HMAS Supply tweakers in Sydney spark Jacqui Lambie outrage


Senator Jacqui Lambie has blasted the decision to have a group of dancers twerking at the commission of HMAS Supply in Sydney at the weekend.

A video posted by the ABC shows a troupe of seven dancers, from Sydney group the 101 Doll Squadron, who were invited by the HMAS Supply crew and the navy to celebrate the commissioning of HMAS Supply on Saturday.

The footage has caused widespread backlash for being “inappropriate” for the occasion.

Senator Lambie said having that style of dance at the commissioning of a naval ship was “a shocker”.

“I thought I was watching the Super Bowl there for a split second, I will be honest with you,” she told 9 News. “Whoever made that call, it’s an absolute shocker for goodness sake. It is not the time and place to have (that).

“Good on those young ladies for getting out there, but I tell you being half-clothed outside a war ship is probably inappropriate.

“You know, if that (decision was made by) the leadership in our Defence Force, god help our sons and daughters who are serving.”

A 2GB listener who was at the ceremony told the radio network: “It’s not some eisteddfod competing against each other, it’s a unique ceremony for the commissioning of a new ship and we thought it wasn’t right type of dance for that occasion.”

Governor-General David Hurley was also at the ceremony, but the Australian Defence Force denied he was present for the dancers. ABC footage intersected images of the dancers with Mr Hurley sitting in a seat.

“The dance was performed prior to the commencement of the commissioning formalities and prior to the arrival of His Excellency the Governor-General, chief of navy and commander Australian fleet,” a Defence spokeswoman said.

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Husband and wife arrested in connection with illegal firearm supply


A husband and wife have been arrested in connection with a criminal syndicate supplying illegal firearms across Sydney.

The couple was among three people arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into the criminal group which culminated in the raid of two homes and a business in Double Bay this morning.

The arrests come after investigators received information connecting the group to a clandestine laboratory discovered on April 30 last year.

A husband and wife were among three people arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into the supply of illegal firearms across Sydney. (NSW Police Force)
One of the weapons seized. (NSW Police Force)

Officers dismantled the lab and seized 1.9 kilograms of methylamphetamine (ice).

This morning, police and the Public Order Riot Squad executed three search warrants in separate locations across Sydney.

A 77-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman were arrested at a home in Cherrybrook during the first raid around 6am.

The clandestine laboratory. (NSW Police Force)

Simultaneously, police arrested a 43-year-old man at a home in Guildford West.

About 8am, a third search warrant was executed at a business in Double Bay where investigators continue to undertake their search.

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Oil prices fall as focus switches from Suez Canal blockage to OPEC+ supply policy


Oil prices fell on Tuesday as shipping traffic resumed through the Suez Canal after days on hold and attention switched to an OPEC+ meeting this week where the extension of supply curbs may be on the table amid new coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.

Brent crude was down 15 cents, or 0.2 per cent, at $64.83 a barrel by 0115 GMT, after gaining 0.6 per cent on Monday. US oil was down 1 cent at $61.55 a barrel, having fallen 1 per cent in the previous session.

Ships were moving through the Suez Canal again on Tuesday after tugs refloated the giant Ever Given container carrier,which had been blocking a narrow section of the passage for almost a week, causing a huge build-up of vessels around the waterway.

With the likelihood that the disruption will prove minimal,the market is turning its focus to Thursday’s meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia in Vienna, collectively known as OPEC+.

They will discuss whether to keep in place curbs on output that have kept millions of barrels a day off the market to support prices, a strategy that has largely worked in recent months.

Saudi Arabia is prepared to accept an extension of the production cuts through June, and is also ready to prolong voluntary unilateral curbs amid the latest wave of coronavirus lockdowns, a source briefed on the matter said on Monday.

“Market expectations for no change to output are largely priced in,” said Howie Lee, economist at OCBC Bank in Singapore. The revival of heavy coronavirus case loads in Europe “has put a brake on oil’s resurgence”.

More than 127.43 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally, and the death toll is approaching 3 million, according to a Reuters tally.

In Europe, rising numbers in a third wave of infections are alarming authorities, with France’s Finance Minister Bruno LeMaire saying “all options are on the table” to protect the public.

