry and prevent the players who choose to short cut and not do the right thing.”

But overall he is positive about the industry. He welcomes the establishment of AO as the peak body for the Australian organics industry and is looking forward to the future, both from the point of view of his own business and that of the broader sector.

“The industry’s matured. It’s coming together and it’s a force to be reckoned with. We’ve moved on from being on the hippy fringe, so to speak, and we’re here to stay,” he said.

Ministers commit to eliminating all packaging going to landfill

In a landmark Meeting of the Environment Ministers (MEM), the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has been endorsed to lead the government’s response to the China Ban issue, setting a target to achieve 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging in Australia by 2025.

APCO is recognised as one of Australia’s leading product stewardship organisations with a strong national and global collaborative network. Its established frameworks, resource capabilities and proven independence underpins its capacity to facilitate a whole of life cycle response to China’s waste import restrictions.

Brooke Donnelly, APCO CEO commented: “The China issue presents a significant opportunity for Australia to shift to the next level in packaging resource recovery, recycling and end use. Today’s announcement is a monumental call to action and one of the most ambitious and decisive environmental targets to be supported in Australia. We applaud the Federal, State and Territory Governments for stepping up as key players in the global movement to create sustainable packaging solutions that drive accountability, transparency and shared value for consumers, industry and government.

“We will support more innovative packaging design, enhance consumer education, as well as bolster the re-use and the incorporation of recycled content within end markets.

“Across these initiatives, it’s essential that we take a consistent national approach. One that will promote domestic recycling and resource recovery to reduce the amount of waste going into landfill and deliver a smaller, cleaner waste stream in Australia.”

A joint statement released today by all of Australia’s federal, state and territory environment ministers committed to: Reduce the amount of waste generated and make it easier for products to be recycled. Ministers endorsed a target of 100 percent of Australian packaging being recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025 or earlier. Governments will work with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), representing over 900 leading companies, to deliver this target. Ministers endorsed the development of targets for the use of recycled content in packaging, and this will be closely monitored.

Nestlé Australia, CEO, Sandra Martinez said: “We welcome this announcement from Minister Frydenberg, as we recognise businesses must step up and find improved solutions to reduce, re-use and recycle. Nestlé is proud to be a member of APCO and is working collectively alongside industry to achieve 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025.”

Fast food industry flagged as target for waste eating system

South Australian scientist David Thompson has developed a system that uses anaerobic digestion technology to turn a range of plastics, including polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, into methane. His POET System process also produces environmentally safe, organic by-products that can be used as garden fertiliser and mulch.

Although initially developed for plastics, Thompson has tweaked the technology to process combined waste. He said this would be ideal for the fast food sector as its waste was often not able to be recycled because it was not made of the right material or it was contaminated with food waste.

“We’re exploring the potential of using the technology for a fast food chain where we can look at processing the food waste together with the plastic, paper and cardboard packaging all at once,” Thompson, the POET System CEO said.

“What we’ve been able to show through our in-house testing is that if we took a bin from a fast food outlet containing food scraps, paper, cardboard and plastics we would be able to process that all at once and create energy in the form of methane through the POET System.

“The key with the POET System is that we are able to convert the hydrocarbons within the plastic back to something that’s basically a carbon based inert, organic fertiliser.”

POET Systems was a 2017 semi-finalist in the Australian Technologies Competition, which assesses, mentors and promotes companies providing a uniquely Australian take on the future and is open to technologies that have global potential in a range of industries.

Thompson will file an application for patent protection this month and is looking for an investor to help build a demonstration plant capable of processing, initially, 5000 tonnes of plastic a year.

Thompson said in the fast food waste system, the rubbish collected from outlets would go to a central POET System in a regional area or city. He said his system would be ideally located alongside existing anaerobic digestion infrastructure such as what was commonly used at wastewater treatment plants or green waste processing.

“Knowing that I can put it through a particular process that the POET System already has without requiring any separation and then it all goes straight into the anaerobic digestor – that was the goose bump moment,” he said.

“I thought ‘if I can get this up and running’ how many of these fast food outlets are there?

“It would be nice to get a fast food chain to sponsor a program. You’ve also got the supermarkets with their out of date food that’s wrapped in plastic or on foam trays – all that can go through in one hit.”

The company, based in the South Australian capital Adelaide, is looking for an investment of about AU$2.5 million to help it build a 100-tonne a week plastics plant. Thompson said he was also interested in attracting investment from a fast food company to fast track a second system capable of digesting co-mingled waste.

