Monthly Archives: December 2018

Spending $10b on new airport ‘last thing we need’

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Sydney Airport’s outspoken chairman, Max Moore-Wilton, has squared off against his counterpart at Qantas, Leigh Clifford, over the need for a second airport in Sydney.
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With pressure building on the state and federal governments to find a solution to the vexed issue, Mr Clifford said ‘‘we need to need to get on with’’ a new airport because infrastructure was vital to the city.

‘‘We have got to get on with it and make a decision, and I recognise not everyone is going to love the decision. The important thing is, ‘get on with it’,’’  he told a business gathering in Sydney on Wednesday.

‘‘We are back there in the pack with the length of time it takes Britain to build Terminal Five [at Heathrow Airport in London].’’

Mr Clifford also said it needed to be recognised that Sydney Airport ‘‘hasn’t got that much free space’’.

Qantas favours Badgerys Creek in western Sydney as the location for a new airport.

Responding to the Qantas chairman, Mr Moore-Wilton told the audience that ‘‘Australia has to wake up to the fact that it can’t do everything at once’’ and argued that politics was stopping Sydney Airport from handling more planes and better utilising its runways.

‘‘It is almost immaterial what you and I do,’’ he told Mr Clifford. ‘‘It is what a few goats in Sydney and Canberra do that is going to make whether you make money or whether we make money – which I find incredibly depressing.

‘‘The last thing on infrastructure that we need to do when you come to work in the morning and see the gridlock and the fact that there isn’t a decent traffic network in Sydney, is to spend $10 billion on building a second Sydney airport.’’

Sydney Airport has repeatedly insisted that it has the ability to cope with increased demand for flights until at least 2050 through the use of bigger aircraft and efforts to make its facilities more efficient.

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Cook sticks with Cats

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Brian Cook with fellow Geelong administrator Neil Balme.Geelong’s celebrated CEO Brian Cook has rejected the keen advances of North Melbourne and remained with the Cats.
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North Melbourne released a brief statement this afternoong saying it had been advised that the mastermind of Geelong’s three recent premierships would not be taking up an offer to join the club as CEO.

“We wish Brian well in his future endeavours,” the statement read.

“The club will continue to search for a replacement CEO ahead of the 2013 season.”

North Melbourne is seeking a replacement for Eugene Arocca, who resigned in June.

Cook, who experienced success with the West Coast Eagles in the 1990s, and had once been touted as a candidate for a role as AFL CEO, remains enthused by the Geelong job after 13 years.

“After receiving an attractive offer and giving it due consideration I am pleased to remain with the club.” Cook told his club’s website.

“I look forward to continuing to take on the exciting challenges facing the club with the full support of the board, staff and players.”

Geelong president Colin Carter said his club’s board was very pleased Cook was staying.

“We know that our very good people will receive attractive offers to move elsewhere and so we are particularly pleased that Brian has decided to continue his career with us.

“We look forward very much to working with him as we build towards more success in the future.”

Cook has overseen the overheaul of Geelong on and off the field. The club has recorded a profit in 13 consecutive seasons and won 120 of 148 games between 2007 and 2012, following a brutal review of the football department.

His latest project has been the gradual upgrading of Geelong’s Skilled Stadium, with the latest grandstand works to be completed half-way through the 2013 season, and further development expected to increase the capacity to 38,000.

Geelong captain Joel Selwood tweeted that Cook’s continuing tenure was “fantastic news” for all sponsors and fans.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

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Fans attend the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images Actor Robert Pattinson arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images
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Singer Paul McDonald, actors Nikki Reed, and Peter Facinelli arrive at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actor Taylor Lautner arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actors Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart, author Stephenie Meyer, and actor Robert Pattinson arrive at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actress Kristen Stewart arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actors Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart arrive at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actress Kristen Stewart arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actress Kristen Stewart arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actress Kristen Stewart arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actress Dakota Fanning arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actress Mackenzie Foy arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actor Jackson Rathbone arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actress Tracey Heggins arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actors Max Irons, Saoirse Ronan, and Jake Abel arrive at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actor Michael Welch arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Sex scandal beclouds AUSMIN talks

