Business stories

We create jobs and opportunities. We innovate and export. But too often our businesses and the people who work in them are painted as villains; our achievements left unsung. We need to tell our own stories. We want to showcase the work of our industry leaders, our employees and our suppliers.

The Biggies: Woolworths stacks up as ‘quiet hero’

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 1 March 2021. When the coronavirus pandemic struck almost exactly 12 months ago, there was chaos in supermarkets across the country as people rushed to stockpile food. Some commentators worried that the mayhem would damage the country’s social fabric as...

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The Biggies: EY’s practical support comforted fire victims

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 22 February 2021. One of Australia’s most successful private sector bushfire relief initiatives, which assisted more than 500 small business owners, started with a round of drinks. When fire tore through Kangaroo Valley, a community of 800 people on NSW’s...

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The Biggies: BP Australia makes big impact in crises

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 15 February 2021. During last summer’s devastating bushfires, as thousands fled to safety under evacuation orders, the supply of fuel to affected communities became a critical part of the emergency response. For oil and gas company BP Australia it was a time...

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The Biggies: Doctor Simon Doyle brought human touch in time of rare contact

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 8 February 2021. Last year as the coronavirus pandemic sparked fear among Australians, Melbourne-based emergency doctor Simon Doyle focused on the small things to try to establish a personal connection with his COVID-19 patients. “I used to make small efforts to, you...

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The Biggies: Branch manager went out on a limb to help fire victims

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 1 February 2021. On Kangaroo Island, the January night sky had turned a ghostly, unnerving burnt orange. Kaytee Collins kept one eye on the sky and one on her computer as the emergency unfolded. One piece of advice, an odd rhyme, stuck...

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The Biggies: Feeding the community in a crisis

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 25 January 2021. As the fires burned around him and the sky turned an apocalyptic red, John Appleby felt an overwhelming feeling of responsibility to his community. The Coles regional manager based at Bateman’s Bay on the NSW south coast...

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The Biggies: You can bank on volunteer firefighters

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 18 January 2021. A high-powered job in a bank can be stressful, but last summer a day in the office proved a refuge for Scott Hart, a volunteer firefighter who spent months battling the devastating fires in NSW. Mr Hart,...

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The Biggies: Accenture adds a new dimension to caring

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 8 March 2021. From extra volunteering to the development of a new food delivery model, consulting firm Accenture reached out beyond its client base to assist local communities impacted by bushfires and COVID last year. The firm helped call centres...

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The Biggies: Coles manager John Appleby rises to the occasion as community hero

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 8 March 2021. “I remember being in Coles on January 5, 2020, with very little power, no dairy, no meat, no frozen foods and very little in the way of pasta or tinned vegetables,” a Batemans Bay resident told the Business Council...

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The Biggies: Pop-up shopping mall saved Mogo traders

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 15 March 2021. When fire tore through Mogo on NSW’s south coast last year, homes and businesses were reduced to ash and traders found themselves without a space to conduct their businesses. Within weeks, structures and logistics company ATCO had erected a...

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The Biggies: Coles saw Covid crisis as ‘a time to step up’

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 29 March 2021. Australia produces more food than it consumes but when the pandemic hit communities last year, many Australians became focused on stockpiling groceries to see them through the lockdowns. Our big supermarkets came under pressure to supply essentials and ensure...

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The Biggies: Minderoo bushfire recovery efforts rewarded

This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 22 March 2021. At the height of the black summer bushfires when much of Kangaroo Island was in flames, a handful of workers flew in with notepads and pencils in hand. They weren’t firefighters, emergency services respondents or logistics experts, but a...

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A 25-year partnership cracking the code in regional Victoria

Silicon Valley, Mumbai and … Ballarat. Twenty-five years ago, IBM Australia joined forces with Federation University Australia to invest in the regional Victorian centre of Ballarat. IBM Australia’s decision to become the foundation tenant of the university’s Ballarat Technology Park has delivered wide-reaching and lasting benefits for students, staff, industry...

