News Feature

Brisbane strikes gold in taking a lead on UN Sustainable Development Goals

By Mike Sullivan at the ASIA PACIFIC CITIES SUMMIT >>

A SIGNIFICANT announcement by UN-Habitat representative Bruno Dercon, at yesterday’s Asia Pacific Cities Summit opening, was the awarding of gold level status to Brisbane City under the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals Cities Global Initiative.

Brisbane is the second city in the world to reach the gold level, which is largely about developing accurate and broad data collection on the city, in order to take action on the pathway to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed through the UN.

Cities worldwide are driving ground-level action on the SDGs and Mr Dercon said Brisbane’s gold certification was both an example and an incentive for participants at the Asia Pacitic Cities Summit to follow. More than 1200 delegates, including 118 mayors from around the world, are attending the summit, which concludes today.  

Brisbane was also the first Australian city to receive silver certification in the UN-Habitat’s Sustainable Development Goals Cities Global Initiative in 2022. 

The SDGs are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a  global partnership brokered by the UN. The SDGs recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

Cities are at the forefront of driving sustainable development, Mr Dercon said. Cities globally are learning from each other.

Brisbane has now joined La Paz, Bolivia as one of two places in the world to attain gold level and will be the first city to submit a new generation Voluntary Local Review (VLR) to mark the city’s progress against the UN’s 17 development goals.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the UN had recognised how Brisbane City Council’s practical approach towards sustainability was not just about cutting waste and emissions but also cutting costs for Brisbane’s 1.2 million residents. 

“What this recognition from the UN really means is that Brisbane just keeps getting better,” Cr Schrinner said.

“It means the raft of measures our council team continues to undertake to keep Brisbane clean and green, to preserve our unique lifestyle and ensure we grow sustainably is working. It means our practical approach is a far better way to improve sustainability compared with the pie-in the-sky target setting we see so often from other levels of government.

“For example, we’re introducing the new Brisbane Metro, a fully-electric high-capacity mass transit system that will save 50,000 tonnes of emissions over 20 years but also get people where they want to go more efficiently.

“We’re investing in green bridges with the Kangaroo Point Green Bridge to not only remove 80,000 cars a year from our roads but deliver a long-needed connection across the river from Brisbane’s CBD.

“We’re delivering sustainable new parks like Hanlon Park in Stones Corner which not only meant an ugly century-old concrete drain was removed but delivered a great destination for families and restored a more flood-resilient natural waterway,” he said.

“And we’re doing things for households like slashing the costs of green waste recycling bins to $1 a week, making larger yellow-top recycling bins free, providing rebates for composting equipment and expanding Brisbane’s food waste recycling scheme beyond the current 30 suburbs.

“These practical measures don’t just help households cut down on waste. They help them cut down on cost.”


Climate Energy Finance gives Budget a few ticks

BUDGET REACTION – INDEPENDENT think tank Climate Energy Finance (CEF) director Tim Buckley has highlighted several features of the Federal Budget that relate to bringing more urgency to climate-based econonomic reform.

Mr Buckley, one of Australia’s leading finance and energy analysts, has identified key moves within Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ wide ranging policies that are directly affecting Australia’s approach to climate change.

Mr Buckley called a $4.2bn 2022/23 surplus “a massive fiscal balance improvement” that carries forward to deliver a huge $300bn reduction in Australia’s Federal Government peak net debt over the forward estimates of $703bn by FY2027 (24.1% of GDP).

He also highlighted $4bn in new funding “to make Australia a renewable energy superpower” – taking total funding to $40bn including the previously announced programs. 

“But this is well below the cumulative $100bn of public capital Climate Energy Finance considers is required to crowd-in $200-300bn of private capital investment to position Australia as a global leader in energy transition and ensure our energy security and independence,” Mr Buckley said.

He highlighted the $2bn green Hydrogen Headstart program as an example of energy innovation in the budget.

There was also confirmation of the Capacity Investment Scheme for firming renewable energy tenders (part of $89m funding), replacing the previous government’s CoalKeeper capacity mechanism.

“Disappointingly, zero effort to cap the $9bn per annum imported diesel fuel rebate or to ensure multinational corporations operating in Australia pay any corporate tax here, when multinational corporate tax reform is long overdue,” Mr Buckley said.

Key observations

“We acknowledge the expected $4.2bn 2022/23 budget surplus is a far more robust starting point in Australia’s fiscal position than was expected 6-12 months ago, Mr Buckley said. “This is notwithstanding the likely structural headwinds that will see an annual budget deficit resume, averaging $29bn per annum over the forward estimates, as our terms of trade continue to normalise to long term rates reflecting commodity price declines from unprecedented levels over the last two years, and as inflation pressures and Stage 3 tax cuts hit.

“However, the 2023 budget also works to alleviate some of the inflationary pressures to make them a temporary rather than permanent uplift, which threatened Australian economic growth and sustained energy sector induced cost of living pressures. The rapid decline in fossil fuel commodity prices globally of late is a welcome relief to all Australians, even as it means the end to war-profiteering by fossil fuel exporters.”

Petroleum Rent Resources Tax (PRRT)

Climate Energy Finance said while the Federal Budget showed the gross profits of Australian LNG exporters exceeded a massive $63bn in 2022/23, in the current economic context, the PRRT changes announced prior to the budget release were a serious case of fiscal policy under-reach.

“The marginal reforms to the PRRT, under which producers will be restricted to writing off 90 percent of assessable income as a tax deduction, are designed to pull forward an extra $600m annually over the forward estimates,” Mr Buckley said, pointing out that it was “a pull forward, not an increase in total expected PRRT receipts over the long term”.