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The Latest Supply Chain Disruption: Plastics


Disruptions of the raw materials for many common kinds of plastics are now occurring. They are the latest problem to strike global supply chains. They underline the need for companies to develop the expertise and systems needed to make their supply chain resilient.

“Everywhere You Look, the Global Supply Chain Is a Mess,” read a recent headline in the Wall Street Journal. Most supply chain practitioners would agree: between the pandemic, container shortages, winter weather, factory fires, the blocking of the Suez Canal by a container ship, and other logistics woes, things are messy. These disruptions have already led to the current global shortage of semiconductors, and now the supply disruption of another critical category of materials is occurring: plastics. Constraints on the supplies of their raw materials — especially polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and monoethylene (MEG) — are leading to factory shutdowns, sharp price increases, and production delays across a range of industries.

The plastics made from these chemicals are used in every kind of product imaginable — from food packaging, appliances, smartphones, and car parts to exercise equipment and roller skates. Combine this with surging consumer demand for goods and it’s easy to see why these supply constraints are a big deal.

Like the semiconductor shortage, this one has been a long time coming. During summer 2020, Covid-19-related lockdowns caused inventory levels to fall. Then, in August, Hurricane Laura forced a number of petrochemical factories in Louisiana and Texas to shut down; overnight 10% to 15% of U.S. PE and PP production stopped.

This was followed by a slew of force majeures from big polymer producers, including LyondellBasell in Louisiana and Chevron Phillips Chemical in Texas. (By declaring force majeure, these suppliers were relieved of certain supply-delivery commitments due to circumstances outside their control.) Simultaneously, Covid-19 safety precautions slowed production at many workplaces and caused labor and trucking shortages at ports.

The final blow was the winter storm in February that struck the Gulf Coast. Texas is home to the world’s largest petrochemical complex, which turns oil and gas and other byproducts into plastics. Almost 100 critical chemicals and derivatives used widely across many products and industries are processed in Texas. It will take more than six months to correct the imbalances caused by the storm. Given these problems, the grounding of a container ship in the Suez Canal on March 23 could not have come at a worse time.

Surges in demand are widely expected to occur in the United States and other countries as vaccinated consumers venture out and spend their stimulus checks. But companies may not be able to take full advantage of this opportunity: Purchasing managers surveyed by the Institute for Supply Management last month anticipated worsening supply-demand imbalances in a variety of areas as the U.S. economy continues to open up. Many of their companies already face depleted inventories up and down their supply chains, price increases, higher rates of delinquent shipments, and longer lead times for orders. From the vantage point of sourcing experts who are managing suppliers, the outlook is grim: They expect disruptions to last for longer than 12 months.

While supply chain disruptions of some kind are just a fact of life, it’s not all doom and gloom, especially if we learn from them. Covid-19, for example, vividly revealed the vulnerabilities baked into lean, cost-optimized supply chains. It also highlighted the need for building supply-chain-resilience capabilities. During the pandemic, companies that had solid monitoring and supplier mapping capabilities — down to the sub-tier site and part level — had a complete picture of how the evolving crisis would affect their supply chains. This helped companies take action before the disruption hit. Some were able to avert any negative impact.

Access to early warning systems and market intelligence are important for keeping a close watch on developments that impact the flow of goods, but companies should also have experts across different commodity categories using the systems to pick up early warnings and prepare early on for potential constraints. A wide range of materials go into a single product, and it’s important to know where those materials come from. Mapping only one or two categories or Tier One suppliers is not sufficient. In the case of the semiconductor shortage, the carmakers’ inability to get a $5 chip from a Tier Three supplier derailed the entire automotive industry.

In a similar misstep, many supply chain managers failed to adequately monitor polymer suppliers because those materials go into low-cost items like adhesives and resins. While they’re widely used across many products, their low cost meant they were not top of mind at many companies. To build a more resilient supply chain, it’s vital to look at even the most inexpensive parts and materials when they are critical to products and revenues and not just expensive, sophisticated, or specialty items.

Many companies also make the mistake of paying close attention only to their direct suppliers and not to their suppliers’ suppliers. Best-in-class companies take time to identify the suppliers’ suppliers that are critical to the continuing production of their top revenue generators and proactively map, monitor, and protect those entire supply lines.

