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Archive for January, 2012

State’s farm exports boom – DPI Report

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Evapourator

From The Age website, 30 January 2012

Victorian agriculture and food export earnings surged 19 per cent last financial year to $8.1 billion – believed to be a record – thanks largely to a strong performance by dairy and meat producers, rebounding wool and grain exports and improved seasonal conditions.

Exports of the big four agricultural commodity types produced in Victoria all rose strongly, with dairy exports up 11 per cent to $1.96 billion, meat exports up 7 per cent to $1.66 billion, wool exports up 43 per cent to $1.27 billion and grain exports up 65 per cent to $1.13 billion. Victorian dairy exports accounted for 86 per cent of Australian dairy exports. The figures are outlined in the Dept. of Primary Industry’s Victorian Food and Fibre Export Performance, 2010-11 report, which is scheduled to be released today.

The biggest buyer in 2010-11 was China, which bought $1.62 billion of Victorian food and fibre products, an increase of $341 million (27 per cent) on the previous year. The second biggest buyer was Japan ($756 million), followed by New Zealand ($433 million), Indonesia ($425 million) and the US ($350 million).

Click here for full article in The Age.

And from the Dairy Australia Dairyweb News, 31 January:

Dairying; Victoria’s export star

Dairy exports led a massive upswing in Victoria’s trade balance last year, according to new DPI data. Dairying was the biggest contributor to the state’s farm exports which rose 19%, or $1.3bn to $8.07bn.

Victorian agriculture and food security minister Peter Walsh praised new access to India for dairy exports as one factor in the upswing, along with recovery from the drought statewide. Victoria made up 86% of Australia’s dairy exports by value. Dairy exports were worth $1.96bn and Japan is the state’s largest market for dairy exports, valued at $353m. A similar result is expected this financial year, according to the DPI report. (Report will be on DPI website shortly)


Vic Report on stakeholder views re new VET funding

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

DeptLogo_PMS541_Rel_1

From The Australian website:

VICTORIANS don’t want to go back to the old centrally managed VET system. But they’re not sure the new demand-driven system is training people properly, an expert report has revealed.
Quality concerns were the “major reoccurring theme” in consultations about recommended changes to the state’s VET fees and funding arrangements, according to the report by education professor Gerald Burke and former TAFE chief Peter Veenker.
“The general thrust of the Victorian Training Guarantee was not questioned and the return to the former capped model was not advocated,” the expert panel reported.
“[But] there is a widely held sector view that the integrity of the VET system is at risk without more effective quality assurance.”
The report summarises stakeholder views on 43 recommendations from the state’s Essential Services Commission.
In October the state government controversially implemented several of the recommendations before promised consultations had taken place.

Victorians don’t want to go back to the old centrally managed VET system. But they’re not sure the new demand-driven system is training people properly, an expert report has revealed.

Quality concerns were the “major reoccurring theme” in consultations about recommended changes to the state’s VET fees and funding arrangements, according to the report by education professor Gerald Burke and former TAFE chief Peter Veenker.

“The general thrust of the Victorian Training Guarantee was not questioned and the return to the former capped model was not advocated,” the expert panel reported.

“[But] there is a widely held sector view that the integrity of the VET system is at risk without more effective quality assurance.”

The report summarises stakeholder views on 43 recommendations from the state’s Essential Services Commission.

In October the state government controversially implemented several of the recommendations before promised consultations had taken place.

Click here to read the Expert Panel’s report “Public Response to the Essential Services Commission’s VET Fee and Funding Review Report and Recommendations” by Gerald Burke and Peter Veenker, link at bottom of the web page.

Click here to read the full article on The Australian website, 16 January.


WBC announces new 5 year supply deal with Coles

Friday, January 20th, 2012

WCB logo

From the Australian Food News website,

Australian ASX-listed company Warrnambool Cheese and Butter (WBC) today announced the signing of a five year deal to supply dairy products to Coles Supermarkets under a new consumer brand.

The new brand, called ‘Great Ocean Road’, will be sold exclusively through Coles stores across Australian and includes a range of cheddar cheeses and fresh milk products.

Under the supply contract, WCB will supply a minimum of 4,000 tonnes of cheddar cheese per year under the Great Ocean Road brand, commencing in May 2012. WCB will also supply a range of fresh milk products into Coles’ Victorian stores under the new brand. Coles has been entering into a number of long-term supply arrangements with other suppliers.  In September 2011, it announced that Bega would be supplying its home brand cheese products.

For the full article on Australian Food News website click here

And for the Weekly Times story click here


Huge Vitamin D deficiencies a “cause for concern” in Australia

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

fish graphic

From the Australian Food News website:

Almost one-third of adults over the age of 25 have a Vitamin D deficiency, a new study from The University of Melbourne has found.  The study involved 11,218 Australians.
University of Melbourne’s Professor of Medicine, and study author, Professor Peter Ebeling say the findings show that government-supported health policy strategies are needed to improve Vitamin D awareness.

Vitamin D is necessary for optimal health as it may help prevent falls in the elderly and, together with calcium, appears to prevent fractures due to osteoporosis, including hip fractures. Earlier work from The University of Melbourne has also shown that low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Dietary sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish species such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, as well as egg, and fish liver oils.