Relative to the estimated 4.4 percent PRRT royalty share of revenue in 2022/23, this represents just a tiny 1.0 percent increased share to the taxpayer.

“This looks very pedestrian relative to the LNG export industry’s windfall war-profiteering and oversized contribution to Australian domestic energy price hyperinflation,” Mr Buckley said.

“By contrast, the Queensland Government has levied a progressive royalty on coal exports – designed to deliver a return to the people of Queensland off the back of surging prices – will deliver royalties of 12-20 percent. Even iron exports attract a 7.5 percent royalty,” he said.

 “That the gas industry has been gifted a royalty – misnamed as a superprofits tax – discount relative to every other mining sector in Australia, as it reaps war profits off our sovereign public assets while returning a relative pittance to tax coffers, speaks to the undue influence of the gas cartel and its vocal lobbying on public policy, and the overdue need for donation reform.,” Mr Buckley said.

“For the Albanese Government, Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Finance Minister Katie Gallagher, the far too modest PRRT reforms in this budget are a missed opportunity to deliver a substantial social dividend to the Australian people, limiting the government’s capacity to fund critically urgent social and energy transition programs, and undercutting the government’s claims to fiscal balance and responsibility. 

“We call on the government to refocus attention on multinational corporates operating in Australia to ensure they pay at least some corporate tax here, particularly those fossil fuel global giants who have paid nothing over the last decade, even as they use our finite public resources for private foreign gain. It is disappointing to see not even a reference to this in the 2023 budget.

“At least this budget cans the residual funding from the previous government’s farcical gas-fired recovery subsidy for the Beetaloo exploration, but disappointingly this is redirected into a $7m subsidy for a Future Gas Strategy,” he said.

National Net Zero Authority created

According to Climate Energy Finance, the national Net Zero Authority is “exactly what Australia needs to ensure the national interest is central to its energy and climate policy framework”.

It will help to plan for the accelerating energy transition and work to establish domestic supply chains and areas of priority focus, including value-adding critical minerals pre-export, ideally leveraging our world leading renewable energy resources to refine, process and manufacture so Australia can export “embodied decarbonisation”.

“It is good to see this authority will also be mandated to support First Nations participation,” Mr Buckley said. 

The government has confirmed $83m funding for this Net Zero Authority over four years, plus details on the previously announced $1.9 billion Powering the Regions Fund. 

This includes the $400m Industrial Transformation Stream, the $600m Safeguard Transformation Stream for trade-exposed facilities in the Safeguard Mechanism and a $400m Critical Inputs to Clean Energy Industries Stream to support decarbonisation of sovereign manufacturing capability of critical inputs to the energy transformation, such as steel, cement, lime and aluminium.

“The Net Zero Authority and associated measures will be vital in ensuring Australia’s workforce and communities are best placed to pivot from the fossil fuel focused industries from the past to the clean energy and critical minerals and value adding opportunities of the future,” Mr Buckley said.

“Global supply chain diversity is a critical focus and Australia needs to both protect our own energy security, but also provide an alternative source of green energy supply for our key trade partners. 

“Climate Energy Finance had hoped for more substantive public finance support, like a $20bn national strategic interest funding allocation to the Future Fund to take strategic equity stakes in emerging domestic value-adding mining corporate leaders to help retain majority Australian ownership.”

Relief for energy bills

The budget provided the previously agreed Federal Government half of the $3bn in co-funded – with state governments – power price cost of living relief of $500 per household for the most vulnerable Australians hit by the surging hyperinflation of domestic fossil fuel energy prices over 2022 and 2023. This has been made all the more urgent after the Reserve Bank of Australia’s 11th interest rate hike earlier this month. Nothing further was added to this in the Budget announcements.

Business and household electrification package

The Federal Government has already announced a $314m tax relief Small Business Energy Incentive for investments in energy-efficient equipment of SME businesses via a tax deduction of up to $20,000.

Low-income households and renters should likewise benefit from a $1bn low-interest loan program to be administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), in partnership with private banks, for home building energy efficiency upgrades, created to boost energy efficiency and insulate households from price shocks in energy markets. 

A further $300m in this budget is being provided to fund energy performance upgrades on 60,000 social housing properties. Another $37m is allocated to modernise Austrlaia’s energy efficiency standards, including expanding the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) to cover existing homes as well as new builds. This should create an energy efficiency star rating system that will help Australians make the best choices when it comes to renting, purchasing, or renovating houses. This is a key priority Climate Energy Finance has been calling for, Mr Buckley said.

Australia’s US Inflation Reduction Act response

Climate Energy Finance said “the race is on” for Australia to position itself as a renewables, critical minerals and metals and cleantech superpower. Global investment momentum in energy transition has been supercharged by US President Joe Biden’s trillion dollar US Inflation Reduction Act, and China leads across all facets of decarbonisation. 

The October 2022 Budget review established significant public financing support for the energy transition, with the $20bn Rewiring the Nation Fund managed by the CEFC; the $3bn renewables, green metals and low emissions technologies funding included in the wider $15bn National Reconstruction Fund; the $1.9bn Powering the Regions Fund (key to assisting the implementation of the Safeguard Mechanism); the $525m Hydrogen Hubs; $146m Driving the Nation Fund; $83m First Nations Community Microgrids; and $188m community batteries fund each managed by the Australian Renewwable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Climate Energy Finance was pleased to see the Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS) announced in December 2022 confirmed in this budget, replacing CoalKeeper.