When sourcing constrained materials, companies compete with buyers with the deepest pockets who are not necessarily their traditional competitors. Those that have had early warnings of disruptions and visibility into which sites and products would be impacted have been able to get in line first to grab available inventory and capacity. In this environment, companies that are better prepared to act quickly have a competitive advantage.

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Welfare advocates concerned ‘perfect storm’ brewing in Tasmania as rental demand outstrips supply


For 10 months, Paul Richardson has been hunting for an affordable rental property near Launceston, without any luck.

After three years in his St Leonards home, Mr Richardson is facing a rent increase of almost 18 per cent, taking his weekly payments from $340 to $400 a week — an amount he cannot cover.

Mr Richardson receives a carer’s pension. His son Zakary has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and receives a disability pension.

“The rent’s just gone through the roof,” Mr Richardson said.

The pair struggle to make ends meet — every cent is already spoken for.

“There’s only limited money we’re getting,” he said.

“We’re thankful for that money, but about $340 … that’s more than house payments.

Paul Richardson and his son Zakary cannot afford their increased weekly rent on their carer’s and disability pensions.(

ABC News: Annah Fromberg

)

Rental market ‘a perfect storm’

The Richardsons’ situation is far from unique.

According to Shelter Tasmania, rents across the state have risen by 36 per cent in the past five years, far outstripping income growth, while vacancy rates remain below 1 per cent.

Adrienne Picone smiles at the camera.
TasCOSS’s Adrienne Picone says Tasmania’s rental market is facing the “perfect storm”.(

Supplied: TasCOSS

)

The organisation said the median income for a renting household in Hobart was $64,000 — compared with $93,500 in Melbourne.

TasCOSS chief executive Adrienne Picone said Tasmania was facing a “perfect storm” in the rental market; significant numbers of jobs lost through COVID-19, the moratorium on evictions and rent increases ending, and JobSeeker only increasing by $25 a week.

“We’re seeing in regional Tasmania this issue is an issue that’s growing significantly, even more than in urban areas,” she said.

“There’s an incredibly low supply at the moment and an incredibly high demand.”

‘I am in panic mode’

According to data compiled by the Tenant’s Union, the median price for a three-bedroom home in southern Tasmania has risen 18 per cent since the 2018 emergency housing summit, to $450 a week.

It is up 21 per cent in northern Tasmania to $363 a week, and in the north-west it has risen 13 per cent to $300 a week.

Some families have turned to online classifieds sites to try and find housing, posting pictures of their children and blurbs detailing their desperation.

One ad said: “I am a single mother already struggling to pay $450 per week.”

Ms Picone said TasCOSS wanted to see the coronavirus protections against eviction and rent rises reintroduced for at least another year.

A balding man in glasses stands in front of a house
Roger Jaensch says the government is focused on building more houses in the state.(

ABC News

)

“[They] really went a long way to supporting Tasmanians and we would like to see that maintained,” she said.

Housing Minister Roger Jaensch said extending those protections was not being considered.

“We believe that having kept renters and landlords in relationships together through this period that the protections have done their job and we need to ease back into a more normal market world,” he said.

“If we can be providing more housing into that, more stimulus for building of new housing in the private market as well, and other initiatives which keep the economy strong and provide more opportunities for people to earn an income, those are the solutions we need to be focusing on right now.”

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Exclusive: Posco’s steel plant in India faces disruption, hampering auto supply chain



FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a logo of steelmaker POSCO at the company’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea October 25, 2010. REUTERS/Truth Leem

March 12, 2021

By Aditi Shah and Rajendra Jadhav

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Operations at South Korean steelmaker Posco’s plant in India’s western state of Maharashtra have been disrupted by protests over labour and other issues, police and sources told Reuters, hampering the supply chain for automakers.

A politician leading the protests said they blocked entry to the plant for employees and goods, and will continue until Posco heeds demands such as employment preference for locals, higher wages for temporary employees and steps to make them permanent.

Supply of steel from Posco’s Maharashtra plant has been hit and carmakers’ production “is likely to come to a standstill” if the issue is not resolved soon, India’s top auto industry body told the state’s chief minister in a March 10 letter.

“The blockage is…causing disruption in the supply chain and is resulting in shortage of critical auto parts and components,” the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said in the letter, reviewed by Reuters.

“In view of this, production activity at the facilities of vehicle manufacturers in India is likely to come to a standstill,” SIAM said, adding that Posco is one of the indsutry’s major suppliers of steel.