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the State War Memorial in Kings Park in Perth.US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s talks with the Gillard government have begun in Perth but threaten to be overshadowed by the spiralling sex scandal involving top American military officials.
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Mrs Clinton is in the annual AUSMIN talks at Perth’s State Reception Centre with Defence Minister Stephen Smith, Foreign Minister Bob Carr and US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

They will discuss Australia’s deepening future involvement in the US strategic “pivot” to Asia, Afghanistan post 2014, cyber warfare and the security of maritime trade routes to Australia’s north, among other issues.

But Mr Panetta is also grappling with the growing sex scandal engulfing some of his top security officials, which has already claimed the scalp of CIA director David Petraeus and is now entangling General John Allen, who as ISAF commander heads all coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Mr Panetta is expected to be peppered with questions when he faces a press conference this afternoon after the AUSMIN talks.

At her opening remarks before the AUSMIN meeting, Mrs Clinton outlined the closer security co-operation she hoped Australia and the US would build in coming years.

“All of our work together, whether it’s on the world stage or here in the Asia Pacific or the Indo-Pacific, is driven by the values and the vision we share,” she said.

“We recognise that stability and security increasingly depend on balanced and vibrant economies. We’re also committed to working hand in hand with Australia to build a more mature and effective multilateral architecture for the region that can help settle disputes peacefully, promote universal rights (and) greater trade and commerce within an economic system that is open, free, transparent and fair.”

She added: “We also are eager to implement in a continuing fashion the agreements reached by President Obama and Prime Minister Gillard last November which will help the United States move to a more effectively distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable force posture in the region.”

Before the talks, Mrs Clinton and Mr Panetta, joined by Senator Carr and Mr Smith, attended a wreath-laying at the World War One memorial to fallen Australian soldiers in Perth’s Kings Park.

She is being escorted around Perth by a tight security detail including WA and Australian Federal Police, as well as the US State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Mrs Clinton also congratulated Australia on its election to the UN Security Council, saying this meant its voice would be “essential” on global tensions such as Iran, “where the international community remains firm and united in our efforts to prevent Tehran acquiring nuclear weapons”, and Syria, “where we need to stand together now to increase pressure on the Assad regime and expand humanitarian assistance to people in need.”

Mrs Clinton flagged detailed discussions on the kind of military presence the US and Australia would keep in Afghanistan after the main forces are withdrawn in 2014. It is expected that both countries will maintain a training role and possibly keep a small number of special forces to target Taliban leaders.

Mr Panetta acknowledged that budget cuts both in Australia and the US made the challenge of confronting security threats around the world an even greater one.

“As we face budget constrictions in both of our countries, we still confront threats in the world, threats that are real,” he said.

Mr Panetta declined to answer an American reporter’s question on Generals Petraeus and Allen, saying there would be time for that later.

General Petraeus has resigned after revealing he had an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. But the investigation has also reportedly revealed that General Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, sent 30,000 emails to a married woman, Jill Kelley, who is a friend of the Petraeus family.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Smerdon fined over Shewan treatment

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LEADING trainer Robert Smerdon has been smacked with a $10,000 fine by Racing Victoria stewards and found guilty of negligence for presenting his horse Shewan to race on Caulfield Cup day after having been treated on the day.
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A raid of Smerdon’s Caulfield stables by stewards compliance assurance member Dion Villella on the morning of October 20 and subsequent inspection of Smerdon’s horses set to race at Caulfield that day revealed fresh blood on the neck of Shewan, which was photographed as evidence by Villella. Smerdon argued the blood was the result of seepage following a standard treatment the day before.

But Racing Victoria veterinary consultant Brian Stewart said it was unlikely the presence of blood could result from an injection delivered 24 hours earlier.

”It is highly, extremely, extremely unlikely [that the blood is from an old wound] unless the horse is affected by some coagulation defect, and in a fit and healthy racehorse that is unlikely,” Dr Stewart said.