“With the inevitable acceleration of coal fired power plant closures, and the ongoing delays to the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro storage project, this will play a critical role of crowding-in private capital for accelerated battery storage investments to complement the rapid renewable energy capacity buildout of the states-led Renewable Energy Zones,” Mr Buckley said. “The budget papers do not directly disclose this $89m of funding, given it is commercially sensitive,  i.e. subject to public tenders, expected to commence late 2023.”

“This budget brings a new $2bn Hydrogen Headstart program to ensure large-scale domestic renewable hydrogen projects get started via competitive hydrogen production contracts. The budget provides $38m to establish the previously announced Guarantee of Origin scheme to track and verify emissions associated with hydrogen and low emissions products, as well as provide a mechanism to certify renewable electricity.

“The skills and training sector will benefit from $3.7bn extra for the five-year National Skills Agreement, taking total federal spending to $12.8bn.

“Green finance initiatives include the previously announced $8m over four years to issue sovereign green bonds, a $1.6m contribution to support Australian Sustainable Finance Institute (ASFI) develop its sustainable finance taxonomy, and $4.2m for ASIC for enforcement actions against greenwashing. Also, $18m is provided to implement reforms to the operation of the Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) scheme,” Mr Buckley said.

“This budget provides additional public capital support for the energy transition to help ensure Australia leverages our world leading renewable energy potential to value-add our globally significant critical minerals and green metal resources onshore pre-export. 

“This budget mostly reflects the previously announced $2bn Critical Minerals Facility administered by EFA, as well as an additional $57m to develop a Critical Minerals International Partnerships program to secure strategic partnerships internationally and $23m for policy and project facilitation. 

“Australia needs to focus on ensuring our exports include ‘embodied decarbonisation’ – by powering processing, refining and manufacturing onshore with renewables. This will assist our trade partners in our mutual quest for global decarbonisation at the speed and scale the climate science demands.”

Climate Energy Finance has called on the Federal Government to commit $100bn collective public capital support into energy transition initiatives – across the CEFC, Future Fund, ARENA, Export Finance Australia (EFA) and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) – to both ensure the strategic national interest is promoted and to crowd-in upwards of $200-300bn of private capital from Australia’s world leading $3.4 trillion superannuation pool.

Emissions monitoring and environmental protection

The Federal Government also provided additional funding of $22m over three years ,from 2023–24, to maintain and enhance the capability of Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts to deliver high-quality emissions data and track progress against Australia’s emissions reduction targets.

“Credible real time public disclosure of monitoring, verification and reporting (MRV) of key facilities is yet to be made government policy, but this enhanced reporting is at least a step towards data integrity,” Mr Buckley said.

The Federal Government will also provide $214m over four years to deliver the Nature Positive Plan, including $121m over four years to establish Environment Protection Australia (EPA) to enforce environmental laws “and restore confidence in Australia’s environmental protection system” Mr Buckley said.


Oxfam says Budget a missed opportunity to tackle deepening inequality

BUDGET REACTION – OXFAM AUSTRALIA chief executive Lyn Morgain has called the 2023 Federal Budget “a missed opportunity to tackle deepening inequality”.

“After promising signs in the government’s October budget of increased investment in international development, this budget presented an opportunity to take further steps to make a real difference to the lives of millions of people who have been affected by climate change, conflict and growing inequality,” Ms Morgain said. 

“We welcome the efforts by the government to stabilise the aid budget after a decade of decline and to grow it incrementally over the forward estimates.

“We also welcome government funding to establish the Anti-Slavery Commissioner to ensure compliance with the Modern Slavery Act

“However, despite polling showing growing public support for aid, the government is a long way from achieving the recommended international target of 0.7 percent GNI (gross national income) – that figure has stagnated this year at just 0.2 percent in real terms,” Ms Morgain said. 

“A greater sense of urgency is required on key challenges such as famine prevention and climate change. There is a deepening hunger crisis in many parts of the world and Oxfam, along with other aid agencies, has been calling for an increase to the Humanitarian Emergency Fund to help avert a catastrophe and save lives. It’s disappointing to see the government fail to step up and pay our fair share. 

“If we can afford to subsidise the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $46 billion over four years and $240 billion over 10 years for the unfair stage three tax cuts, we can afford to contribute more to the international effort to prevent millions of people from experiencing famine and to lift people out of poverty,” Ms Morgain said.

“Australia now ranks 27th out of 30 OECD aid donors and is the least generous of our AUKUS partners. Meanwhile, global needs continue to grow with 65 million more people experiencing extreme hunger than last year and the number of people forced from their homes by conflict, the climate crisis and persecution skyrocketing.  

“Next year’s budget will be ‘make or break’ on the stage three tax cuts, and we need urgent tax reform to fund the growing needs we face for investment in international development and responding to climate change in our region, as well as to tackle growing inequality at home.”



Health sector forced to innovate – and communicate – by COVID pandemic

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

THE ENTIRE medical industry has been forced to adapt and innovate in the post-COVID era, according to associate professor Sanjay Warrier.

Dr Warrier is a Sydney based breast surgeon at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the Mater Hospital.

He said in the early days of COVID, there was actually a reduction in the number of breast cancer referrals.

“Over two months, less people were screening and as a result of that there was a reduction in referrals,” Dr Warrier told Talking Business.

“We know that one in seven women have breast cancer. So they still have other things happening to them and ultimately at that time, they weren’t presenting and that was partly because of concerns at that time relating to COVID. 

“What has happened over a period of time has been the ability for us as medical people to adapt to COVID.

“The first time it happened, no one really knew what to do and that was probably showcased by varying things. Initial recommendations were you don’t need a face mask when you were seeing patients.

“And things have adapted a long way when it comes to PPE (personal protective equipment),” Dr Warrier said.