Reuters could not independently verify the extent of disruption at Posco’s plant.

Posco said the situation had no impact on steel production, but interruptions caused to its logistics arrangements blocked the flow of products and materials with the plant.

Protesters’ demands include the award of contracts for transport and distribution of steel scrap, Posco said, but it did not say what steps it would take or the extent of financial and operational impact on its business.

Automakers such as Maruti Suzuki, India’s top carmaker by sales, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra source steel from the Posco plant, sources said.

These firms, which together account for more than 80% of India’s automobile output, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Maharashtra chief minister’s office also did not respond.

SIAM said the disruption comes as companies are still recovering from the coronavirus crisis, and could prove a major setback for the economy.

“Such incidents would also seriously tarnish the image of India as a preferred destination for investment,” SIAM said in the letter, also sent to the central government to seek its urgent intervention.

The protest is the second instance in recent weeks that a global firm has faced issues in India’s top business state.

In January, General Motors said Maharashtra’s move to block the U.S. automaker from shutting its plant and leaving India defied the state’s business friendly image and sent a “concerning message” to future investors.

Chandrashekhar Khanvilkar, the politician leading the Posco protests told Reuters the other demands included preference for local companies in providing transport, canteen and garden maintenance services, as well as in sales of steel scrap.

“We are not allowing transport vehicles and workers to enter the factory,” Khanvilkar said, adding that the protests had run since March 2. “We will continue the agitation peacefully until the company agrees to at least a few of our 18 demands.”

As many as 30 police now guard the plant, up from an initial figure of six or seven, police official Pradeep Deshmukh told Reuters.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah and Rajendra Jadhav; Additional reporting by Joyce Lee in Seoul; Editing by David Evans and Clarence Fernandez)



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Bega Cheese slices through dairy supply chain with IoT solution


  • Bega Cheese invested in a single ERP system to unify its processes with Tatura Milk Industries
  • Real-time data on milk production can boost efficiency in the transportation of raw materials to manufacturers
  • Enhanced visibility in the supply chain provides new avenues for operational scaling

Listed in ASX Top 200 Companies, Bega Cheese has been making history since its establishment in 1899. 

As food companies and manufacturers head into Industry 4.0, a new wave of demands in technological advancements is becoming commonplace as production lines are increasingly optimized. Businesses are adopting next-gen technologies to fulfill growing consumer demands. 

The Australian dairy product company is not immune to the need for businesses to keep pace with digitalization. Projects are unfolding worldwide, especially in the food and beverage sector.  

In 2016, Bega Cheese was reported to have invested heavily in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that they anticipated would “ultimately result in improved business information, integration, efficiencies, and decision making.”

These developments came following the merger between Bega Cheese and Tatura Milk Industries in 2011, with the newly created partnership aiming to consolidate its operations on a single and unified ERP system

Some of the benefits Bega Cheese envisioned include automated processes, enhanced tracking of milk and ingredients in real time, integrated business planning, and imposed data standards across the business. 

The dairy company’s goal of upgrading its business operations with technology continues, and Bega Cheese is now leveling up its digitalization game by enlisting the Internet of Things (IoT) in its supply chain.

The ASX-listed dairy company is launching an IoT service that connects its farmer suppliers, milk transporters, and their storage and processing facilities with real-time data. 

The IoT-backed system will offer details of milk production with farmer suppliers , which includes information like milk volume, temperature, quality composition, and transport conditions. The collected data from these key areas is poised to improve efficiencies in pickup and delivery frequencies, lowering costs, and improving the overall traceability of the product.

The project scope can be seen to follow a chain of processes, from gathering the raw data from the dairy, to deriving information from its valuable data, to churning them into actionable insights, and finally to presenting these actionable insights to help stakeholders decide the next best course of action.

Low-cost milk quality sensors will be developed and an IoT Supply Chain Monitoring system will be built to offer real-time updates on milk supply quality and quantity, farm conditions that could affect milk production and the transportation links across the supply chain. A Farmer App is included in the project scope as well to provide milk forecasting alongside pickup alerts and milk quality.

Transparency in the supply chain is gaining popularity as consumer awareness on the environmental price tag of products is rising and becoming a key factor when making a purchase. Swiss brand Nestlé has even adopted blockchain initiatives to gain enhanced visibility in its supply chain.

