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COMET R&D Tax Concession

Government funds help reduce building waste

Clean Business Australia

Recycling building waste is made easier with Sam Turnbull’s Flip Screen – now being exported to 14 countries.

Wagga Wagga-based company Flip Screen Australia is bringing green credentials to the building industry. Sam Turnbull, the company’s Managing Director, is focussed on ways to recycle, sort and then crush recyclable material at building sites and excavation sites. “I ran an excavation company in Sydney for 10 years, and I was trying to think of better ways to sort concrete, bricks and other recyclable materials,” Sam said. Faced with trying to sort lime from fertiliser on his Wagga Wagga farm, Sam came up with the idea behind the Flip Screen. Less than two years later – with help from the Commercialising Emerging Technologies (COMET) program – Sam brought two innovative waste screening devices to market. The company used its first COMET grant of $52,000 towards market research, business planning, developing an intellectual property strategy and

hiring an engineer to complete a prototype for the first two Flip Screens. “COMET really helped me turn my idea into a commercial product,” Sam said. “It allowed me to hire a business expert to develop a sophisticated business plan that we used extensively in our successful capital-raising activities. “I was also able to hire an intellectual property lawyer to assist with the patenting process as well as the licensing aspects to do with commercialisation.” The company also received $48,000 in top-up funding from COMET, to focus on a new range of Flip Screens, using skid steering, much like a bobcat. The company is also registered for the R&D Tax Concession. The Flip Screen is an earthmoving bucket that sifts material through its mesh screening chamber as it rotates, keeping the larger particles inside because of its spiralling action.

Flip Screen was one of Australia’s fastest start-up companies in 2009, according to the Business Review Weekly magazine.


The screened soil, sand or gravel can be re-used or sold, reducing the amount of waste material transported to landfills. Flip Screen is now exporting to 14 countries, and was named in Business Review Weekly magazine’s 2009 list of the 100 fastest start-up companies. Now, Sam has taken the whole process a step further. His new concept is a crusher bucket, which will be able to crush waste building products such as bricks and concrete on site. He received a $470,000 Climate Ready grant in 2009, and will spend 18 months on development work – such as investigating materials and building prototypes. “It will mean you’ll be able to crush your material on-site, say for gravel and drainage ditches,” Sam said.

“I looked around at what was available on the market, and everything else is slow and inefficient. “As an excavator operator, I can see what’s going on in the market, and the other products are only using half of the available horsepower. “Our system will use all of the available horsepower, and it will crush a load in just seconds.” Sam said the Flip Screen was a multi-tasker – and had been adopted by industries such as construction and demolition, civil engineering, pipelines, mining, roads and railways, waste transfer stations, steel recycling and landscaping.

Flip Screen was in Business Review Weekly magazine’s 2009 list of the 100 fastest start-up companies.

“All this would normally have just gone to landfill – and then you’d buy your gravel supplies from a landscape supplier. “Crushing your own supplies on site will cut out all the cartage time. “It means you’ll be saving on the truck’s fuel costs. The trucks won’t be driving to and from the tip and the landscape suppliers,” Sam said. “Crushing the materials yourself will take no time at all.” Sam said his customers had first identified the need for a crusher bucket.

Commercialising Emerging Technologies (COMET) COMET is a competitive grants program that helps early-stage growth companies, spin-off companies and individuals commercialise their innovations. COMET provides access to private sector business advisers and tailored services to help improve management skills and attract capital and partners. It offers grants of between $5000 and $120,000 to successful applicants.

R&D Tax Concession

The R&D Tax Concession allows companies to deduct 125% of their research and development expenditure when lodging their tax returns. Companies need to register their activities with AusIndustry each year to claim a concession.

Clean Business Australia The Australian Government has allocated $240 million over four years to establish Clean Business Australia, a partnership with Australian business and industry for tackling climate change. There are three elements to Clean Business Australia: Climate Ready; Re-tooling for Climate Change and the Green Building Fund.

About AusIndustry AusIndustry is the Australian Government’s principal business program delivery division in the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. AusIndustry delivers more than 30 products, worth about $2 billion a year, to more than 10,000 large and small businesses and 80,000 individuals. Visit www.ausindustry.gov.au, call 13 28 46 or email hotline@ausindustry.gov.au for more information.

September 2009

R&D Tax Credit  

The R&D Tax Credit which opens to applications in July 2011 will replace the R&D Tax Concession with a tax credit system. The Tax Credit inc...

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