“We are a lot more now keen to be engaging people with symptoms and also encouraging screening as well.”

Health care communication changed forever

Dr Warrier said this forced adaptation had affected the entire health care industry.

“Across the scope, it comes to provision of services, but also anyone across the industry would have noticed a reduction in seeing people – but it doesn’t necessarily mean people aren’t getting sick for other reasons outside of COVID,” he said.

This means doctors are now more aware of the importance of messaging to patients.

“It’ is about messaging to the public – whether it’s through government, whether it’s through campaigns – that there will be across Australia, and particularly in multicultural cities, like Sydney and Melbourne. It’s not just about one demographic either,” Dr Warrier said.

“In our area of health, we have a lot of culturally linguistic things that we need to target and when we look at our screening program, when we restarted it, there were certain patients in our area – we had 4000 less screens – and a lot of them are from non-English speaking backgrounds.

“So we did a lot of advertising and using telehealth services in multiple languages to try and target these groups so that they would come back and do their potential screens for breast cancer.”

Re-setting patient care in a busy world

Delays in appointment-setting have become part of the ‘new-normal’ in Australia healthcare, but Dr Warrier said better communication would help to alleviate the situation.

 “So I think as a medical profession, we have an obligation to ensure that people are aware that if they have symptoms, that they should go and seek a specialist opinion,” he said.

Dr Warrier said this meant the medical industry now had to innovate to reach patients more effectively in the post-COVID era.

This can also be done by working with governments and bodies like the Cancer Institute and breast cancer advocacy groups,

As we enter the fourth year of COVID, there have been noticeable changes, he said. People were now more aware of keeping distanced, they were wearing masks and medical staff were now seeing people face-to-face more regularly.

“It’s just giving those messages across to the broader community … don’t forget about doing the things you need to do to make sure you live a long healthy life,” Dr Warrier said.

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at



Brisbane business leaders forge ahead in health and tech innovation

INNOVATIONS that can save lives, improve health, and strengthen the workforce have been highlighted at the 2022 Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Business Awards (LMBAs), which were presented at a gala ceremony at Brisbane City Hall on October 21.

Nine companies – Audeara, Vaxxas, Save Our Supplies, Populous, Australian Spatial Analytics, Kiddo, DoubleTake Sports, The Princess Theatre and simPRO – were recognised for outstanding contributions to Brisbane’s economy, across a wide range of fields and categories.

SimPRO also won the Optus Platinum Award as the peak business named from the field of 2022 category winners.

Three business people were recognised for outstanding contributions to Brisbane’s economy: Andeara founder James Fielding, AIS Water CEO Elena Gosse and construction industry supplier Stoddart Group’s founder and managing director, Jon Stoddart.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the awards demonstrated the courage and entrepreneurial spirit of Brisbane business owners. 

“Brisbane is Australia’s most small-business-friendly city,” Cr Schrinner said. “These talented people invest in our city, create jobs and help enhance Brisbane’s global reputation for innovation.

“Our award winners each have a vision for the future, a passion for their cause and the courage to try and create a better world. It’s that entrepreneurial spirit that’s driving Brisbane forward and helping to grow our $181 billion economy.”

Healthcare innovation was a prominent theme among this year’s winners, reinforcing Brisbane’s status as a world-leader in medical technology. Cr Schrinner said medical devices developed and manufactured in Brisbane were saving lives around the world.

“From needle-free patches to specialist headphones for the hearing impaired, Brisbane businesses are pioneering research and innovation that can help millions of people,” Cr Schrinner said. “The global impact of some of these businesses could be enormous.”


The needle-free dispensary patches the Lord Mayor is talking about are from Vaxxas, a company that came out of the innovative work of University of Queensland-based biomedical engineer and scientist, Mark Kendall, who founded the company in 2011 to commercialise his patented ‘nanopatch’ invention.

Vaxxas won the Accenture Australia Award for Product Innovation and the company is now on a mission to revolutionise the way vaccines are delivered worldwide through its needleless skin-patch technology that is effective, as well as easy, to administer and transport.

The Vaxxas needle-free microarray patch (MAP) is applied briefly to the skin using a small applicator device and thousands of vaccine-coated micro-projections deliver the vaccine directly to immune cells just under the skin surface.

Vaxxas has been operating from the Brisbane-based Translational Research Institute (TRI) since 2014 but has recently firmed up a $8.2 million second round grant as part of the Australian Federal Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) to support the manufacturing scale-up at a new facility.

Also securing the support of the Queensland Government, the new Vaxxas Biomedical Facility is being constructed in riverside Northshore and is due to open in early 2023.

As well as relocating its existing workforce of more than 100 employees to the site, the new facility will support the creation of 29 new high-skillset jobs and the ongoing growth and development of the biotech and medtech sectors in the region, Vaxxas CEO David Hoey said.

Accenture Australia CEO, Rob Mahoney, presented the award to Vaxxas and also made special mention of one of the other finalists in the category, RedEye Apps for the company’s work in developing technologies to help protect critical business, community and now natural infrastructure. RedEye was recognised for its new Bushfire Management Platform which combines powerful technologies including simulation, spatial data mapping, long-term forecast weather analytics and machine learning to protect communities, sacred sites, and natural areas against the disastrous effects of bushfires.

Other finalists in the category included Circonomy – formerly known as World’s Biggest Garage Sale – and lightweight high energy lithium-sulphur and lithium-metal battery developer Li-S Energy.


Another Brisbane-headquartered leading light in the medtech innovation space, Audeara, received the CCIQ Outstanding Small Business Award for the company’s life-changing audio technology which helps people with hearing impairments.

Audeara is fast-developing a global hearing health leader, specialising in innovative listening solutions for people with hearing challenges.

