Mark Pownall

Mark Pownall has around three decades of media experience. Prior to becoming CEO of Business News he ran the content operations of the business and was integral to the implementation of all the company’s digital products –twice daily email newsletters, weekly podcasts, deals database and BNiQ search engine. Mark has a Commerce degree from UWA and a post-graduate qualification in English from Curtin University. 

The green push

LAST year WA’s politicians started to grasp the importance of the environment among voters.The forest debate became very public and it wasn’t just people who preferred communal living who were getting agitated by logging in the South West.

Going underground

A HEARTY welcome to the concept of an underground railway in Perth from its friends here at Business News.

The changing face of privacy

THE issue of privacy has long confronted the media and the high profile people it has targeted.

Major move as coop corporatises

MEMBERS of the Fremantle Fishermen’s Cooperative Society have voted for sweeping changes to the 53-year-old lobster processor, agreeing to a proposal to corporatise the business and rename it.

Name change to mark new era for Fisherman’s Coop

THE Fremantle Fishermen’s Cooperative is considering changing its 53-year old name as part of sweeping reforms being put to the vote tomorrow.

Beilby restructure puts focus on training and development

WA-BASED recruitment firm Beilby has dismantled its intricate corporate structure, consolidating its various holdings into one company to position itself for expansion.

Tuart widens legal action

THE stoush between Tuart Resources and shareholders Dean Scook and Carol Hardie has escalated, with the mining-turned-wine company suing the pair for $14.6 million.

Too much money

IT’S not often you hear about an industry with too much money to spend.With almost $5 billion burning a hole in Australia’s venture capitalists pockets, it is surprising to discover the structural issues that have led to such a situation.

Alternative to angels

NEW Perth-based seed capital fund Add Venture Capital claims to be on its own in the Australian market as a fund that truly devotes itself to investing in start-ups offering amounts as low as $50,000.

Search on at WA Newspapers

WEST Australian Newspapers Holdings has started its formal search for a new chief executive.

Stelvin makes comeback

AFTER an experimentation period 20 years ago, the screw top wine bottle is back in WA.

Workin’ for the man

IT was an interesting experiment to undertake – determining how many days of the year you work for the tax man.

Branching out

CONCERNS about WA becoming a branch economy have been around for a long time, but the issue has gained more currency with the drama of Shell’s bid for Woodside.

Co-op seeks nod to a new structure

THE Fremantle Fishermen’s Coopera-tive Society has moved a step closer to a corporate restructure, airing a formal proposal to members to become an unlisted public company.

Drinkers fail to log on to Internet booze wholesalers

TWO WA attempts to use the Internet to revolutionise the WA liquor industry have fallen foul of poor investor sentiment.

Vineyard group has big plans for the West

A TAX-EFFECTIVE vineyard developer with close links to Australian wine giant Orlando Wyndham is planning to expand its Margaret River holdings as part of $10 million fund raising effort.

Silence on the station

THE new management of two Kimberley cattle stations has refused to identify the investors who have bought the remote properties which are littered with priceless Aboriginal art.

Tuart indemnity moves

TUART Resources has moved to enforce an agreement with WA businessman Dean Scooks, his business partner Carol Hardie and their associates indemnifying the company against net liabilities of almost $5 million stemming from the takeover

Common ground

IT was billed as a showdown but there ended up being a surprising amount of common ground between those chosen to debate Tax Effective Investments: Are they Worth the Risk?

Finance licensing revolution

AUSTRALIA’S providers of financial advice are set to see a quiet revolution in the way they are licensed, with a new regime likely to be in place by October governing the way they do business.

Tax schemes’ effectiveness put under the microscope

THE tax-effective investment world will be closely watching a major test case in the Federal Court which started this week between the Australian Taxation Office and promoter Budplan.

Biotech companies cut back GM trials

GENETICALLY modified crop research has been scaled back in WA to a fraction of the area trialled during the 2000 season.

Moral call

THE One.Tel debacle has led to unprecedented calls to end corporate greed, even from politicians who themselves are being examined for their own indulgent superannuation system.

Kimberley lures big city cast

BEEF prices might be up but almost no-one is speculating that moves by Warren Anderson’s Tipperary Developments on two Kimberley pastoral stations have anything to do with cattle.

Tax schemes under microscope

THE Australian Taxation Office has referred up to a dozen tax-effective investment scheme promoters to other authorities and regulators, including the National Crime Authority.

ITC boosts forestry investment program

AGRO-FORESTRY group ITC’s capital raising of between $13 million and $15 million is more than a cosmetic effort to improve its appeal to foreign interests.

Ongoing saga

AS the convention saga continues, Business News offers its support to the tourism industry, which must start to hurt when so much uncertainty exists.

