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Working in Tasmania stories

LSA wins British contract

Edition 190_Carrier

Tasmanian advanced manufacturing business Liferaft Systems Australia (LSA) has signed a contract to build inflatable marine evacuation systems for a new class of warship being built in Britain.

LSA has the best order book in its 25-year history and the contract signed in London capped a good run for the State's advanced manufacturing sector, with four new deals worth a total of more than $80 million generating nearly 50 new skilled jobs.

  • Tamar Hydro in Exeter will create 20 new positions after being selected to build turbines for an extensive mini-hydro network in Indonesia.

  • Taylor Bros in Hobart will build two high-powered Antarctic landing barges for Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina.

  • Penguin Composites in Penguin is working on its first major Defence-related contract and is putting on 15 new employees.

LSA will supply its world-leading marine evacuation equipment to BAE Systems which is building Britain's Type 26 Global Combat Ship.

The company will take on an extra 13 workers, bringing total employment to 75.

The export-oriented Prince of Wales Bay business is looking at options for an expansion of its working space.

The Managing Director of LSA, Michael Grainger (also Chairman of the Brand Tasmania Council) said: "Our contract with BAE Systems is good, long-term work and follows on from previous orders with the British Navy.

"We're battling to keep up with orders and are working two shifts at present.

"Fortunately, we have been able to educate most customers that there will be a lead time of at least a year on new orders."

Mr Grainger said there was also potential for LSA to benefit from new contracts in the pipelines of long-standing customers Incat Tasmania, just across the road, and Austal Shipping, in Western Australia.

As well, BAE Systems Australia is one of three remaining bidders for Australia's new frigate fleet and if it succeeds LSA could expect further work.

"I'm having a good time," Mr Grainger said.

Victorian-based Mackay Consolidated Industries will supply parts for the Type 26 project and Australia's Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne, expects other Australian companies to benefit.

“Australian companies that demonstrate their ingenuity are valued by global prime companies in the United Kingdom and in other markets around the world,” Mr Pyne said.

“This highlights the global competitiveness of our Australian defence industry."

Meanwhile, the contract signed by Tamar Hydro in November is expected to bring in about $45 million over three years.

General Manager, David Hillier, said it was a significant deal for the Exeter-based business which is now looking for a larger factory in the Westbury or Bell Bay areas.

“This contract will bring us into the modern age with new machinery ...  a lot of our equipment is fairly old – 30 years – so we need to re-tool,” he said.

Tamar Hydro has built more than 200 turbines for Asia-Pacific projects after starting life in the 1970s in a small shed on the banks of the Tamar River.

Work will be undertaken across about 16 sites in Indonesia and will include the refurbishment of existing turbines, deploying new ones and constructing dams.

Prominent Tasmanian Polar Network business, Taylor Bros, is scheduled to have two barges completed by 2020 when Nuyina begins operations, replacing the long-serving Aurora Australis.

Designed, engineered and built locally, the barges will carry 45.5-tonne trucks from ship to shore, giving the icebreaker unprecedented unloading and reloading capacity.

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding is building the ship in Romania for the Australian Antarctic Division.

It will be 156m in length, with a beam of 25.6m and will be able to break ice up to 1.65 metres thick at speeds of 3 knots.

Nuyina will supply Australia’s research stations in East Antarctica and Macquarie Island with cargo, equipment and personnel.

Penguin Composites has signed an $8 million contract with Thales Australia to build bonnets and other parts for a new generation of army vehicles.

Melbourne-based Thales Australia signed a $1.3 billion contract in October to supply 1,100 Hawkei vehicles and more than 1,000 trailers to the Defence forces.

The three-year deal is Penguin Composite’s first major Defence-related contract and is expected to create around 15 new jobs at the company headquarters near Penguin, on the Bass Strait coast.

Mr Grainger said: "These are all examples of the type of niche manufacturing projects that Tasmanians do very well.

"We're innovative and agile.

"We may not be able to compete with major global manufacturers in terms of scale, but when we choose a niche and concentrate our efforts we take a lot of beating."

A Government spokesman said: "Advanced manufacturing is one of Tasmania’s competitive strengths and the Government is supporting the sector by helping train and retain skilled staff and also through initiatives like buying locally produced buses for Metro’s fleet."

Image courtesy of Liferaft Systems Australia

5 December 2017, Edition 190

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Facts about Tasmania


Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.


Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.


Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.


The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.


About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.


Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.


In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.


The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.


Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.


Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.


Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.


The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.


The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.


A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.


Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.


The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.


Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.


Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.


The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.


Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.


The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

Brand Tasmania

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