South Australian businesses save $111 million in red tape

An independent audit has found the Government is on track to reach its target of reducing red tape by a further $150 million over three years.

Minister for Industry and Trade Tom Koutsantonis says a report by Ernst and Young shows government agencies have already identified initiatives that have the potential to deliver $111 million dollars in savings to South Australian businesses, with 18 months to go until the deadline is reached.

“The Red Tape Reduction Program is about helping South Australia to stay ahead of the pack in a competitive business environment.

“According to KMPG’s 2010 Competitiveness Alternates Report, Adelaide is the second cheapest city in Australia to set up and do business, marginally behind Melbourne.

“We are the most cost-competitive city in Australia for the Corporate Services and Research and Development Industries.

“The State’s finances are in a sound position, boasting a AAA credit rating, we have an abundance of major projects either underway or in the pipeline, which are worth $71.5 billion, and employment is at a record level.

“There is no doubt in my mind that South Australia is the best place to live and work.

“We need to build on the economic momentum in South Australia, and give local businesses every opportunity to outperform their interstate and overseas rivals.”

Ernst and Young conduct an audit of the Government’s progress every six months.

The Red Tape Reduction Program is overseen by the Competitiveness Council, chaired by Minister Koutsantonis.

Its achievements, including progress of the Red Tape Reduction Program, are made public in annual reports.

The 2009-10 report, due next month, will confirm the final outcomes from Phase One – which saved businesses an estimated $168 million.

Abigroup Alliance awarded Epping to Thornleigh Third Track Project

Abigroup, as part of an alliance team including Transport for New South Wales and Leighton Contractors, has been awarded a $265 million contract to construct a third rail track and associated infrastructure between Epping and Thornleigh in north-western Sydney. The value to Abigroup under the alliance contract is circa $132 million.

The project forms part of the Australian and NSW government’s Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Program to improve the capacity and reliability for freight trains on the Main North Line between North Strathfield in Sydney and Broadmeadow in Newcastle.

As part of the project, the alliance team will design, construct and commission approximately six kilometres of new track, signalling and overhead wiring adjacent to the main northern rail line between Epping and Thornleigh train stations.

Lend Lease Chief Executive Officer, Construction and Infrastructure Australia, David Saxelby, said; “Abigroup’s record of successfully delivering important transport infrastructure in NSW makes the company an ideal partner to deliver this project.

“When complete the new track will provide much needed relief to the East Coastrail freight networkwhich will deliverlong term economic benefits and productivity improvements for Australia through increased capacity and improved travel times,” said Mr Saxelby.

The project scope includes:

• Construction of approximately six kilometres of new track on the western side of the existing track;
• An upgrade of Cheltenham Station;
• Modifications to the pedestrian underpass and commuter car park at Beecroft Station;
• Construction of a new rail bridge crossing the M2 Motorway and Devlins Creek;
• Extension of Pennant Hills Station concourse and a new lift;
• Widening of the alignment;
• Modifications to existing services within the rail corridor and in some public areas; and
• Upgrade of signalling and overhead wiring structures.

Construction work on the project will commence later this year, subject to planning approval, and is due for completion in 2016.

Abigroup named preferred contractor for Melbourne Water’s capital works program

Abigroup has been selected as one of three service providers that will be responsible for providing design and construction services to Melbourne Water with respect to Treatment Plants and Transfer/ Pipeline assets in Victoria.

Under a three-year framework agreement, Abigroup and its joint venture partner CH2M HILL, will have the opportunity to provide design and construction services for a proposed $1 billion worth of projects from Melbourne Water’s projected $2.5 billion capital works program as part of its 2013 Water Plan.

Works proposed in the plan include a $200 million capacity upgrade to the Western Treatment Plant, $130 million renewal of ageing water supply pipes and $96 million for the delivery of essential services in Melbourne’s growing west.

General Manager for Abigroup’s water business Chris Bulloch said, “We are very pleased to have been appointed one of the preferred service providers by Melbourne Water for this important infrastructure program that will drive innovation and provide essential services to the Melbourne community for the future.

“This work is a continuation of successful water infrastructure programs delivered by Abigroup, and represents an opportunity to deliver water and wastewater infrastructure with one of Australia’s largest public water authorities.”

