Reserve Bank lifts cash rate 

The Reserve Bank has today announced a cash rate increase from 0.35 per cent to 0.85 per cent. It is the second consecutive increase and the biggest one-month increase in over 20 years. 

Re.Group expands recycling capabilities with Polytrade acquisition

Re.Group has acquired Polytrade Recycling for an undisclosed sum. Following the acquisition the company now provides kerbside recycling services for more than 4 million Australians across 35 council areas with 13 operating facilities. There are no disruptions to services and all operational teams have come across. Louie Cheng, who founded Polytrade 25 years ago, will come across to join the Re.Group board.

EY and Swinburne enter space race

EY Australia has announced the launch of a new Space Tech hub with Swinburne University of Technology. The Space Tech hub was created after being awarded over $3 million from EY’s Global Strategic Innovation Fund. EY partner Anthony Jones stated that the hub will help build community resilience and improve environmental health and land management through data gathering.

“The Space Tech hub will solve big business problems by focusing on the downstream side of space activity – utilising space-derived data and services for terrestrial benefit… to help solve community resilience issues, drive decarbonisation initiatives, and aid in reducing the impact of natural disasters on communities.” 

This comes as EY considers listing or selling off its consulting business. Supporters of a split want to follow the success of publicly listed global consulting firm Accenture, the former advisory business of now-defunct Arthur Andersen

HFIC announces five more lenders to offer Australian Government Home Guarantee Scheme

National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) has announced that from 1 July five more lenders will offer the Australian Government’s Home Guarantee Scheme (currently known as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme) to assist eligible Australians in buying a home.

The lenders are Credit Union SA, Illawarra Credit Union, IMB Ltd (trading as IMB Bank), Newcastle Permanent Building Society and Unity Bank Limited. Following a competitive procurement process run by the NHFIC they have been appointed to the scheme’s non-major bank lender panel, joining 25 other non-major and two major bank lenders.

NSW container recycling scheme raises $122,540 for children

The “Containers for Kids” recycling appeal has raised $122,540 for the Starlight Children’s Foundation since November. Return and Earn machines in NSW have, for the past six months, encouraged the public to donate some of their container refund to the charity, which delivers in-hospital services to sick children and teens. 

Over 1.2 million drink containers were returned in the past six months with the scheme, with donations aiding approximately 3140 families. Return and Earn is a partnership between the NSW Government, Exchange for Change and TOMRA Cleanaway

Deloitte estimates climate inaction price tag at $US178 trillion over 50 years

A new research report released by Deloitte highlights the economic cost of failure to act on climate change, with inaction pegged at $US178 trillion ($A246.6 trillion) in GDP destruction over the next 50 years, while achieving global climate goals could result in $43 trillion of economic benefit over the same period. 

The study, The Turning Point – A Global Summary, was published by the recently-launched Deloitte Center for Sustainable Progress. It found that unchecked climate change would negatively impact global GDP by nearly 8 per cent in 2070, resulting in “significant declines in productivity, job creation, standards of living and well-being.” 

Australia has stepped up decarbonisation policies and investments

In the race to meet 2050 targets, Australia has stepped up investments and decarbonisation policies, increasing both renewable energy capacity and generation across all industries. According to data and analytics company GlobalData, in 2020 over 70 per cent of power generation was sourced from thermal power, with coal dominating. This is set to reduce by over half by 2030. 

Globaldata analyst Tosin Coker said that coal plants are steadily being decommissioned and the trend is set to continue: “Even though the country does not have a specific coal-phase-out policy, more plants are being decommissioned. This trend is to continue over the next decade, and thus the emissions from the thermal power sector will reduce gradually.”

Frasers property secures fourth green financing

Frasers Property Australia together with its subsidiaries has announced it has secured a corporate syndicated sustainability-linked term loan and revolving credit facility (SLL) for its Australian business.

The $600 million five year loan, comprising a $300 million term loan and a $300 million revolving credit facility, is meant to incentivise sustainable practices and provide interest cost savings from the second year onwards if the company maintains a minimum four-star GRESB rating annually. This is the fourth sustainable financing secured by the business in Australia since March 2019. This brings its financing up to 86 per cent sustainable. 

Zero-Emission Vehicles on the road out of oil dependency

Demand for electric vehicles prevented 1.3 million barrels of oil from being used every day in 2021, displacing more than 3 percent of the planet’s total oil demand according to a new report from BloombergNEF. That means that last year the world used around half a billion less barrels of oil than it would have without EVs. 