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Helping people in the future in a better way

This article first appeared on the National Bushfire Recovery Agency website on Thursday 21 January 2021. A story from Mogo in NSW, reflecting life in October 2020. When the Black Summer bushfires engulfed the small town of Mogo on the NSW south coast on New Year’s Eve 2019 almost 500...

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GrainCorp plants the seeds of growth for our regions

With this year’s winter crop harvest just around the corner, GrainCorp will bring hundreds of jobs to southern NSW with their harvest recruitment program, now underway. Currently, with a primary regional base in Wagga Wagga supporting the business’ network in Victoria and southern NSW, 35 permanent staff members cover logistics,...

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Pioneering ‘deliver on demand’ shopping service launched at Stockland centres a first in the country

Stockland, one of the largest owners and operators of retail town centres in Central and Far North Queensland, has a longstanding commitment to supporting jobs, local businesses and the community in Townsville. The diversified property company has been a major investor in the city since Stockland Townsville, the region’s largest...

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Support for the most vulnerable in our community

Self-isolation and social distancing has meant separation from loved ones and support systems for many Australians but as Veronica Hunt from the Salvation Army explains, home isn’t always a safe option for vulnerable members of our community. “We know that for some people home isn't the safest place; that self-isolation...

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Officeworks doesn’t stand stationery when helping its community

As we line up for a coffee at our local cafe or buy meat from our local butcher, we are becoming more accustomed to social distancing practices within our community. This is thanks to clear signage we are seeing in our favourite local businesses. Wilbur Montalban, owner of Descanso, a...

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Chevron digs deep for its most valuable resource

As the impacts of COVID-19 began to hit, Chevron Australia quickly developed a $1 million relief fund to support one of the tightknit communities at the heart of the work it does in Western Australia.  Assistance was targeted at Onslow, a coastal town in the remote Pilbara region with a...

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Jemena powers up digital learning for struggling families in Victoria

Home schooling has proved a struggle for many families during the COVID-19 pandemic but without Australian energy company Jemena’s donation of more than 100 recycled laptops, it would have been an impossibility for some Victorian students. Jemena stepped in to help after they began noticing a large percentage of children...

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From UberEats to UberTreats for vulnerable pet owners

During a time when many are feeling isolated, our pets have never felt more connected as we spend more time at home. But as we are faced with a restriction on activity and travel, being able to access the supplies and services needed to care for our pets has been...

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Shifting the balance of power in Busselton

When resources and structures company ATCO decided to extend their natural gas pipeline and open a depot in Busselton, Western Australia, they were surprised by how quickly local businesses wanted to get onboard. Mick Sheaf, the depot’s supervisor, explains, “when we moved in here to Burler Drive, we noticed down...

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More options for Busso bargain hunters

Twenty years ago, Busselton locals started a petition to lure retailer Kmart to their coastal city. As Busselton in Western Australia’s south-west grew and gained a reputation as a tourism hotspot, the community’s push for greater shopping options gathered momentum.  While boutique businesses flourished during peak holiday seasons, locals had...

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Giving Busso students the tools to success

With up to 400 applications for entry level positions at Bunnings Busselton, 17 year old Chelsea Smith knew she needed an edge. By being part of Busselton Senior High School’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) program in business studies, Chelsea was given access to a work experience placement with Bunnings,...

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Moving to Sydney's west to tap into opportunities

Six or seven years ago Tania Day saw a strong business opportunity to move her and her husband’s landscaping business from the Eastern Suburbs to Western Sydney. While the Eastern Suburbs is one of Sydney’s most affluent areas, Day said she thought the huge population growth and infrastructure building planned...

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Giving Gayle the chance to hear the birds sing

For Geelong resident Gayle Sydenham, the “amazing technology” of a cochlear implant has allowed her to hear her four grandchildren. Ms Sydenham says the opening of the Geelong Cochlear Care Centre last year was a catalyst for her to take a “leap of faith” and have the implant in January....