“The nice thing about the POET system is that it’s a really soft system because although there are some mechanical processes at the beginning to make plastics attractive to the bacteria that digest it, it’s the bacteria that do all the work,” Thompson said.

“It’s a natural process and because we’re able to make plastics attractive to bacteria to colonise the waste and actually digest it that’s the beauty of the whole thing.”

The extension of China’s ‘Operation Green Fence’ policy came into effect in January, banning the importation of 24 categories of contaminated solid waste including paper, plastics, textiles and some metals. This caused prices for recyclable materials to crash and left waste management companies in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia with vast amounts of unsaleable waste.

Before the ban, China imported almost 30 million tonnes of waste paper and 7 million tonnes of “recyclable” plastic a year – including about 30 per cent of Australia’s waste paper and plastic. This is on top of the estimated 1 million tonnes of contaminated plastic that is deemed unfit for recycling and sent to landfill in Australia each year.

A Senate Inquiry into the waste and recycling industry in Australia is due to report back on June 13. The issue is expected to be raised at a meeting of Australian state and federal environment ministers on April 27.

“What was recently deemed as being recyclable is no longer recyclable – there is no value in waste plastic because there is no viable waste processing capability in Australia and I’d like to think the POET system can meet a significant segment of that,” Thompson said.

“This opens up doors for us, we have an awful lot of plastic that is going to landfill in Australia and that’s being replicated all around the world.

“Once we get our demonstration plant built, order books from clients will open.”

Thompson said he has had the technology academically reviewed to prove that the science stacks up and the system is scalable.

“We’ve got conformity to international standards and nobody has ever done that,” he said.

“And I’ve been able to repeat that and take it to the next level to doing a single phase process that treats cardboard, plastic and food waste all through in one hit.

“We know what we need to do, we’re confident, we’ve done all the independent testing and all that can be put on the table with investors – real data, real results.”

F&B deal activity takes a breather

Following a frenetic end to 2017, corporate activity in the food and beverage industry slowed down in January and February, with six transactions announced during this period.

In2Food Group, a supplier of freshly prepared meals to David Jones, announced the acquisition of three state-based fruit and vegetable providore businesses: Yarra Valley Farms, T&F All States and Briz Fresh. The combined value of the three acquisitions is estimated to be $50 million.

Private equity firm, Next Capital, completed the acquisition of Noisette Bakery. Noisette is a Melbourne-based artisanal commercial bakery that sells a range of breads, cakes and pastries. The business distributes to the foodservice market in Melbourne and also distributes from two retail sites in Melbourne.

Acquisitions announced
As reported in our previous article, Quadrant Private Equity acquired an 85 per cent shareholding in confectionery maker, Darrell Lea, in what is considered a standout transaction. The transaction values the Darrell Lea business at approximately $200 million.

Grocery delivery business Aussie Farmers Direct entered voluntary administration on 5 March 2018, with the closure of the business described as “hugely disappointing”. Aussie Farmers Direct had approximately 100 franchisees, 260 employees and 100,000 customers and was started 13 years ago. Korda Mentha was appointed as administrator.

aaaaa Shot 2018-03-16 at 2.14.48 PM

[Ben van der Westhuizen and David Baveystock are directors of Comet Line Consulting, an advisory business that specialises in acquisitions and divestments within the Australian food and beverage industry. For more information visit]

Recycling crisis has employers eyeing sustainability skills

Future university graduates could be the key to solving Australia’s recycling crisis if they hone their skills in sustainability, resource efficiency and waste management, according to a Deakin University environmental science researcher.

Deakin School of Life and Environmental Sciences lecturer Dr Trevor Thornton said the skills had emerged as a career-winning qualification on modern resumes, with more employers looking for candidates who had been trained in waste management.

Dr Thornton said there had been a major shift in the perception of waste management, with a new growth industry of experts now being employed to review organisational sustainability and waste action plans.

“The person responsible for waste management at an organisation used to be the cleaner, now we have sustainability managers at the executive level of major companies,” he said.

“More organisations and businesses are recognising the value of having a concerted sustainability plan and employing people with the skills to implement it.”

Dr Thornton said candidates with sustainability skills also stood out in other roles, particularly given the current national conversation about plastic bag bans and recycling issues.

“No matter what career path someone is undertaking, the issue of waste management gives them another string to their bow,” he said.

“Sustainability is a life skill, and the benefits aren’t just environmental – they can also help a business’ bottom line and perception among consumers.”

