Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Region. Independents suffer

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has approved Woolworths’and Lowe’s acquisition of two Home Timber and Hardware stores in the NSW Southern Highlands from former franchisees, as independent retailers quit the sector in face of increased competition. Mark Burrows, GM, of Home Timber and Hardware, which has stores across Western Sydney, said more acquisitions were under consideration.


Parramatta. Companies lodge bids

Three short-listed bidders, British-based Serco, French firm Veolia Transdev with Sydney-based Transfield Services, and Queensland ferry operator Transit Systems with Forgacs Engineering, have lodged bids to run Sydney’s ferry fleet. The new operator is expected to be in place by the end of the year, with the government retaining control over routes and rates.


Marsden Park. Stockland acquires land

Property developer Stockland has acquired a parcel of land in Sydney's northwest growth corridor with the potential for about 2300 new homes. Stockland bought the 163-hectare site in Marsden Park for $165 million, on deferred payment terms, from the private Winten Property Group. The land, about 5 kilometres from Riverstone railway station and 15 minutes’ drive from Norwest Business Park, is adjacent to Marsden Park Industrial Precinct, which is under development.


Region. 'We have failed dismally'.

High-tech and manufacturing in Australia has been left behind, according to Phillip Toner, at the Centre for Industry and Innovation, at the University of Western Sydney.

“Unlike Norway and Brazil, we have failed dismally to exploit the opportunities of a temporary resource boom to create high-tech service and manufacturing industries,” Mr Toner said in a letter published in The Australian Financial Review (AFR).

“Eighty per cent of capital equipment used for the LNG boom will be imported.”

Mr Toner said the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics said the total sales of local high-tech services and manufacturing firms to mining was a “tiny” $9 million a year.

“Does the AFR, (in an editorial ‘Making the mining boom pay off’) seriously endorse an economic structure akin to a third-world to a ‘resource enclave’, reliant on unprocessed mineral and agricultural exports and tourism?”, he said.

“Such enclave economics are marked by large income disparities across regions, regional separatism and boom-bust economic growth.

“Can we maintain first-world living standards while embarking on a strategy of technological backwardness?”