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How the workers of the Darling Downs made the Coopers Gap wind farm a reality

It wasn’t just the strong and predictable wind that made Coopers Gap an ideal place for AGL and General Electric to build the Coopers Gap Wind Farm. The ready supply of skilled labour makes Toowoomba and the surrounding regions a good location for major infrastructure projects, said Dave Johnson, General...

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Small businesses thrive in Toowoomba

A massive project to build rigs for Shell’s QGC business is helping Toowoomba sustain a diverse economy and offsetting the impact of the drought on local businesses. Local company Easternwell was last year awarded a five-year contract to build well servicing rigs and other services for Shell’s QGC.   The...

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Universities look to the future of Western Sydney

Western Sydney University academic Andy Marks is in a race to boost digital skills in Western Sydney so the region can take full advantage of the jobs on offer from infrastructure building and population growth. The Western Sydney region is forecast to add 1.1 million people in the coming years,...

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Critical infrastructure connects Stahmann Farms to the world

Toowoomba nut producer Stahmann Farms doesn’t only use the recently-opened Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport to export produce to Asia. It also boosts business using the airport to bring in potential clients and show them around. “A lot of the meetings that we have are face to face. That's the way we...

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P-TECH helps students with workplace learning

More schools should adopt innovative new approaches to help young people prepare themselves for the ever-changing world of work, says Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott. Programs that link business to students interested in the STEM fields -- like P-TECH, offered at Geelong’s own Newcomb Secondary College –...

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Bendigo Bank and Runway help startups take the global stage

A cutting-edge partnership between Bendigo Bank and Runway Geelong is helping up-and-coming entrepreneurs who want to take their startups to the global stage. Bendigo Bank has set up a pop-up location at Runway’s co-working facilities at the Pivot City Innovation District. In a unique model, the bank rotates senior business...

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Local heroes take the centre stage

Companies creating white-collar jobs in Geelong are fast becoming part of the fabric of the local community, raising funds for community charities and fast-tracking the revitalisation of the city. Energy retailer EnergyAustralia’s contact call centre has contributed $40,000 to eight charities through its community grants program over the last five...

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A Quickstep into creating more high-skilled local jobs

High-tech manufacturer and supplier of parts to the world’s biggest stealth fighter jet program, Quickstep, has plans to expand its Geelong technology facility, creating more high-skill local jobs.  Australia’s biggest independent manufacturer of carbon fibre composites moved its research and development centre from Germany to Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus...

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Farm Foods ramping up export operations in Geelong

Geelong food manufacturer Farm Foods is advancing plans to ramp up its export operations, creating new local jobs, to capitalise on the booming global consumer appetite for organic meat and plant-based alternatives. The family-owned Farm Foods is seeking planning approval from Geelong Council to expand at the rear of its...

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Construction spree will build Territorian skills

A tourism and education construction spree worth hundreds of millions of dollars will help keep skills in Darwin as the Northern Territory wrestles with the post-Inpex boom era. The completion of mega-projects including the Inpex-operated Ichthys liquefied natural gas project and National Broadband Network roll-out across the Northern Territory has...

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Humpty-can-Doo attitude creates a splash

When Humpty Doo Barramundi started 26 years ago, a band of volunteers did all of the work. Fast-forward to today and the family-owned business is Australia’s largest barramundi farm. The farm has grown to employ about 80 people and the owners plan on creating even more local jobs to meet...

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No man-goes it alone

When Coles named one of its miniature collectables after Marie Piccone, the supermarket giant was celebrating a mango producer whose innovation has breathed new life into an iconic brand of the sweet, fragrant fruit. Ms Piccone was part of the national launch of the collectibles that represent Coles producers, which...

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Woolies goes bananas for colourful bunch

When Frank Sciacca says he has a lot of workers to produce the most environmentally friendly bananas in the world, he’s not just talking about the 18 staff on his Innisfail farm. He means the ones Mother Nature provides. “It’s about looking after not just what you’ve got on your...

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Tourists urged to trade Cannes for Cairns as region thrives

With one in five local jobs depending on tourism, Cairns has stepped up its pursuit of cashed-up luxury holiday-makers with new investments that highlight the confidence in the strength of the tourism sector. The Riley hotel on the scenic Esplanade in Cairns is the first new five-star hotel to open...