Dr Thornton said an understanding of regulatory controls, waste auditing techniques and minimisation methods, emerging technologies, clean production, municipal waste laws, and sustainability strategies would only become more valuable as resource management and waste issues continued to exacerbate.

“Whether you’re working in a lab, a factory, a retail business, city council or on a construction site, having the skills to recognise waste management issues and introduce sustainable alternatives makes you a very valuable employee,” he said.

Alibaba Group pilots product trial on blockchain traceability system

Alibaba (Australia) and a group of founding partners have launched pilot orders through its new Food Trust Framework, a Tmall Global initiative that uses blockchain technology to improve supply chain traceability.

Taking place in Auckland, New Zealand, and hosted by CEO of Alibaba Group, Daniel Zhang, the pilot follows Alibaba’s announcement last year that it would engage PwC in Australia, New Zealand and China as a service provider to advise the company on the set up of a framework to protect product authenticity and provide a safe and trusted marketplace for consumers. Alibaba also signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year partnering with Blackmores, Australia Post, Fonterra and New Zealand Post in the Framework.

Blackmores and Fonterra are the first companies to trial the Food Trust Framework, shipping products from Australia and New Zealand to China. Blackmores is shipping Odorless Fish Oil while Fonterra is shipping Anchor dairy products to consumers who purchase them on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform. Once the pilot is complete and if successful, the Framework could form the basis of a global supply chain model applied across all of Alibaba Group’s e-commerce markets.

The Framework aims to achieve end-to-end supply chain traceability and transparency to enhance consumer confidence and build a trusted environment for cross-border trade across Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform by incorporating a range of standards and controls to manage the supply chain process, including blockchain technology and product tagging with unique QR codes. These technologies are designed to authenticate, verify, record and provide ongoing reporting of the transfer of ownership and provision of products and goods.

Recognisng the significance and importance of an independent view as to the operation and application of the Framework, PwC plans to provide services to the participants. An independent assessment of the Framework aims to provide the visibility and transparency of the level of adherence to the Framework by participants in the supply chain, including consideration of existing reporting and practices.

The Framework represents the next step in Alibaba’s vision to build the future infrastructure of commerce and will help give confidence to producers, merchants, logistics providers and consumers alike.

Speaking at the launch in Auckland, Alibaba Group’s Alvin Liu, General Manager of Tmall Import & Export said: “Food fraud is a significant global challenge, particularly with the growing complexity of supply chains. In response, we have created a coordinated, world-leading and robust framework that involves stakeholders from across the supply chain to improve visibility and enhance the confidence of both end consumers and merchants.”

Food fraud costs the global food industry an estimated US$40bn each year, according to research from the Michigan State University. PwC has also estimated that 40 per cent of food companies find food fraud difficult to detect with current methods, and 39 per cent think their products are easy to counterfeit.

“Blackmores goes to extraordinary lengths to have visibility over our supply chain and each of our products passes 30 tests and checks before it is released for sale.  So we’re exploring ways to leverage the technology and data that can provide our consumers with assurance that their trust in our products is well-placed,” said Richard Henfrey, Blackmores Chief Executive Officer.  “Our commitment to quality doesn’t end in our distribution centre and we need to give consumers confidence in the products they purchase on e-commerce platforms.”

Fonterra President Greater China, Christina Zhu, said: “Fonterra delivers global best practice supply chain traceability through our existing technology. Given the potential of emerging tech, including blockchain, we want to be at the forefront of developing food quality and safety standards across the supply chain. In China and many other markets, we know consumers want to be able to trace the products they purchase online, so we welcome being a part of creating a globally respected framework that protects the reputation of food companies and gives greater value and consumer confidence.”


Higher wine prices do not discourage investors – report

With current tight global inventories, higher prices are now assumed and accepted by buyers, while innovation in wine is increasing, according to a new report.

Rabobank’s latest Global Wine Quarterly report also found that bBeverage categories are blending and demand for organic wine is growing, even if this has taken longer than initially anticipated. These are just some of the trends observed at the world’s leading wine and spirits trade fair, Dusseldorf’s ProWein 2018, and outlined in the report.

Australian wine exports in 2017 reflected the sharp increase in sales to China, with China now outpacing the US to be the largest buyer of Australian wine in value terms. Exports of bulk wine contracted, with the exception of sales to China, while exports of bottled wine to Europe – UK, Germany, The Netherlands, and Sweden – saw a positive trend that more than offset the slightly weaker bottled sales to North America.