More recently, Kraft shared with TechHQ that the food giant has enlisted AI and ML to secure its fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) supply chains amid the coronavirus outbreak that caused major disruptions in global supply chains.

GM Supply Chain at Bega Cheese, Adel Salman, told iTnews, the company is looking to leverage the capabilities of IoT to manage both inbound and outbound supply chain processes but “we didn’t have was experience in setting up IoT projects, so we started looking around for a partner that could provide us with IoT expertise, resources, industry contacts and help with government backing.”

Therefore, the collaboration of Bega Cheese with “Swinburne University of Technology with its Internet of Things Lab and Industry 4.0 initiatives, as well as its research partnership with Software AG was the perfect collaborator for us.”

Salman added, “Swinburne University listened to what we needed to achieve and, together with Software AG, developed an IoT strategy with a set of solutions that met our needs.

“We’re excited to see the benefits that IoT can bring to our company. By working with Swinburne University and Software AG, we hope to be able to increase our growth across higher-value premium products, thus enhancing the competitiveness for both Bega and our suppliers.”



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WA top cop wants new stop and search laws to ‘wipe out’ meth supply at interstate border


Mr Dawson said when it did end, he wanted officers to continue to have a strong presence at the border with powers similar to those granted to biodiversity officers searching vehicles for fruit.

“There’s another pest out there and it’s called meth, and that doesn’t just destroy crops, economics and livelihoods, it destroys people’s lives,” he said.

“I’m not saying we stop absolutely every vehicle, what I’m saying is if we can refine the powers similar to what we do to protect the state’s biodiversity – meth is actually just as, or even more destructive for our community.

“We know it’s working through this state of emergency, why would we not want to stop meth coming in?”

Existing laws currently allow police to stop and search a vehicle if there is reasonable suspicion.

New powers introduced in 2017 also allow police to randomly search vehicles along a declared drug transit route.

Transit routes can be declared by a district superintendent who reasonably suspects a road is being used for drug distribution, however, the additional search powers are temporary, only lasting up to a fortnight, and limit the number of routes targeted at any one time to three.

Mr Dawson has hinted at lobbying for the powers to become permanent by seeking to introduce a legislative reform package through the Minister for Police and the Attorney General following the March 13 state election.

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“I’m not saying we want to live in a police state, we want to live in a state where we can actually wipe out drug traffickers, that’s the aim I’ve got,” he said.

“I’m also not naive, I know drugs will come through air, through sea, by road, by post – but with the success we have seen over the past year, why would we not take this opportunity to build it even stronger?

“In the most recent six months, we’ve seized nine trucks, nearly $50 million, and a whole stack of meth and that’s reducing crime.”

Mr McGowan confirmed on Wednesday the state government was not considering extending WA’s G2G entry pass after the pandemic was over, instead clarifying he supported an increased police presence at border checkpoint.

“If we can stop bananas, avocados and tomatos coming in, surely we should be able to stop meth, cocain and heroin,” he said.

Liberal Democrat MLC Aaron Stonehouse, whose party promotes civil libertarianism, on Tuesday flagged concerns over any increase to police tracking powers.

“Giving police a blank cheque to surveil and control our movement, that is a serious risk to our civil liberties and our freedoms,” he said.

State opposition leader Zak Kirkup described any mass monitoring or tracking of people entering WA as an “immense overreach” of power.

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WATER SUPPLY DISRUPTION


Council staff are undertaking emergency water mains repairs at the corner of Grey Street and Oliver Street this morning.
 
Water supply will be interrupted at the following locations until approximately 12.00 midday.
 
– Grey Street between Oliver Street and MacKenzie Street;
– Heron Street between Grey Street and Church Street;
– Church Street between Heron Street and Oliver Street; and
– Oliver Street between Church Street and Grey Street.
 
Accommodation providers who are impacted will be notified in person by Water Staff.
 
Council apologises for any inconvenience caused and staff are working to restore supply as soon as possible.
 
If you require and further details, please contact Water Staff on 0418 162 794.
 
 
 

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China can ‘chokehold’ rare earths supply



Former Pentagon advisor Jason Israel says President Joe Biden’s 100 day review of supply chains will be “of significance to Australia” because it will look at rare earths.

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