Abigroup is currently delivering capital works programs for clients in the water sector including Sydney Water and Hunter Water Corporation in New South Wales, ACTEW in the ACT, as well as LinkWater, Gold Coast Water and the Whitsunday Regional Council in Queensland.

Open House Melbourne and MCEC

Come and get to know Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) when it opens its doors to the public for Open House Melbourne on Sunday 28 July 2013.

Learn about its fascinating design with tours led by Woods Bagot and NH Architecture, joint venture designers of the Convention Centre, one of Melbourne’s most successful Public-Private-Partnerships.

Discover why it’s been awarded some of Australia’s top awards including the National Award for Public Architecture, Victorian Architecture Medal and Sustainable Architecture Award just to name a few.

Take a peek into the southern hemisphere’s largest kitchen with underground tours hosted by MCEC’s Executive Chef Tony Panetta and uncover how the in-house team can cook for up to 10,000 visitors.

Go behind the scenes of MCEC’s Plenary and stand on the same stage as international performers and renowned leaders like Neil Young, The Jacksons, Arnold Schwarzenegger and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, then watch the space transform and experience its leading technology.

MCEC will run Open House Melbourne social media competitions and encourage visitors to tag @MCEC and use the #MCEC and #LOVEOHM hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

MCEC’s Chief Executive Peter King said MCEC is a wonderful community asset that deserves to be shown off to its owners – the people of Melbourne.

“We are proud of what we do here so come and discover one of the city’s best kept secrets.”

This is the second year MCEC has participated in Open House Melbourne, an annual event that provides the public with a free and rare opportunity to encounter a hidden wealth of buildings nestled around the city.

Visit openhousemelbourne.com.au for more information.

Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre Cuts the Cake to Celebrate 25 Years

The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre celebrated its 25th anniversary on Saturday, marking a milestone for the Australian events sector.

Centre Chief Executive Ton van Amerongen said the May 4 silver anniversary was cause for celebration across the business events industry.

“The past 25 years have seen remarkable development in the national business events landscape,” Mr van Amerongen said.

“The opening of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in 1988 represented much more than just a Bicentenary project and a rejuvenation of Darling Harbour.  It was also the catalyst for the growth and development of the entire business events industry, right across the country.”

Mr van Amerongen said Australia’s ability to host world-class events had benefited numerous local industries over the past quarter century, from medical and scientific professions through to the culinary world and sports sector.

“With a million people passing through our doors each year, the Centre has formed part of the economic and social fabric of our nation.”

Close to 15,000 events have been held at the Centre since its opening, including some of the world’s most prestigious meetings.

“We are very proud to have been a venue for major world congresses as well as high profile meetings such as the Australia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum,” Mr van Amerongen said.

“We were also a major sports venue at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and have been home to some of Australia’s largest public exhibitions, such as the Motor Show and the Boat Show.”

Mr van Amerongen thanked his staff for their contribution to the Centre’s success, saying that their skills and professionalism had kept the venue at the cutting edge of the industry since its opening in 1988.

The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre will close in December to allow for the creation of a new Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct, scheduled to open in late 2016.

UDIA Northern Territory Joins UDIA National

The Urban Development Institute of Australia (NT) today became a member of UDIA National, further strengthening UDIA’s representation of the development industry in Australia.

UDIA National President Julie Katz and UDIA (NT) President Kerry Osborne signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalising the relationship at a ceremony in Darwin today.

“The Northern Territory’s entry into UDIA National, and the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding demonstrates just how much UDIA (NT) has achieved in only a few short years” said Ms Katz.

UDIA (NT) was established in 2009 after initially beginning as a branch of UDIA (QLD). The entry of UDIA (NT) into UDIA National means that UDIA now has offices in all mainland states and territories.

The Northern Territory will significantly benefit from UDIA (NT)’s membership of UDIA National by providing the Territory’s development industry with a greater influence with the Federal Government, as well as a stronger national profile.

It will also provide the local industry with access to additional networking events and opportunities, professional development programs, and UDIA’s wealth of policy research and collective industry knowledge.

“This new agreement will give UDIA (NT) access to the best that UDIA has to offer nationally” said Ms Katz.

A highlight of UDIA (NT)’s membership of UDIA National is the potential for Northern Territory projects to be eligible for UDIA Awards, which recognise the achievements of Australia’s finest development projects.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Northern Territory projects being showcased among the best the industry has to offer” said Ms Katz.