Audeara CEO James Fielding said the ASX-listed company’s teams were passionate about redefining hearing health, with a focus on products that deliver world-class tailored listening experiences. Dr Fielding said Audeara came out of a vision and commitment to create a world in which hearing impairment rates reduce rather than expand and where all people are able to “use a personalised sound experience to bring joy and connection”.

Audeara works with a team of industry leaders in audiology and engineering to develop products that connect people in meaningful ways to the experiences and people they love — whether that is watching a favourite TV show, FaceTiming family or listening to music.

Dr Fielding said products such as hearing headsets were carefully crafted to the needs of each individual, with precision detail and state-of-the-art technology, “to deliver a unique, personalised listening experience”.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) CEO Heidi Cooper said there was also a special mention in the category for Goodwill Projects, which pioneered Brisbane’s farmers markets in 2006. Today Goodwill Projects co-ordinates 12 popular public markets across South East Queensland, as well as special events, designed to rejuvenate under-utilised spaces to provide appealing public markets and events.

Other finalists in the category were ethical active and leisurewear brand ‘dk active’ which designs and manufactures in Brisbane and is leading the way in sustainable circular fashion; and PeopleBench which is an innovative school workforce improvement company that has developed technology and processes to help schools build better equipped and motivated educational workforces.


From a field that included, Ashe Reddy of Chess Mates, Hayley Brown of Vacayit and Nina Nguyen of Pakko, Audeara CEO James Fielding was named 2022 winner of the Port of Brisbane Young Business Person of the Year award.

Audeara’s products are now available in more than 1300 hearing health clinics around Australia and international expansion plans are underway.

Audeara founder and CEO Dr Fielding said, “It’s an incredible honour to be recognised at such a prestigious awards event, especially as the emphasis is on where we’re going as much as what we’ve already accomplished.

“In the face of a particularly challenging year, these awards, and the event itself, serves as a great opportunity to take stock and connect with the community around us.

“For the team's hard work and positive impact to be appreciated in this way means a lot to us,” Dr Fielding said.

Like prescription glasses, an Audeara tailored listening experience gives clarity and depth that cannot be achieved with generic headphones, Dr Fielding said. Audeara users experience clearer sound that ‘preserves hearing health’ while keeping users in touch with conversations and entertainment experiences around them.

“Audeara’s technology and over-ear comfort means our headphones are also suitable for people using cochlear implants and hearing aids,” he said. One of Audeara’s advocates is ABC Radio National Late Night Live broadcaster, Philip Adams, who said he had been better able to listen directly to television without resorting to subtitles through using the tailored headphone sets.


Winner of the Urban Utilities Award for Environmental Sustainability in Business, Save Our Supplies (SOS) has salvaged millions of dollars in medical waste by shipping usable items to countries in need.

In fact, seven Brisbane hospitals have signed up to donating internationally through the SOS service. Incredibly, the business was created while founder, nurse Claire Lane, was living in a granny flat, raising a two-year-old child. SOS made a positive difference right away.

SOS is a not-for-profit charity that uses a ‘circular approach’ to improve the lives of thousands of disadvantaged people by providing them with free medical supplies. Australia’s high standards of medical care mean that once packaging is opened and the contents are no longer sterile, the remaining unused, clean supplies cannot be used and are simply dumped. SOS achieves its goals by repurposing the clean waste generated by our hospitals that previously would have been dumped as landfill. It sorts and repurposes this waste into usable medical supplies. Not only does this help people in need, but it also helps “save the planet” at the same time.

“It is an honour to shine a light on local businesses that share our commitment to protecting and enhancing the natural environment ,” Urban Utilities CEO Paul Arnold said, presenting the award to Ms Lane and the SOS team. “We applaud businesses whose focus extends beyond profit to include the impact they have on both people and the planet.”

Mr Arnold also mentioned a recent innovation being introduced by Urban Utilities to utilise wastewater to generate hydro-electricity.

Other finalists in the category included Give Industries – a sustainable electrical contractor service that has so far donated more than $380,000 to assisting people in extreme poverty and energy poverty – Brisbane’s iconic destination Howard Smith Wharves, which diverts more than 90 percent of its waste from landfill each year; and Winson Group which has transformed is Signet and Insignia packaging and identification businesses to help its clients and industries to reduce waste and lower energy consumption.


LMBA winners adapting technology to improve lives include Kiddo, which has developed a smartphone app which supports more than 20,000 parents Australia-wide to find trusted care for their children.

Kiddo won Xero’s Outstanding Micro Business Award, presented on the night by Xero state manager Andrew Hurst.

Kiddo is a platform that connects parents to fully verified, local babysitters, nannies and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in-home carers for children.

Kiddo is headquartered in Brisbane and led by mother of two, founder Rebecca Dredge. It was through her own struggle to find a trusted babysitter that she knew there had to be a better way for parents to manage such situations. Kiddo uses the latest technology to provide parents with a safe and efficient way to find trusted care for their children.

Since launching in late 2019, Kiddo now has more than 20,000 active users and proudly continues to grow communities, build connections and give parents much needed support every day. Kiddo can be downloaded on app stores and its services are available throughout Australia.

Ms Dredge said there were now more than 6000 carers registered on the app and climbing. Receiving the Xero-sponsored award at Brisbane City Hall, Ms Dredge said she was proud to be included in such a fine group of micro-business finalists – including Styling Station Australia, The Brand Builders and Vast Yonder – and to head up a team developing “a mum-run business that pushes well above its weight”.