Chief steward Terry Bailey said he had no doubt there would be public scrutiny of the penalty, given that trainer Nathan Schofield received a 12-month disqualification from stewards last week after being found guilty of attempting to stomach-tube a horse on race day, but he identified important differences between the two cases.

Bailey said there was no evidence Smerdon had been directly involved in the treatment or what the substance delivered to the horse was.

Blood and urine tests taken from Shewan and Mosheen, another horse inspected by Villella on October 20, have been cleared by Racing Victoria vets.

Smerdon has the right to appeal the fine but offered little indication whether he would pursue that right when leaving the hearing.

■After finally breaking his group 1 duck in the Mackinnon Stakes on Derby day, South Australian galloper Alcopop will tackle the best middle-distance horses in the world in the group 1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin on December 9.

Trainer Jake Stephens was thrilled to get the invite from the Hong Kong Jockey Club after the Mackinnon Stakes win and said he and Alcopop’s connections were ready for ”a once in a lifetime experience”. ”He’s looking amazing and has put on about 10 kilos since Flemington,” Stephens said.

”I never really thought we’d still be going at this stage but he just keeps going from strength to strength and since we’re missing the autumn we thought we’d have a crack.”

Stephens said the option to contest the Hong Kong Cup at 2000 metres and weight-for-age was preferable to the Hong Kong Vase over 2400 metres, where Alcopop would have to meet Caulfield Cup conqueror Dunaden on level weights.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Groups slam Greens call

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Industry groups have slammed the Australian Greens’ calls to replace live animal exports with on-shore meat processing.
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In aposition paper released on Monday, the Greens urged the federal government to address five key issues they believe will create a more “economically robust and humane” alternative to live exports.

The move foreshadows Labor’s final Caucus meeting for the year in late November which will face increased pressure from vocal backbench MPs on a dedicated animal welfare working group, who have reignited calls for a total trade ban, in the wake of the Pakistan sheep crisis.

Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said the public was “distressed” over live export cruelty and wanted the trade to end.

“The government needs to respond – not with half baked inquiries but a comprehensive plan to stop exporting livestock for consumption and process the meat in Australia,” she said.

“Growing domestic meat processing for local and export markets will reduce animal cruelty inherent in the live export trade while boosting Australia’s economy and assisting farmers.

“These key issues are critical to ending the live export trade and hopefully the Labor caucus will consider them before parliament resumes.”

The paper says, following a series of “scandals” in the live sheep and cattle export trade, a critical point has been reached in the debate about whether this trade should continue, with its “unstable economic basis, high levels of risk and animal welfare problems”.

Senator Rhiannon plans to visit northern Australian cattle producers in Western Australia next March to seek feedback on the proposal, which matches her legislation before federal parliament seeking to ban the trade.

At this stage, she has no plans to visit the Northern Territory.

The paper also calls for the establishment of new divisions within the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to take responsibility for growing domestic processing options and building overseas meat markets.

They also called for the establishment of an independent Office of Animal Welfare; a move also flagged by the ALP’s animal welfare working group.

But the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) of WA said releasing the paper was “just another Greens’ furphy, totally lacking in facts or commercial nous”.

PGA spokesman Sheldon Mumby said the Greens were again making “loose use of facts”.

Mr Mumby said the “scurrilous claim” by the Australian Meat Workers Union (AMWU) – outlined in the Green’s paper – that live exports have led to 150 meat processing plants shutting down over the last three decades and 40,000 lost jobs is “complete and utter nonsense”.

He said abattoirs have been closing down and consolidating for decades after becoming unviable, due to the AMWU’s industrial action and demands for higher wages.

Higher wages have made it more expensive to process an animal in Australia than the nation’s main boxed beef trade competitors in the US, China and Brazil, he said.

“If there is all of this processing capacity available and calls from our overseas customers for more boxed exports, then why did the price of sheep drop by 40 per cent in WA when live exporters were not buying sheep in September?” he said.

“Surely if there is sufficient demand, the processors would have jumped into the market.”

Mr Mumby said the Greens continuing calls for the establishment of a northern Australian abattoir had some merit, but that the only way this could be economically viable was if the facility was continually subsidised by the taxpayer and staffed with foreign workers on 457 visas.

