As the year ends, we’ve listed the 10 most-read Australasia stories of 2017 to give a snapshot of the issues that mattered most in the region.
1. Australia’s dying auto industry
After more than a century, Australia’s car manufacturing industry effectively ended when Toyota’s plant in Melbourne and Holden’s South Australia plant closed in quick succession, creating a vacuum for 260 businesses that supply components to the automotive sector.
2. Tesla wins contract to build world’s largest battery system
Elon Musk’s Tesla won a tender to build the largest battery system to support South Australia’s blackout-plagued power grid after promising on Twitter to build it within 100 days of the contract being signed or Tesla would provide it free. He was good for his word.
3. Coca-Cola Amatil shakes up Australia supply chain
Coca-Cola Amatil announced it would shut down its manufacturing operations in South Australia after a detailed review found the factory was constrained by its site layout, dated infrastructure and expensive logistics.
4. Amazon agrees terms with suppliers
With the online retail giant set to launch in Australia in October to capitalise on the lead up to Christmas, it agreed buying terms with suppliers after leasing a 24,387 sq m former Bunnings warehouse.
5. Buy Queensland policy ignored free trade agreements
The government of Queensland said its new procurement strategy, which would introduce local benefits test and quotas for firms tendering for contracts would not be bound by contradictory free trade agreements.
6. Coles cuts payment times for small suppliers
The supermarket giant announced that more than 1,000 suppliers, who provide the company with up to $1m worth of products annually, would be paid by 14 days rather than the current average of around 30 days.
7. Australia announces modern slavery law
Under new laws designed to stop trafficking and forced labour, large Australian companies would be required to report annually on measures they are taking to combat modern slavery in their supply chains.
8. Indigenous procurement scheme axed amid alleged fraud
A Northern Territory Indigenous employment scheme, launched in October 2014 as part of Australia’s Indigenous Procurement Policy, was suspended after a number of businesses had allegedly defrauded the system.
9. Buyers urged to relocate to New Zealand
Procurement professional were encouraged to consider moving to New Zealand with the government adding the occupation to a list of desirable skills for migrants, making the eligible for special visas providing fast-tracked routes to residency.
10. Hyperloop transport system proposed for Australia
The bipartisan Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities tabled a plan recommending a high-speed hyperloop system to catapult passengers between Melbourne and Sydney. Rio Tinto also took a step closer in its long-running rail project by making its first fully driverless train journey.
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