Styling Station is a not-for profit sustainable fashion hub at Milton that helps women in need while providing and avenue for fashion brands to minimise textile waste; The Brand Builders delivers athlete brand education to sporting organisations and athletes across the globe, teaching them how to leverage their personal brands for commercial opportunities such as sponsorship; and Vast Yonder is an experiential creative agency that manages key festivals and projects across Brisbane and South East Queensland.


SimPRO, which took out the ANZ Award for High-Growth Business as well as the Optus Platinum Award for the overall business of the year, supports more than 200,000 users around the world with its project streamlining software.

Providing field service management software solutions to trade and specialty contracting industries is the basis of the simPRO business. Its verticals broadly include security professionals, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, solar, and data networking.

The simPRO cloud-based software systems streamline field service workflows to increase efficiency, improve cash flow and enable business growth. The company has more than 7,000 clients, 200,000 users and 480 employees over six global offices.

Executive chairman and CEO of simPRO, Sean Diljore said over the past year, simPRO had “seen tremendous global growth” when it acquired Clockshark, a US-based time sheeting and scheduling platform, and AroFlo, an Australian-based job management software provider, which grew its global employee team by 25 percent and opened two additional offices.

“We are a US$1 billion company now and we are still based in Brisbane,” Mr Diljore said.

Today simPRO is operating beyond Australian shores in the US, UK, New Zealand and Singapore.

Mr Diljore paid tribute to simPRO’s hard working teams and the way they constantly innovate and said it was “an honour to have been nominated alongside other successful Brisbane businesses in our category” Aginic Holdings, Explorate and Midnight Health.

Aginic is a niche digital services company that is at the forefront of dashboarding, big data analytics, business intelligence and ‘cloud’ movements. Explorate is a rapidly growing Brisbane-based technology company that has built an open and industry-leading operating system for global trade. Midnight Health is a digital healthcare start-up that enhances patient outcomes through technology, consolidating the fragmented health industry, simplifying experiences and improving accessibility.


Australian Spatial Analytics, which took out the Hutchinson Builders Outstanding Social Enterprise category, is helping champion neurodiversity in the workplace by recruiting young people with autism into data careers where their talents can shine.

Australian Spatial Analytics (ASA) is a unique data services provider because its purpose is to use data to employ diversity. ASA is now one of Australia’s largest and fastest-growing social enterprises in the technology field, adding value to corporations and governments by training and employing young autistic adults to process and analyse big data.

ASA CEO Geoffrey Smith said ASA focuses on the societal need to “digitise for diversity”.

Spatial and data analytics are forward-looking sectors, and ASA believes neuro-diverse people should not only be a part of the digital ecosystem, but also can use distinct cognitive talents to add value. With more than 100 employees, 80 percent of whom live with a disability and reside in Brisbane, ASA is contributing significant social and economic impact to this great city.

Sponsor Hutchinson Builders director, Jack Hutchinson, also praised the other nominees – Multhana Property Services, Jigsaw Australia and Silver Memories – for their innovative, hard-working approaches to social enterprise and said it was “good to see so many job-focussed businesses nominated this year”.


A Coorparoo-based company that has streamlined and revolutionised the way live sports coverage is produced and aired, DoubleTake Sports, won this year’s Australia Pacific LNG Award for Business Innovation.

Traditionally, production of a sports broadcast would happen at the stadium, court, or venue, with all equipment and crew onsite. DoubleTake Sports recognised that this was inefficient and costly, making high-quality production out of the reach of all but the elite leagues. So DoubleTake Sports innovated to meet surging demand for low-cost, high-quality sports content by becoming the first mover in remote production for sub-elite sports. Since then, DoubleTake has been engaged by Stan Sport, Seven, Nine, Kayo, News Corp. Australia, SBS and Fox Sports to build coverage of certain elite sports as well.

DoubleTake’s revelation was that remote production required only the cameras to be at the venue. They produce the same onscreen product as major production teams with a far lighter environmental impact, and at a higher quality. This means more sports and leagues can access higher-quality production at a time when broadcast and digital revenue is critical to the health and vitality of all sports, and especially the uplift of sport for women and girls.

DoubleTake Sports pursued remote production with the endorsement of key sports partners and rights holders and has remotely produced hundreds of broadcasts nationwide since early 2021.

Other finalists in the category were social welfare enterprise Circonomy which tackles repurposing the many billions of dollars of returned and repaired tech goods across the Australian retail sector; Electric Mobility Solutions (EMoS) which has developed sustainable end-to-end solutions for the ‘first and last mile’ transport of goods and people in urban environments; and Skedulo which has developed a deskless productivity cloud solution, powered by AI and machine learning, to help organisations globally to manage and engage their staff who do not work in traditional office settings.


The extraordinary global stadium and venue design work of Populous – which has driven export success for the Brisbane-based company over more than 20 years – win the highest accolade of the HSBC Excellence in International Business category.

Populous opened its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Brisbane in 1999 after winning the design contract for the Sydney Olympic Stadium. It was the catalyst for Populous to begin exporting creative and professional design services from Brisbane.

Today, the business has grown to 200 designers with offices throughout the Asia-Pacific region and its design success stories of ‘places where people love to be together’ have included Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Kai Tak Sports Park in Hong Kong, Yankee Stadium in New York City and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London.

Populous is the largest employer of Queensland architects and designers involved in export, where every dollar earned in the Asia-Pacific creates jobs for Queenslanders. Populous’ unique expertise is in designing iconic, city-shaping places that sit at the intersection of sports, entertainment, arts and culture.

HSBC state manager Gerry white said the calibre of the businesses challenging for the category was very high, including other finalists underground mining guidance systems innovator Applied Mining Technologies, specialist aquatic environmental consulting group Hydrobiology and jewellery manufacturer and retailer Michael Hill International.