Australian exports to the US were up by 24 per cent in volume in 2017, driven by an 89 per cent increase in shipments of bulk wine, with bottled wine down by six per cent. Bulk wine export volumes to the US are quickly approaching those of bottled wines and the change in the mix is having a clear impact on the average price per litre.

Across the board, Australian wine exports increased by 9.4 per cent in volume terms and 16.7 per cent in value in 2017.

Entering the harvesting period for the southern hemisphere, bulk wine prices remain high after having steadily increased in the last months of last year. The report says tight availability is likely to prevent any correction in the near future, and although larger volumes are expected in various markets (South Africa being the key exception), this is not enough to move the market back to balance.

From a M&A perspective, the recent acquisition of Accolade Wines by US private equity group P.E Carlyle for AUD1billion reflects investor interest in the wine industry and the growth potential of the Chinese market, with rising exports of Australian wine to China.

Chiko Roll helps keep 123 jobs in Bathurst

Simplot, the maker of the iconic Chiko Roll, has saved 75 jobs and created 48 more roles at its Bathurst  manufacturing plant.

Significant payroll tax support from the NSW Government helped make this outcome a reality and Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW, Skills and Small Business John Barilaro, and the Member for Bathurst Paul Toole today toured the site on Monday.

Barilaro said Simplot was facing the prospect of shutting down in 2013, when the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government stepped in to help the company keep its doors open and remain competitive in a tough sector.

“Bathurst was staring down the barrel of significant job losses,” Barilaro said.

“It would have been a tragedy for one of the biggest employers in Bathurst, let alone the producer of the iconic Chiko Roll, loved by so many, to close down.

“The success story of Simplot today is very different to the situation they faced five years ago.

“It is a tribute to Simplot which, with the right support from the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government, was able to continue to grow and invest in the Central West.

“This story is one that showcases how a good business and a good Government can come together to generate a great result for a local community.

“Simplot has transformed itself from an aging manufacturing site into a globally competitive food processing giant, not only saving jobs at the plant but increasing them,” he said.

Bathurst has been at the centre of food processing in Australia since vegetable canning commenced in 1929, and is the home to household’s brands such as Birds Eye frozen vegetables and the iconic Chiko Roll.

Flow and pressure valve reduces air consumption

SMC’s flow and pressure valves in the AS-R and AS-Q series once again highlights the automation specialist’s commitment to energy savings. Customers can now enjoy a cut in internal air consumption by up to 25 per cent when using the AS-R pressure valve and an AS-Q flow valve on their cylinders.

Among the many tangible benefits, using these valves helps to shorten the response time of the return stroke and harmonises stroke movements to prevent a harsh jerky start. In pressing applications, these valves enable a rapid supply of compressed air at the end of the stroke while the valve bodies and plug-and-socket connections can rotate 360° to ensure fast and easy installation.

Energy savings in the compressed air system

SMC’s range of pressure and flow valves includes six AS-R and five AS-Q models. SMC supplies these in R1/8, R1/4, R3/8 and R1/2 connection sizes and for hose diameters ranging from 6 to 12 mm.

Customers are able to choose between the new AS-R series with its fixed 2 bar supply pressure and the older ASR valves with fixed or variable set pressures depending on the application where pressures are adjusted manually using a handle with a three-part scale.

The pressure valve and flow valves are mounted together on cylinders. The AS-Q flow valve is installed on the working stroke side and the AS-R pressure valve on the return stroke side. Both valve series have similar designs: the pressure valves consist of regulator, with a check valve and a throttle check valve. The flow valves in the AS-Q series contain a quick supply valve, an exhaust valve and a throttle check valve.

The bigger the cylinder, the greater the savings

AS-R/AS-Q valves are recommended for cylinders with a diameter of 32mm up to 125mm bore, and an inlet pressure of at least 3 Bar. What’s truly of value to customers is that savings increase with bigger cylinders or higher air consumption levels, and larger pressure differences between the working and return strokes.

A wide range of uses

SMC’s new energy-saving compressed air valves enable machine manufacturers to make their products more energy-efficient without making any fundamental design changes. Manufacturers who incorporate this technology can enjoy a competitive edge which in-turn translates into higher revenues.


Setting the standard right for the food & beverage industry

It is crucial we have a global set of standards across the food and beverage industry to support the rise of the digital era which is all about quality data and accuracy of information. Syed Shah interviewed Maria Palazzolo, executive director and CEO of GS1 Australia, about this goal.

Maria Palazzolo (pictured below) has seen the gradual evolution of business over the last 35 years. Through this period, she has worked with businesses of all sizes and in a range of sectors – always towards a vision of the future. A vision where all companies and their supply chains have full visibility of the products they are trading. Where recalls can be affected in minutes, not weeks. Where everyone can share in the benefits of the greater efficiencies created, including consumers.