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Starr shines at Bunnings

Larry Starr signed up to a job at Bunnings Warehouse in his 50s but defies the usual stereotype of the older worker staffing the floor of the hardware giant. While Bunnings is well-known for hiring ex-tradies, Mr Starr is a different kind of career changer. "If I had my way,...

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Young Guns in a league of their own

Brothers Scott and Trent Young were aspiring to careers in the cut-throat world of professional rugby league when they realised there was a “bigger opportunity” before them. "Without this partnership we wouldn’t have the ability to distribute stock in a daily capacity..." Kmart General manager inventory and supply chain Oliver...

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Game of Thrones' special effects grown in Adelaide

Students from the University of South Australia have been a part of the biggest show on earth that concludes tonight – the Game of Thrones. Rising Sun Pictures partnered with UniSA special effects students, who worked on season six of the medieval fantasy epic. And UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd...

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Western Sydney Airport to open up new horizons for Bathurst and the Central West

Communities in NSW’s Central West should begin planning now to take advantage of the enormous opportunities landing on their doorstep when the new Western Sydney Airport takes off and reshapes the entire region west of the city. The international airport, which will be the biggest in Australia and operate around...

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Electricity costs cripple Bathurst businesses

WHEN winter descends on Bathurst in NSW’s chilly Central West, local store owners rug up in their woollies and hope they can survive not just the cold, but taking a hit from their electricity bills. “Leading up to Christmas this year we had some 24 retailers and smaller businesses close...

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Small farms help employ thousands of workers

ANDREW Smith and Jeff McSpedden own small farms just outside of Bathurst but between them they help employ more than 100,000 Australians.  They grow vegetables for local food manufacturer Simplot, who sells products to Coles which employs an army of Australian workers to stack the shelves, staff the checkouts and...

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Adelaide-based company makes their mark in space race

ADELAIDE-based Inovor Technologies is an Australian company making their mark in the space race. Their satellites can track objects in space, deliver earth images direct to clients, track fires, floods and earthquakes and detect things like illegal logging. The Australian Government, trying to get a share of the space race...

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Local tradies first

GLOBAL insurance broker Aon has asked their insurers to put local tradies first as Townsville rebuilds following its worst ever floods, which will make sure extra investment benefits flow right through the community. “It makes sense to employ local tradespeople so they can get back on their feet,” Aon Australia...

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Housing development a springboard for jobs

THE Townsville small business that constructed the first stage of Lendlease’s Elliot Springs didn’t just lay the foundations for roads, pipes and power, they established their reputation as one of the leading civil contractors in the Townsville region. This is how Townsville’s Hansen Constructions director Jacqui Murr described the opportunity...

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Western Sydney Airport will give business a tailwind

EMPLOYERS and workers across Western Sydney are set to get a tailwind from the Western Sydney Airport when it opens in 2026, with hundreds of thousands of jobs planned for the region, which is expected to generate up to a $15.6 billion economic boom over three decades. “The reality is...

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Western Sydney cranes a towering success

THERE are few local companies that illustrate Western Sydney’s impressive growth better than Borger Cranes, expanding from four workers and one crane four decades ago to 70 cranes today, 300 workers, and greater training opportunities for young workers. The Glendenning company has supplied cranes to Stockland, Lendlease and John Holland...

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'The success of small businesses is dependent on the success of big business’

“It's the biggest growth of any market we have in our entire network. So, it's phenomenal what's been occurring.” Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce   Business leaders from tourism, manufacturing and agriculture industries put this success down to businesses and enterprising people being the engine room of the country’s...

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Tourists love Mona but Tasmanians are proud of it

Tourism has become more important to Tasmania’s economy than any other states or territories in Australia, helping it grow at its fastest rate in a decade. About one in five interstate and international visitors to Tasmania, go to Mona – Museum of Old and New Art – catching the attention...