Winner of diverse property investor and developer ISPT’s Award for Investment in Brisbane, The Princess Theatre is a heritage site transformation that extends Brisbane’s appeal in the live entertainment market.

After laying largely dormant for more than 70 years, Queensland’s oldest surviving and only 19th century theatre building, The Princess Theatre, has been given a new life as Brisbane’s newest home to performing arts.

The magnificent state-heritage-listed building was acquired in early 2021 by the owners of The Tivoli, Steve and Dave Sleswick, and prominent local businessman, Steve Wilson, who collectively shared a vision to transform the theatre into Brisbane’s newest home for music, entertainment and the arts.

Together, they overcame the extraordinary challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic on the live industry to complete a timeless restoration of ‘The Princess’ for future generations to enjoy.

Following a meticulous and faithful restoration, The Princess reopened to the public in 2021 as a state-of-the-art performance auditorium designed for a standing capacity of 900 people and a seated theatre capacity of 500. It also features four bars, a public cafe, private event spaces, a rehearsal room and an outdoor courtyard.

ISPT currently has a $22.2 billion portfolio that invests in and develops office, retail, industrial, educational, health and residential property across Australia. Other finalists for its 2022 investment category award were technology-enabled kitchens provider Chef Collective; social welfare enterprise Circonomy which tackles repurposing the many billions of dollars of returned and repaired tech goods across the Australian retail sector; and the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal, which is gearing up to become Australia’s cruising capital. Brisbane International Cruise Terminal also received a ‘special mention’ in the category.


Elena Gosse, CEO of AIS Water, was named the The Courier-Mail’s Business Person of the Year, for growing her Brisbane innovation and manufacturing operations to export to 55 countries around the world. The award was presented on the night by The Courier Mail editor, Chris Jones.

In her award speech Ms Gosse paid tribute to other leading business people nominated in 2022, Cryptologic Technology Group founder and chairman, Jamie Wilson; Paypa Plane co-founder and CEO Simone Joyce; and Stoddart Group managing director Jon Stoddart.

AIS Water is an innovative, multi-award-winning manufacturer of water disinfection technology and anode material for swimming pools and future clean energy applications that has gone international from its Brisbane headquarters and manufacturing base. Under Ms Gosse’s leadership, AIS Water constructed and opened its third Brisbane manufacturing facility in 2022 at a cost of $9 million.

AIS’s reputation for  excellence in the field is recognised worldwide, with its technology exported to over 55 countries. Ms Gosse is also well-known for giving back to her community by empowering other women to find their voice and embrace female leadership. Elena Gosse is also an in-demand  public speaker and advocate against domestic and family violence. (See separate story on Elena Gosse.)


The Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Business Awards has only presented a Lifetime Achievement Award a handful of times in the past – and 2022 was one of those occasions when Stoddart Group managing director Jon Stoddart was honoured.

As Australia’s largest supplier and installer of building products, Stoddart Group is an integral part of the national housing landscape, servicing more than 30,000 homes each year – about one quarter of all new homes built across Australia annually.

With a company mission all about creating solutions that deliver a better way to build, Jon Stoddart is passionate about helping builders deliver better performing, more environmentally responsible houses.

Under Mr Stoddart’s leadership, this family-owned business has evolved from its humble beginnings to now turn over $400 million a year and employ more than 600 employees and 2,000-plus subcontractors, with 31 branches across the eastern and western seaboards of Australia.

“I am truly humbled to have received this award and accept it on behalf of my family and the amazing team at Stoddart Group, who work incredibly hard every day to provide our customers with solutions that deliver a better way to build,” Mr Stoddart said.

Cr Schrinner said he hoped the recognition of all business that took part in the 2022 Lord Mayor’s Business Awards would inspire even greater growth and investment in Brisbane. 

“As we prepare for a decade of city-defining change in the lead up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, I want local businesses to have every chance to thrive and succeed,” he said.

“Together we will create long-lasting change and opportunities that will be enjoyed for generations.”



CCIQ Award for Outstanding Small Business

Audeara Limited

Accenture Australia Award for Product Innovation

Vaxxas Pty Ltd

Urban Utilities Award for Environmental Sustainability in Business

Save Our Supplies Ltd

Hutchinson Builders Award for Outstanding Social Enterprise

Australian Spatial Analytics Ltd

Xero Award for Outstanding Micro Business


HSBC Award for Excellence in International Business


Australia Pacific LNG Award for Business Innovation

DoubleTake Sports Pty Ltd

ANZ Award for High-Growth Business


ISPT Award for Investment in Brisbane

The Princess Theatre

Port of Brisbane Award for Young Business Person of the Year

Dr James Fielding – Founder, Audeara

The Courier-Mail Award for Business Person of the Year

Elena Gosse OAM – CEO, AIS Water

Lifetime Achievement Award

Jon Stoddart – MD of Stoddart Group

Optus Platinum Award




AIS Water CEO Elena Gosse named Business Person of the Year in Brisbane LMBAs

THERE ARE TWO reasons Elena Gosse has won so many business and community awards over the past two decades. The first is her company’s global commitment to providing safe, simple and smart water disinfection technology for commercial and residential swimming pools – and this is closely followed by the contributions she makes to community.

Last Friday night, the AIS Water CEO added another prized acclamation when she was officially named Business Person of the Year at the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Business Awards (LMBAs) presented at a gala ceremony at Brisbane City Hall. 

Ms Gosse, who is this year celebrating AIS Water’s 30th anniversary, said she was proud her company’s innovative and water saving technology was now operating in more than 55 countries.