The vision is possible today. It’s possible through the adoption of the standards and solutions provided by the GS1 system. Palazzolo’s goal now is to see those standards implemented at a whole of industry level, and her vision become reality.

For over 40 years, GS1 Australia has dedicated itself to the design and implementation of global standards for efficient business communication and to build smarter supply chains. Today, the GS1 system of standards is the global language of business to identify, capture and share information about products moving efficiently and securely up and down supply chains all over the world.

Efficient standards ensure effective exchanges between companies, facilitate interoperability and provide structure to the exchange of data in many industries. Using GS1 standards brings together companies representing all parts of the supply chain – manufacturers, distributors, retailers, hospitals, transporters, customs organisations, software developers, regulatory authorities and more.

The generic blueprint of GS1 standards 

Palazzolo explained that standards form the core business of the GS1 philosophy. And users of GS1 standards make it possible for the right product to be in the right place at the right time.

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“We sometimes need to go back to where it all began to put things into perspective about GS1. In 1973, industry leaders in the US selected a single standard for product identification that is still used today and known as the GS1 barcode, named recently by the BBC as one of the 50 things that made the world economy,” she said.

Five years later, GS1 Australia became the Australian member of the global GS1 organisation and major Australian retailers began to adopt the GS1 system of barcoding and numbering as their preferred standard for trade. GS1 began to roll out value-added services to support the implementation of these standards by its members.

“Nearly 40 years have passed since the GS1 barcode revolutionised the way we do business in Australia but on many occasions, I still have people ask me, ‘Who is GS1 and what do you do?’. In many ways, we are the world’s best kept secret because when you think about what GS1 does to help businesses get their products from the manufacturer to the retailer and consumer, the GS1 system touches pretty much everyone around the world almost every single day,” said Palazzolo.

“Chances are, if you’re a consumer of something, you would have most likely come across and been a part of the GS1 system in action. Shoppers at major supermarket stores in Australia will hear the familiar beep of the GS1 barcode at the checkout, although it is unlikely that many of them will realise that each of those beeps is GS1 standards at work. The GS1 barcode still remains the most widely used identification system and supply chain standard in the world.”

Global standards for identification

Palazzolo explained that the food and beverage industry in Australia is one of the most advanced industries in its adoption of GS1 standards to ensure best practice within its supply chains.

The GS1 system is a common foundation for businesses that enables unique identification, accurate data capture and automatic sharing of vital information about products, locations, shipments assets and more. Within the GS1 system, barcodes are just one part of the technology available to carry the unique GS1 identifiers.

Simply, the GS1 system provides a common language for all local and global businesses to communicate with each other and exchange information. This builds efficiency and accuracy, reducing the need to exchange data in multiple different ways with multiple trading partners.

Standards for traceability and food safety

The humble barcode, seen today on every consumer product, has served us well for a long time. But it must support today’s world where information needs to be more readily available, and consumers expect to know more about what they are buying. Food and beverage companies need the ability to track and trace their products and have full visibility throughout their supply chains.

Traceability is an important part of an organisation’s product recall management plan. Without an effective traceability process in place, delays in actioning a product recall can escalate into a crisis.

The speed and effectiveness with which a product recall is communicated to retailers and government authorities has implications for not only the consumer, but a business’s reputation.

To protect the security of the Australian food chain and the safety of consumers, the implementation of GS1 standards allows visibility of product, up and down the supply chain. By using GS1 standards, recalled products can to be traced quickly and efficiently back to the source of origin.

Issuing a recall or withdrawal with GS1 Australia’s Recall service is simple, fast and inexpensive. Based on global GS1 standards, Recall is a centralised online portal designed to streamline the management of product recall and withdrawal notifications.

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“All food and beverage companies have different kinds of traceability systems within their organisations. The common denominator across all of those systems is that they have to identify the product they want to trace. For instance, a certain bag of sugar or wheat among thousands of bags – each uniquely identified so that it can be traced back to its source. The use of GS1 standards allows for this complete traceability, not only within an organisation, but also across all organisations within their supply chains,” said Palazzolo.

“So, put simply, if everyone used one single global standard they would have the ability to have total traceability of their products from raw material through to the end customer, the consumer.”

Palazzolo explained that with the GS1 system, every bag could have a serial number containing, among other things, data on location, manufacturing process, product ingredients, handling and where the raw materials were sourced.