“How do you boost regional communities in the north by telling farmers and pastoralists to make a loss and restructure their operations into what the Greens call more socially acceptable practices?” he said.

“Farmers, like everyone else deserve to make profit and it is this profit that comes from the live export trade that is the true economic multiplier for regional Australia.”

Mr Mumby said the Greens’ claims that only a small market segment was exclusively dependent on live exports, due to the low number of applications for income assistance resulting from the 2011 trade suspension to Indonesia, are “insulting to every hardworking farmer and pastoralist who chose to tough it out in the hard times, rather than accept government assistance”.

Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council chief executive officer Alison Penfold said the Greens’ proposal to close down live export represented economic “vandalism” for livestock producers and rural communities.

“The loss of jobs and economic consequences for rural communities will be devastating, as we witnessed in the Northern Territory last year with the ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia.

“The pain is still being felt in those locations with property prices depressed and the banks are banging on doors.

“The live export industry isn’t restraining the growth of the meat processing sector; it’s a range of factors including access to labour and finance, seasonal conditions and global economic conditions.

“The simplification of this argument, that we can simply replace live exports with processing meat here, is doing a complete disservice to those people who would be affected by a closure of the trade.

“Real improvements to animal welfare will only come with Australia being in the market, not out of it.”

Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said as “an important trade with a strong future”, the live animal export industry supports 10,000 jobs across regional Australia and contributes $1 billion to the economy.

“There are some in the community who simply do not want this trade to continue, regardless of the steps we take,” he said.

“I am not one of them.”

Minister Ludwig said Australia leads the world in animal welfare practices – especially in the live export trade.

“We have built and implemented a system that sets a high standard internationally,” he said.

“The community has legitimate expectations about animal welfare and the government and industry have taken significant steps to address them.”

Minister Ludwig said more than 1.5 million animals have been exported under the new supply chain assurance system, which puts animal welfare front and centre.

He said the new system was the result of a lot of hard work from government and industry and the large majority of industry is operating effectively within it.

“This government remains committed to the live export trade and the jobs and communities that rely upon it,” he said.

“The importance of Australia’s live export trade, to our regional communities and to the markets it serves, should not be underestimated.”

Shadow Agriculture Minister John Cobb accused the Greens of being “out of touch ideologues on live exports”.

He said the Greens didn’t care about the welfare of animals outside Australia.

“The Greens are ignoring the massive improvements in animal welfare standards Australia is leading around the world,” he said.

“Without Australia’s effort animals sourced from other countries have little or no protective safeguards whatsoever.”

The Greens’ five key issues the government must address to end live exports and build domestic meat processing

Senator Lee Rhiannon. Photo: JACKY GHOSSEIN

Tourist rescued from cliff at Mystery Bay

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POLICE and the vertical rescue team of the Narooma VolunteerRescue Association (VRA) squad were called to Mystery Bay on Wednesday morningwhen a man became stuck on a cliff.
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Matthew Hibbert, 37, and his family from Sydney were campingat the Mystery Bay camp ground when they decided to spend the morning at theadjacent secluded and spectacular Billy’s Beach.

Mr Hibbert after being rescued said he climbed up theheadland on the northern end of beach and found himself stuck on the crumblingrock face near the top of the 8-metre cliff.

His wife then ran back to the campground where she hadmobile phone coverage and called 000 while their two daughters waited back atthe beach at the base of the cliff.

Narooma police arrived first and assessed the situation,while the VRA volunteers then found a way back around the cliffs to set up anabseil anchor point with which to lower Mr Hibbert.

Strapped to volunteer Steve Urquhart and lowered byvolunteer Jeff Garrad, they all made it down safely, allowing the Hibbertfamily to be reunited.

Mr Hibbert thanked for the VRA volunteers noting how quicklythey had arrived, adding that he was not letting the incident ruin the family’scamping holiday.

The Narooma VRA unit meanwhile is always looking for supportand new members from the community.