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Purple patch delivers green shoots for farmers

TOKYO has more Michelin stars than any other city in the world. For their asparagus in summer – they look to a tiny island, more than 8,500 kilometres away. The quality of asparagus at Premium Fresh Tasmania, a privately owned vegetable farming and processing operation near Devonport, means it has...

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Australia's island state supplying ships to the world

HOBART shipbuilder Incat has gone from building local boats four decades ago to now supplying the world’s best and fastest ferries to markets stretching from Trinidad to the Canary Islands, with its success helping grow a network of business suppliers in Tasmania. Incat started building ferries with less than five...

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'Tasmania's brand awareness unsurpassed'

WHEN Liferaft Systems Australia first started manufacturing marine evacuation slides and liferafts 26 years ago they had about six employees and a single local customer. Almost three decades later and they are employing about 70 people full-time and supplying their marine evacuation systems to navies across the world, including BAE...

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Open for business sign beckons boom-times for Busselton

When mining giant Rio Tinto decided more than a decade ago to anchor one of its fly-in, fly-out hubs in the Western Australian city of Busselton, it revitalised the coastal community economically, socially, and culturally. The influx of about 900 workers on above-average wages has served as a magnet for...

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Embracing change to create new industries and hope

Back when the car manufacturing industry was in full flight in Australia, small to medium-sized Victorian business Australian Performance Vehicles had three customers: Ford, Holden and Toyota. As a tier-one supplier to the global car making giants,  APV didn’t need a brand. “They asked us to manufacture a widget and...

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Western Sydney is transforming

About 40 per cent of residents in Sydney’s west are forced to drive 90 minutes each way for work, said former Business Council president Tony Shepherd. It is this absence of local jobs, Mr Shepherd said, that is the biggest challenge facing one of the nation’s fastest growing regions. “It’s...

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Gladstone turns the investment tap on for jobs, skills and training

Gladstone is a magnet for business activity; a perfect illustration of the benefits that flow into a community when it attracts investment. Grant King, the president of the Business Council of Australia, describes Gladstone as “one of the great cash registers of Australia, one of the great sources of wealth...

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Vision and planning sees Toowoomba flying high

Nowhere does the adage of “build it and they will come’’ resonate  more than in the southern Queensland city of Toowoomba. The garden city’s $100 million Wellcamp Airport, built by the Wagner family and opened in 2014, has served as a mecca for development in the region. In September, as...

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Rising to the challenge of technological change with lifelong training and skills

As far as career changes go, Jodie Auster’s journey from emergency department doctor to leading the Australian arm of one of the world’s biggest disruptors has been remarkable. She began her career as a doctor, then studied an MBA at Melbourne University’s Melbourne School of Business, had a stint in...

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Sun shines on Port Augusta investment

About 1000 kilometres from Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station or about 16 hours’ drive from the heart of Sydney lies an oasis surrounded by parched earth. The large truss of vine tomatoes found on the shelves of Coles supermarkets across Australia are grown at Sundrop Farms on the outskirts of Port...

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Luring talent back to business

If Jane Holt wasn’t already slightly nervous about the challenges of re-entering the workforce after an extended career break, she had to contend with her hot water service going on the blink and both her children breaking their arms in separate incidents. This all happened in the first fortnight as...

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Families embrace booming Busselton

Unlike most working dads, Kelly Smith can often be found volunteering in the primary school classrooms of his two children on his days off. “The teacher will say: ‘You can look after the arts and craft table over there today’,’’ Kelly says. “They’ll be doing things with noodles and string....

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Cadetship sparks a passion for business

When Noor Aljabury stepped into the Perth offices of Programmed, a door opened to a world of opportunities she had never before imagined. Gaining invaluable hands-on experience during a paid internship at the leading management services company helped Noor realise her passion for business. It also ignited her ambition to...

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Determination, grit and united family ties

It’s the essence of a migrant dream: the type of multicultural success story that contributes to the diverse fabric of Australia. When Gaetano Ripepi left Italy for Australia in 1959, surely, he couldn’t have imagined the family-owned and run business standing in his footsteps today. Through hard work, sweat, grit...

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