For GS1, food safety and reducing errors are of utmost importance.

“Avoiding these errors and protecting consumers from any harm is a responsibility that all manufacturers take very seriously and by having robust traceability systems in place they can avoid irreversible damages,” said Palazzolo.

GS1 standards exist today that can encode data such as batch/lot numbers, use-by and best-before dates and other product attributes at all levels of packaging from bulk materials to single produce items and finished goods.

GS1 Australia recently introduced a new type of barcode called the GS1 Databar for loose produce to complement existing barcodes. This barcode not only increases the number of products that can be automatically identified at retail point of sale, but also creates new opportunities to solve today’s retail business problems such as enhanced and wider category management, product authentication, traceability, stock control, product replenishment, variable measure product identification and shrink control.

The GS1 Databar is currently being rolled out in Australia for loose “produce only”, such as apples, citrus and pears in this first implementation. Soon, it will be applied to other fresh items including meat and cheese to better manage stock rotations and sales accuracy.

Getting the ball rolling towards a standardised industry

Palazzolo explained that, globally and locally, the food and beverage industry still has some way to go in terms of the use of a single standard that will assist in traceability. She explained that the industry needs to get connected along different supply chains. She believes that all suppliers and manufacturers (raw materials, packaging, transport, logistics, etc.) need to be aligned in order to make this happen.

“I think that the industry needs to ask questions like ‘How do we create a completely seamless supply chain without information barriers that stop products from being accurately identified because they are not using global standards?’,” said Palazzolo. She said that this should be done not only for the purpose of traceability and to create food safety, but also, to make a business smarter and more efficient.

“The potential for what the GS1 standards can do within an organisation, in my view, in Australia, still has a long way to go but I remain hopeful because it is the logical way to go, especially as the world becomes more digital and more reliant on accurate shared data. At the moment, there are still many companies that are using their proprietary manual systems that have been in place for a long time. They don’t feel the need to change because they don’t fully understand the benefits of automating their processes and using a common global standard,” said Palazzolo.

She said that GS1 provides education and training for member companies as well as consultancy on how to implement the GS1 system.

“The food and beverage industry has led the way in the adoption of GS1 standards and we are looking forward to continuing to work in close partnership with the industry to shape the future of traceability and food safety initiatives for the benefit of the business, the brand and the consumer,” she said.

12 tips for accessing government grants to transform your business

Now more than ever, manufacturing and industrial operators could be taking advantage of underutilised government grants. Here’s how.

Although manufacturing and industrial operators have access to millions-of-dollars in government grants per year, it remains an underutilized resource. People tend to think the grant process is too difficult.

Grants are being awarded for energy & renewables, industry 4.0, business optimisation, innovation, prototype/pilots, advanced manufacturing and business diversification.

And they’re a great way to co-fund transformation, particularly if has wider benefit to community such as the environment, sustainability, employment, or increasing exports.

Now, more than ever, manufacturing and industrial operators should be taking advantage of them.

SAGE Automation has built up some experience in grants over the years. Here are their tips for completing successful grant applications:

Tip #1 – Be prepared to act quickly when a grant opens

Grants come and go very quickly – so be prepared to submit within a short timeframe.

To avoid missing out keep your eye out for new grants, set up google alerts, talk to your networks, and ask grant coordinators to keep you in the loop. Get your grant search started here.

 Tip #2 – Take the time to understand how the grant works

Grants can seem daunting at first but while they are often easier than you think, you do need to really understand how they’re structured.

Important note: Grants aren’t cash handouts!

A common mistake people make is in thinking they can choose where and how they spend grant money.

Many grants exist to give business affordable access to specialist consultants or connecting you with publically funded research organisations. This means partnering with that outside organisation.

So leave preconceived ideas at the door and focus on understanding the grants’ purpose.

Tip #3 – Absolutely 110% fit the eligibility criteria

Every grant will have basic eligibility criteria that you need to qualify for. This can be based on company size, years in business, revenue, type of business, and/or regional requirements. If you don’t fit these 100 percent, don’t waste your time submitting a grant. Instead, call the grant coordinator or administrator.

Tip #4 – Call the grant administrator before you put any effort in

There are two great benefits here:

1) it’s a great networking opportunity, and

2) they’ll tell you straight up if you’re the right fit. Plus they might provide you with some great tips for a successful application, such as examples of previous winning applications!

In short you’ll save a lot of wasted time and energy.

Tip #5 – Don’t hang everything on grant success

Be careful about making a grant the centre of your commercial proposal for a customer. Don’t expose yourself to a situation where if you don’t get the grant you still need to do the project but haven’t got the budget.

