Referendum update and how tech is changing the business landscape

This week the Voice referendum passed the Senate, an Aussie biotech company scales up, ABC makes plans to go digital, and how TikTok is supporting businesses.

Australians to vote in their first referendum since 1999

On Monday, we found out Australians will be officially voting in their first referendum in more than two decades. The Senate has passed significant legislation to hold a vote on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament later this year.  

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will be required to announce a referendum date, no sooner than two months and no later than six. It will be the first referendum since 1999 when Australians rejected the establishment of a republic.  

The Senate chamber erupted in applause as President Sue Lines announced the result: 52 votes in support and 19 votes against.  

Australian biotech scaling up needle-free vaccine manufacturing 

Good news for needle-phobics! Brisbane biotech company, Vaxxas, has opened the doors of its new headquarters in Hamilton that will scale up manufacturing of its needle-free vaccine patch platform.  

The patch is covered in thousands of tiny vaccine-coated microprojections that deliver the vaccine to immune cells naturally present just below the skin’s surface.  

The technology also has the potential to eliminate or significantly reduce the need for refrigeration, in addition to providing the ability to self-administer vaccines.  

Vaxxas chief executive officer, David Hoey, described the opening as a significant milestone for the company and that it will “firmly position Australia at the forefront of vaccine technology innovation”.  

ABC announces plan to move to digital  

With audience trends moving away from radio and television to more digital products and services, ABC managing director David Anderson has cited their accelerated move to digital as the key tenet of its recent five-year plan. Anderson said the central purpose of the shift in the broadcaster’s operations is for the ABC to remain relevant and, therefore, must adapt to the desires of its audience. 

It’s not just younger viewers that are making the switch to the ABC’s digital offerings. The plan estimates that among 65-75-year olds, 65 per cent regularly watch TV on-demand and is forecast to grow 88 per cent in three years.  

As part of the shift, the plan demonstrates a reduced “investment in AM band transmission”, while boosting investment in digital services, such as ABC Listen, ABC iview and ABC News. However, Anderson stressed that it did not mean the end of local AM radio, only that it would play a smaller role.  

TikTok helping Aussie businesses thrive

As interest rates rise and consumer spending slows, several businesses have turned to TikTok to go viral with the platform recently amassing 8.5 million Australians and 350,000 businesses.  

Australians are some of the largest consumers of TikTok, favouring it over Instagram and Facebook for creating content that is far less polished. In fact, 41 per cent of people that see an ad from a brand on TikTok trust it more than before.

Chebbo’s Burgers founder, Ali Chebbani, is a popular food TikToker who began making videos in lockdown from his home kitchen. Today he has more than a one million followers, a food truck permanently stationed at Roselands and will soon be opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Marrickville. 


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