Click here to read the full article on the Australian Food News website.


Ballarat Beer Festival Sat 21 January

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

beer fest

From the Australian Food News newsletter:

January 21st 2012 The Ballarat Beer Festival is a one-day event celebrating boutique beer, gourmet food and world-class entertainment at the City Oval Ballarat on Saturday, January 21 to sample craft beers from all over Victoria.

Click here to more news items on the Australian Food News website.

Click here for more information on the Ballarat Beer Festival.


More students heading into health, education, and engineering

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

69181_VTACOffersBody

From the Victorian Government website:

Courses including education, health and engineering have seen the greatest growth in offers for tertiary education student places in 2012, Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall announced today.
The number of students receiving offers through the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) for health courses has jumped by 15 per cent, education 7 per cent and engineering by 14 per cent.
Mr Hall said around 56,000 Victorians would today receive VTAC online offers for a range of courses. While the majority – 44,000 – will be for university programs, a further 10,000 will receive an offer to study at TAFE and almost 2,000 will receive an offer to study at an independent tertiary institution.
Increases in first preference applications were experienced by a number of universities including The University of Melbourne (21 per cent), Australian Catholic University (14 per cent), La Trobe University (5 per cent) and RMIT University (6 per cent).
In response, universities have made almost 3,000 more offers this year than they did for study in 2011. RMIT University has lead the charge by making 1,343 more offers than the same time last year.

Courses including education, health and engineering have seen the greatest growth in offers for tertiary education student places in 2012, Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall announced today.

The number of students receiving offers through the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) for health courses has jumped by 15 per cent, education 7 per cent and engineering by 14 per cent.

Mr Hall said around 56,000 Victorians would receive VTAC online offers for a range of courses. While the majority – 44,000 – will be for university programs, a further 10,000 will receive an offer to study at TAFE and almost 2,000 will receive an offer to study at an independent tertiary institution.

Increases in first preference applications were experienced by a number of universities including The University of Melbourne (21 per cent), Australian Catholic University (14 per cent), La Trobe University (5 per cent) and RMIT University (6 per cent).

In response, universities have made almost 3,000 more offers this year than they did for study in 2011. RMIT University has lead the charge by making 1,343 more offers than the same time last year.

Click here to read the full article on the Victorian Government website.


Kick start 2012 with a targeted Energy Saving Initiative – Invitation to Participate

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Hydrogen Truck-16-Edit-WEB

Model hydrogen fuel cell truck with undergraduate Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) students Sinan Aizad and Schalokh Saleem with NORTH Link Executive Director Mick Butera and Associate Professor John Andrews, RMIT University.

RMIT University has been running an excellent program for several years, networking to industry via NORTH Link, placing final year Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering (Sustainability Energy) students into companies to work on energy reduction projects. The final 2011 projects were presented last November at RMIT, and featured substantial achievements in cost reduction and energy efficiency. Take advantage of this innovative program to improve your company’s production activities. The 2011 students worked on projects for:

  • Air Services Australia
  • Innovia Films
  • Animal Land
  • John Holland Air Services
  • Austin Health
  • Melbourne Airport Corp
  • Baxter Foods
  • Melbourne Water
  • Capral
  • One Steel
  • Colonial First State
  • Schiavello
  • Dolphin Products
  • Sealed Air Cryovac
  • Edlyn Foods
  • Sutton Tools
  • For more information or to participate in the program, please contact Mick Butera, Executive Director, NORTH Link m.butera@latrobe.edu.au Plant sites across the state are eligible. Please circulate this invitation to relevant Plant and Operations Managers and Engineers.     RMIT contact:  John Andrews   john.andrews@rmit.edu.au


    Woolworths introduces new meat grading system for Australian beef

    Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

    meatFrom the Australian Food News site, 10 January 2012:

    Woolworths has become the first national supermarket to offer certified Meat Standards Australia (MSA) graded Australian beef to customers.

    Woolworths has been working with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) for over a decade on developing the MSA grading system. MSA is an industry audited program that delivers an eating quality guarantee.

    The grading system has been developed following years of research and more than 550,000 consumer product tests on 78,500 cuts of meat, using eight cooking methods.

    Click here to read the full story on the AFN website.


    146 jobs to be lost as Heinz closes tomato sauce factory

    Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

    From The Age:

    HEINZ is set to close its tomato sauce factory in northern Victoria on Friday with the loss of 146 jobs.

    After the last of the Girgarre factory’s stock is sold from store shelves, there will be no more Heinz tomato sauce or ketchup made in Australia. Heinz is shifting production to New Zealand.

    Ms Ramsden said staff were given outplacement support including financial counselling, resume´ writing refreshers, redundancy deals, and 10 staff were awarded $10,000 scholarships at Goulburn Ovens TAFE to attain qualifications in fields such as nursing, teaching, aged care and childcare services.

    The company was also donating nine hectares of land to the Girgarre Development Committee to be used for community purposes, including expanding the farmers’ market and for affordable housing projects, Ms Ramsden said.

    Click here to read the full article on The Age website.


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