Tip #6 – Consider getting outside help to write your grant

Don’t be frightened to collaborate with the research or service provider that you want to work with on the project. They’ll often have experience in this domain. For example, both SAGE and Nukon can help a customer write a grant application.

Tip #7 – Draft it in Word

Most grants require final answers to be submitted via a web form or editable PDF. To reduce the chances of losing your work and introducing errors, draft the application in a word document and copy and paste when you’re ready to submit.

Tip #8 – Keep answers to-the-point

Make sure you address every point in the question. A good rule of thumb is to keep answers as short as possible and long as they need to be. Don’t be frightened you’re repeating yourself across different questions.

Resist the urge to answer using a long winded business story or personal circumstance. The person who is assessing your application will be trying to quantify your answers with how they align to the assessment criteria.

If you have special circumstances, talk directly with the grant administrator on the phone.

Tip #9 – Align your submission with grant providers strategic priorities

Align every answer with a strategic priority of the grant provider. Government grants are designed to support the delivery of their strategic priorities, so if your idea or concept doesn’t fit, you may be best to keep looking for one that does.

Tip #10 – Submit by the deadline & confirm your submission

Grant providers are strict on deadlines. Aim to have your draft completed well before the deadline.

Once you’ve submitted, ring the grant administrator (who should know you by now) to make sure they got your submission.  Ensure you also get confirmation in writing.

Tip #11 – Set a diary date for when you’re meant to hear back

Don’t be afraid to ring the administrator to follow up.

Tip #12 – When you get the grant, follow the reporting, timelines and rules

If you don’t spend the grant money correctly or on time, they can (and do!) take the money back – even after it’s been spent. If your circumstances change and you can no longer fulfil the grant, you can give the money back.

Make sure you submit the key milestone reporting. It’s not too onerous, but they will want the updates.

Final advice:

  • Never assume that you can’t get the grant. Grants are an untapped resource.
  • Don’t discount yourself for being too small or too large – there are grants out there for every business size and stage.
  • Keep an open mind. Many grants require you work collaboratively with research or other industry – the new perspective and specialised knowledge you can gain is invaluable if you’re willing to work with it.

Read how SAGE has worked on process optimisation projects with Udder Delights and Spring Gully – all through government grants. If you need assistance with energy, advanced manufacturing, process optimisation or digitisation related grants, get in touch at

Top five reasons for F&B to embrace biometrics

It makes sense that the food and beverage (F&B) industry is fast embracing biometrics technology. As such a dynamic industry, which involves everything from food production to retail and service, adopting biometrics is not only smart but is becoming a necessary progression. Biometric time and attendance systems work by measuring features of the body that are unique to each person. This provides accountability – which is especially important when it comes to food safety and hygiene – and unmatched efficiency.

Biometrics technology enables employers to keep track of the attendance and activity of a constantly changing and often remotely operating workforce. It’s reported that biometrics/facial recognition will be mainstream among restaurant operators by 2025 and that biometrics in the hospitality sector alone is poised to grow by 27 per cent by year 20201,2.

  1. Quality control

In the F&B industry, quality is usually the number one priority regardless of whether you’re a producer, restaurateur or consumer. If you’re a product or services supplier, and you don’t deliver on quality, you’re unlikely to survive in such a complex and fast-paced industry.

The common denominator when it comes to quality control in F&B is people. While every employer will have a process for employees to follow, and it’s up to employers to ingrain good practices among employees, having biometrics technology improves answerability to issues of quality control.

You can keep track of exactly who was on duty when or where a particular incident occurred through biometrics technology. You can also monitor overall trends in terms of quality and productivity over periods of time by linking the biometrics technology with time and attendance software.

Importantly, biometrics eliminates the possibility of employees accessing areas in which they are prohibited. This is especially relevant to the F&B industry, where food safety is just as important as quality. It also reduces the potential for theft of F&B products and/or the equipment used to create these products.

  1. Accurate tracking of attendance

Biometrics technology and their complementing time and attendance software, provide directors with real-time data that makes it possible to track every employee working at any given time.

In particular, biometrics technology prevents employees from abusing their attendance – no longer can someone log in for another employee nor can an employee punch a time card and then leave without being detected.  There is accountability for hours at all times and at all levels; the system won’t discriminate whether you’re a production line manager or entry-level food processer.