“This is a year of celebration for us, as we look back and recognise our hard work and the evolution of our technology from swimming pool disinfection to exploring future clean, green energy,” the Brisbane-based business owner said.

In June, Elena Gosse received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her service to manufacturing and to the community, acknowledging her ongoing work in advocacy and fundraising for the prevention of domestic and family violence, her personal mentoring of women into leadership roles and her public speaking engagements.

“The Lord Mayor’s Business Person of the Year award caps off a fabulous year of recognition both for our company and myself personally,” Ms Gosse said. “It is just that little bit extra special having faced a few years of uncertainty and challenges, as all businesses have in the face of COVID.

“In this time, we continued trading as an essential business and were fortunate to retain all our staff, add new employees in new roles and build our third manufacturing facility at a cost of $9 million, where we continue to develop world-leading water disinfection technology.”

Brisbane City Council describes the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards as recognising “the best and most innovative businesses and entrepreneurs in Brisbane”.

“The awards centre on the energy, drive and passion behind businesses in any commercial or industrial sector contributing to the growth of Brisbane’s economy,” Council states. “A diverse range of businesses and businesspeople have been named winners since the awards started, highlighting excellence, success and those who think outside the square - all trademarks of Brisbane’s business community.”

The three other finalists for this year’s Business Person of the Year were Jamie Wilson of Cryptoloc, Simone Joyce of Paypa Plane and Jonathon Stoddart of Stoddart Group who also received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ms Gosse, who was also named as a finalist in the 2021 Lord Mayor’s Business Awards, said she felt honoured to be in the company of such accomplished and successful Brisbane-based entrepreneurs.

“I find attending award nights such as the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards allows me the opportunity to meet some incredible business people, to network and to share our stories,” Ms Gosse said.

“To be twice listed as a Business Person of the Year finalist for the Lord Mayor’s Awards and to then be named the winner, when I am in such esteemed company, is humbling while encouraging me to continue to strive to be the best business woman I can be.

 “It is always exciting to win awards. But our day-to-day business is developing ground-breaking pool chlorination systems so our focus now turns back to the job at hand.”

Ms Gosse and AIS Water have won acclaim in the LMBAs before, in 2014, and have won awards from the Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence, the Stevie Awards, the Women in Business Awards of Australia, a Dancing CEOs award and regular finalist honours in the Telstra Business Awards, EY Entrepreneur of the Year, and the Queensland Premier’s Awards among many others.

Elena Gosse TEDx Talk:


Cultural change required for Australia to overcome COVID says CEDA panel

MANAGING an ‘open Australia’ will require a re-evaluation of city and workplace design. That is the consensus of an expert Pandemic to Endemic discussion series panel recently convened by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) and sponsored by GSK Australia.

The panel discussion, titled Proofing against future pandemics, focused on how health, smart cities and resilient workplaces should inform Australia’s success as the Australian public and business leaders learn to live with COVID-19.

GSK Australia and New Zealand head of human resources, David Fitz-Gerald said building resilience into the workplace required a change in culture. 

“GSK is known as an innovator in medicines and vaccines. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted us to take further steps forward as an innovative workplace,’’ Mr Fitz-Gerald said.

“It prompted us to find new ways to support our people to thrive. We have applied a new philosophy of ‘flex-pathy’, providing our workforce with ‘maximum flexibility’, coupled with clear and consistent communication. This philosophy was embedded while also ensuring a sustained focus on our company goals.” 

Mr Fitz-Gerald also said companies that apply lessons from the pandemic would reap the benefits when it comes to attracting talent in competitive labour markets.

“Looking to the future, we created a framework, called Performance with Choice, which is brought to life in our culture, not in policy. We encourage our people to have open conversations to identify ways of working that support their performance and their team and to feel safe and secure knowing that this flexibility is available to them.” 


Arup's Australasian Cities leader and panellist, Malcolm Smith said re-evaluating Australians' "approach to the way we design our cities for work, education and leisure" will be important in the management of pandemics into the future.  

“Cities are not just about physical structures, they are representations of our social and economic aspirations," Mr Smith said. "When we have our cities disrupted, it affects all of those aspects.

"We need to understand re-integration of those aspects as we come out of disruption and model new scenarios with the lessons we’ve learnt.

“This includes seeing an increase in local trends, provision of services and changes to the composition and concentration of city centres. This has consistently played out in the pandemic as we saw inequitable access to open space across the world," Mr Smith said.

“We now have the digital capacity to monitor the impact of disruption and its social effect on our cities – and we need to use it. We need to model our cities for multiple-use scenarios and have a conversation about making this a requirement for city design, like some countries in Europe.” 


Siemens ANZ CEO and panellist, Jeff Connolly emphasised "smart technology as a critical lever" to address the global challenges of pandemics.

“We used to be bricks and steel only, but now we've got fully intelligent buildings and infrastructure. Pandemics require the real-time response that technology can provide, helping us to address the challenges of future pandemics," Mr Connolly said. 

“At the start of the COVID-19, we used a lot of preventative measures with some of them proving unnecessary later. This was all because our environments were not designed to contain a virus like COVID-19. We now have an opportunity to use smart technology so we can design these environments with purpose.

“Digitalisation is at the heart of the solution. Smart technology is already being used in purpose-built locations like the National Gallery of Victoria. Solutions like increased filtration, UV lighting and ionization mean we’re able to address the challenges of the disrupted cities we now live in.”

The CEDA panel discussion was facilitated by Deloitte Access Economics partner Mel Miller and was the second in a series of three sessions that focus on Australia’s post-pandemic future.

The next Pandemic to Endemic panel discussion will be held in February 2022.


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