The report also found that EVs now make up more than 10 per cent of global sales for several automakers including BMW, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz. Others (General Motors, Hyundai, and Renault-Nissan Alliance) are also approaching that percentage. Around 70 percent of global EV sales in 2021 were pure battery EVs, and 30 percent were plug-in hybrids. The majority of electric vehicle sales were two- and three-wheeled vehicles and buses. 

Volvo CE unveils fossil-free steel construction machine

Manufacturer Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) has unveiled a construction machine built using fossil-free steel in what it believes to be a world first. The machine was produced at the Braås facility in Sweden with fossil-free steel from Swedish steel company SSAB

The A30G articulated hauler was handed over by president of Volvo CE Melker Jernberg to long-standing customer NCC, at an event hosted by the LeadIT initiative at the United Nations environmental meeting Stockholm +50 attended by US special presidential envoy to climate John Kerry, and Swedish climate minister Annika Strandhäll.  

Also at the high-level event, South Africa and Japan officially joined LeadIT, and Novelis and the Ball Corporation joined the First Movers Coalition’s new aluminium sector initiative to decarbonize the heavy industry and long-distance transport sectors.

Healthco records property portfolio gain

Healthco Healthcare and Wellness REIT has announced a 4 per cent net valuation gain in preliminary unaudited valuations for all 27 owned properties in its portfolio. The portfolio has increased by $47 million (+7.8 per cent) to $647 million in the past six months, representing a net valuation increase of $25 million (+4.1 per cent).

The company has acquired 13 newly developed metro-located childcare centres at a value of $108 million. Development of NSW’s George Private Hospital operated by Acurio Healthcare Group is still underway, as is the Proxima health hub development in the emerging Gold Coast Health and Knowledge precinct, and the Heath and Innovation Precinct in Camden, NSW.

Homeco announces portfolio gain

Homeco Daily Needs REIT has also announced net valuation gains and progress in its development pipeline. Homeco has recorded a preliminary unaudited net valuation gain for all 57 properties in its portfolio of $209 million, a 4.6 per cent increase on December 2021. Key projects set to commence in 2023 include HomeCo Glenmore Park, HomeCo Mackay, and HomeCo Nowra. 

Redflow announces integration with US inverter company Sol-Ark

Storage battery manufacturing company Redflow has announced a zinc-bromine flow battery energy storage solution that can now be used with hybrid inverters from solar and energy storage technology company Sol-Ark. The integration testing was completed at a facility in South Australia and the partnership allows the battery solution to be brought to North America.

Digital sustainability solutions 

The Digital Sustainability Index report has been released, tracking how enterprises adopt and leverage digital technologies for sustainability outcomes. The report, which is the result of a collaboration between TCS and The University of Auckland’s CODE, has found that there is significant opportunities in this area, with 80 per cent of respondents believing their reputation on the market has improved as a result of digital sustainability initiatives, and 87 per cent looking for new strategic partners for digital sustainability.

Microsoft partner Avanade has announced digital sustainability products for businesses. The products aim to enable clients to utilise Microsoft’s newly announced Cloud for Sustainability, by integrating data sources to report on emissions and carbon impacts, and to test and scale new innovations based on insights generated from the Microsoft offering.

In other news Schneider Electric has strengthened its digital sustainability offering with the new GM AirSeT, a green digital GIS technology for electrical networks in industrial buildings and critical infrastructure. 

The company also recently announced it will upgrade the building management system of Sydney’s Aurora Place at 88 Phillip Street into an integrated smart building through certified EcoXpert partner, GSTEC

Hydrogen buses for Victoria

In a first for Victoria, Transit Systems VIC (which was previously known as Sita Buslines, and is now part of integrated marine, tourism and transport company Kelsian Group) will introduce two Australian-built hydrogen fuel cell buses to the fleet as part of the Victorian Government’s three-year Zero Emissions Bus Trial. The company has already successfully operated 10 hydrogen fuel cell buses in London. More than 1000 customers will experience hydrogen fuel cell buses each week. 

Property Council welcomes nominations for ACT award 

The Property Council of Australia has opened nominations for the ACT People First Award, which celebrates companies that have implemented and delivered outstanding initiatives that benefit their staff. Eligible initiatives include strategic leadership development, workplace health and wellbeing, and diversity and inclusion. Nominations close 15 June. 

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