  1. Keep compliant

 Biometrics, along with digital time and attendance software, is configured to automatically ensure that all employee shift lengths and annual leave adheres to company, federal, state, local and industry regulations. This ensures a safer workplace and eliminates the risk of costly fines and penalties associated with non-compliance.

As mentioned earlier, the biometrics technology also prevents employees from entering areas that they should not have access to. Therefore the risk of tampering or contamination with consumables is contained.

Moreover, biometrics technology is advancing to the point where in the future they will be used to detect pathogens during the food production process. In tandem with the biometrics time and attendance measures, managers will be able to identify when and who was responsible for any breaches of food safety or hygiene.

  1. Remote management

The modern workplace is not necessarily a stationary, tangible space. Or in F&B, it can comprise of many physical spaces and the involvement of multiple parties. Biometrics technology and time and attendance software enables employers to keep track of everyone, anywhere, at any time. It is smart, safe and secure. It also creates a feeling of fairness among employees – that everyone abides the same rules and policies, no matter where and when they are working for the company.

  1. Better data, better use of resources

Manual timekeeping processes often result in inaccurate reporting. The consequences of such inaccuracies can prove to be costly. Examples include: overpayments, rota mistakes, holiday errors and incorrect legal compliance. Digitising the process ensures there is less room for human error.

Biometrics technology gives you accurate and paperless data on employee attendance. Managers will be able to identify patterns in lateness and sickness as well as the productivity and efficiency of an entire workforce. Spotting these trends and other anomalies will help managers make better decisions regarding their employees and the working environment.

Automated data collation and real time displays also save time and money for HR and payroll departments by cutting down on the time it takes to access information that is not kept in one central program.

Mitrefinch – Intelligent employee management

Mitrefinch, one of Australia’s leading time and attendance software providers, has extensive experience in the food industry. Mitrefinch has knowledge and expertise to work with different food providers and customise unique biometrics-driven time and attendance solutions for each business.

With over 30 years’ experience, Mitrefinch’s project team assists in every step of the way and has a dedicated consultancy team that combines project management skills and technical expertise.

To find out about time and attendance solutions for your business, visit:


  1. Restaurant 2025: Emerging technologies destined to reshape our business, published by Oracle Hospitality, March 2017
  2. Global Biometrics in Hospitality Sector, 2016-2020, published by Research and Markets’, November 2015

Safety switches for harsh environments

Treotham introduces a new range of robust safety switches from Euchner for use in packaging and food industries that are often exposed to harsh conditions. Safety switches operating in harsh production environments wear out quickly with the constant exposure to aggressive cleaning agents, acidic liquids and high-pressure cleaning devices.

Euchner’s CTP series safety switches used in in guard locking devices are made from tough media-resistant stainless steel for maximum durability. Critical components such as plugs, cover screws and guide bushes feature a high-quality stainless steel construction, minimising wear from exposure.

Similar to all safety switches from the CTP series, the stainless steel safety switch also achieves category 4/PLe in accordance with EN ISO 13849-1, without additional fault exclusion. It complies with all the requirements of EN ISO 14119.

CTP switches combine IP67 and IP69K ratings with a locking force of 3,900N to provide excellent performance in demanding environments.

Stainless steel CTP safety switches are available throughout Australia from Treotham.


FTA Portal expanded to boost Australian services exports

Australia’s services sector can better access the full potential of our Free Trade Agreements, with a recent upgrade to the award-winning (FTA) Portal.

The expansion offers Australian services providers up-to-date guidance on selling to overseas customers, travelling overseas to supply services, and establishing a competitive global presence.

Portal upgrades now include information on the commitments FTA partners have made available to Australia’s architectural, engineering, legal, accounting, auditing and taxation sectors.  These sectors accounted for more than $8.5 billion in services exports last year. Other sectors will be added by the end of June 2018.

The Turnbull Coalition Government is committed to helping Australian businesses grow and create new jobs through increased exports.

The Portal won ‘Best Applications Development’ at the Australian Government ICT Awards in 2016 and attracts around 2,600 unique users each week.  It is a key instrument in helping Australian businesses make the most of international trade agreements.

The Portal already provides free information on tariffs and rules of origin, helping traders identify opportunities in specific markets. It also includes an interactive tool to compare bilateral and regional FTAs to identify the best access for exports.

A recent study of FTA Utilisation, commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and conducted by PwC, found commitments to liberalise services are still new territory for businesses. The expanded Portal is designed to help Australian services providers better understand how trade agreements can assist their businesses.

Goods and services commitments in new FTAs, such as the recently signed TPP-11, will be added to the Portal once the agreements enter into force.