Members meet at the squad headquarters on the Naroomaheadland next to the Marine Rescue unit on Thursday evenings and inquiries canbe directed to Jeff Garrad on 0429 460 755.

SOFT LANDING: Sydney visitor and camper at Mystery Bay Matthew Hibbert made it to the bottom of the cliff assisted by Narooma VRA vertical rescue team member Steve Urquhart.

The cliff rescue unfolds at Mystery Bay…

The cliff rescue unfolds at Mystery Bay…

The cliff rescue unfolds at Mystery Bay…

The cliff rescue unfolds at Mystery Bay…

The cliff rescue unfolds at Mystery Bay…

The cliff rescue unfolds at Mystery Bay…

The cliff rescue unfolds at Mystery Bay…

The cliff rescue unfolds at Mystery Bay…

The cliff rescue unfolds at Mystery Bay…

The cliff rescue unfolds at Mystery Bay…

The cliff rescue unfolds at Mystery Bay…

The cliff rescue unfolds at Mystery Bay…

Happy to be down!

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Obama and an Aussie small cap

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In light of President Barack Obama’s victory last week, this column would like to quickly reflect on two of his legacies from his first four years in office, and how they relate to an Australian small cap named Orbital, whose product literally flies under the radar.
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Obama legacy 1: Don’t give up on hoping for better times

Hope is particularly important when you are an Orbital shareholder. Many a stockbroker (your columnist included) has lost a client base supporting the Orbital Engine “fuel injection technology, which improves engineering efficiency to no end – a must have in an environment of tightening emission standards for vehicles”. Or so I told them, in 1995.

Orbital’s shares were trading at $24 in the late-1980s, a time when many believe that the United States’ power was at its zenith. Now, even after a recent spike, Orbital’s stock is at 10 cents.

Times have been trying for Orbital, which has been barely profitable in the past decade due to an “engineering business, which was risky and in decline” in the words of Orbital’s current chief Terry Stinson. Last financial year, on just over $22 million in sales it lost almost $3 million.

Stinson, like Obama is American (although not, to our knowledge, from Chicago). While Obama is trying to return the US back to its glory days, Stinson is trying to do the same with Orbital.

He took the reins at Orbital, having previously worked at Siemens, just prior to 2009 when Obama first rode hope to the Whitehouse.

Obama legacy 2: Drones

Rarely has a foreign policy been so reliant on inanimate objects to win battles. Obama has authorised 283 drone strikes in Pakistan, six times more than the number during president George W. Bush’s eight years in office, according to Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst.

In figures again provided by Bergen, the number of estimated deaths from the Obama administration’s drone strikes is four-times what it was under the Bush administration – somewhere between 1494 and 2618.

These drones, or “unmanned aerial surveillance” technology as Stinson calls them, could well be the Orbital shareholders’ salvation.

In late May, Orbital announced a $4.7 million contract with AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems to supply it with engines. This was after AAI had won military contracts from the US navy and Special Operations Command to provide its “Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS)”.

Orbital reckons its technology can increase the range of these drones on a typical mission by 40 per cent over current technology, or it can allow AAI to increase their carrying capacity.

AAI is owned by a giant US defence conglomerate Textron, which also makes golf carts. Its market cap is $US6.8 billion ($6.5 billion) and Stinson envisages further lucrative contracts, but he won’t be specific (probably because it’s classified).

The sky is literally the limit for Orbital’s drones, which are now in full production in Perth, according to Stinson. He waxes lyrical about them being good for Australia’s law enforcement and border patrol, and much more efficient than its navy.

“They cover a lot of space for not a lot of cost and they use infrared. The ocean is cold, but whether people are in the boat or in the water they are warm.”

Yes We Can

Unlike Obama, there isn’t quite the ground swell of support for Orbital, whose market cap is $10 million. There are still believers, though. One is Adrian DiMattina of Melbourne-based specialist small cap manager SG Hiscock, whose fund owns 9.8 per cent, and isn’t backwards when speaking about the company:

“This is a company with a global customer base and it’s going for the price of a home in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.”

The morality of drones is questionable, but Orbital’s shareholders won’t be thinking about such issues if it can bag another big contract.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.