Failure to provide a clear signal

PETER Costello’s sixth Federal Budget might have delivered little that business wasn’t already expecting, but the corporate world should not be too disappointed.

Centre not make or break

THE fortunes of WA construction giant Multiplex are not tied to the $330 million Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre project.

Stimulus lacking from Costello’s 6th Budget

BUSINESS people praying for some economic stimulation from the Federal Govern-ment’s Budget will be disappointed.

Little to enthuse about for tax industry professionals

TAX practitioners offered caustic responses to the Budget announcements claiming to have found little more than one substantial tax change – the decision to bring forward by a year the full input tax credits for the purchase of motor


Mark Pownall's Picks

Recent reading

For the Aussie history buffs. Like a lot of things if you think polarised society, royals behaving badly or domestic terrorism are new things ... think again. Steve Harris is an accomplished journalist and media entrepreneur, so this a little different although his home town of Melbourne features prominently.

The Contiki story. It is a racy read with plenty of business tips from a backpacker who took his business global ... and pretty much lost the lot. The business journey is outlined in extraordinary detail. A must read for anyone who has travelled on the cheap to Europe.

Great management text if you are looking for someone to make sense of all the models and theories that sometimes attain cult status. Co-author is Perth-based Paul Culmsee.

Simon Sebag Montefiore's Jerusalem, a great historic introduction to many of the Middle East's current issues. In fact, when you see what goes on there today, a lot of it is explained by this book

Another fascinating read was Peter Rees' book Bearing Witness about Australia's great WW1 war correspondent Charles Bean. I note there's a competing biography by Ross Coulthart which I haven't read yet.

Also worth reading was one I dragged out of my father's library. William L Shirer was a foreign correspondent based in Berlin in 1930s and, due to America's late entry into WW2, was there during the early part of that conflict. His book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is half way between and academic work and the modern histories we are used to which are more entertaining. His book is awesome in its documentation and given a human element by the number of eye witness accounts he provides.

I really enjoyed The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin which was not only about the US presidency at the start of the 20th century, but the unique role investigative journalism played in reform. It reviews the incredible reporting backed by gutsy publishers who serialised stories on concerning issues with both economic and social implications. These journalists also had unprecedented access to the presidency, especially the progressive Franklin Roosevelt. As the circulation-boosting power of this style of journalism rose, however, some went too far, making up stories and spitefully attacking political leaders - leading to the expression muckrakers. The tabloids of today have historical precedent!

Sir Bob's visit

Some of the VIPs who really did have lunch with Sir Bob.

Recent reading

Just got through this great book by Bob de la Motte, well known in Perth finance circles. Its about his life, growing up in South Africa and competing in the 90km Comrades Marathon.

Another book worth mentioning is Njinga by a good friend of mine Kate Leeming - she's also just released a film on her trans-African cycling trip and is preparing to turn it into a TV documenary series. Her next project is Antarctica.

Find it here:

Executive remuneration

Worth checking out our CEO/executive/director remuneration list here. There are thousands of WA names on it ... 59 pages of salaries if you are up for it.


Meanwhile, I am awaiting a copy of this (not a Christmas hint - review copy coming I am told) which I expect will help decipher much about the mysterious world of bitcoin. This has been co-authored by a friend of mine and former colleague Michael Casey who has been writing regular columns on bitcoin for the past year or more. I have passed on a few tidbits to him about activity in Australia, but I have no idea if that was useful.

My all-time favourite business and political books are here on my Facebook page.


Visionary medico wins 40under40

This year’s First Amongst Equals winner is a passionate medical specialist but he’s also a visionary entrepreneur who has a lot in common with successful business leaders.

Vale Geoff Rasmussen

Western Australian corporate leader Geoff Rasmussen passed away on Friday night after a long battle with cancer.

Builton fails, administrator appointed

One of state’s biggest residential construction firms, Builton Group, has succumbed to the financial stresses engulfing the sector, appointing an external administrator earlier today after reports of the company’s financial troubles emerged last week.

Builton failure a costly housing hit

The collapse of yet another Western Australian residential builder appears set to further upset the delicate state of the sector, with financiers, insurers, 350 trade creditors and as many as 130 home owners facing losses.

most commented

Shark cull outcry overreaction

The current shark cull is a politically challenging issue, but one where Colin Barnett is right to dig in because he has time and momentum on his side.

Daylight savers may have to wait awhile

Daylight saving may be the victim of Western Australia's election - further bemusing those who watch us from a distance.

Time to stop slaughter in our backyard

While the public spotlight on the offshore ill treatment of animals bred for slaughter is commendable, why does the RSPCA shirk such action when it comes to our own backyards, literally?

Fitness freaks need more Jacob’s ladders

I note the fuss made around the recent closure of Jacob’s Ladder, a stairway to Kings Park which, due to its popularity as an exercise venue, has earned the ire of local residents.