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Matt Mckenzie

Matt Mckenzie joined Business News in June 2014 and reports on projects, energy, agribusiness, small business, employment relations, manufacturing and economics. He completed bachelor of arts and bachelor of economics degrees at the University of Western Australia, majoring in political science and international relations, economics, and money and banking. He was formerly president of the UWA Student Guild, where he introduced the first private catering outlets on campus, and has worked at a leading financial services company.

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If you need to get in touch with me anonymously or through an encrypted service, you can contact me on Wickr at mattmck0. I'd also like to declare that I'm a member of the Liberal Party.      

$2.6m Smart Cities money for blockchain trial

Curtin University, Murdoch University, Power Ledger and Landcorp are behind an $8 million project that will use blockchain technology to manage water and energy systems in the City of Fremantle.

Merredin refinances $44m, considers solar move

A local power generator majority owned by Rod Jones’s Hoperidge Capital has refinanced its bank debt through a $44 million bond issue which the company believes will give it more flexibility, including the potential to pursue a 100-megawatt solar farm.

WA jobless slightly up

Western Australia’s unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points in October to be 5.8 per cent in trend terms, while the national number remained unchanged at 5.5 per cent.

Morning headlines

US energy investors lining up $11b tilt for Santos, BHP shale sale moves and more.

Western Power aims for $1bn savings

Western Power plans to reduce spending by nearly $1 billion in the next five years compared to the five years just gone, according to a proposal by the state-owned network operator to the state’s economic regulator.

Horizon in $7.1m Carnarvon distributed grid plan

Horizon Power will roll out a $7.1 million distributed energy pilot project in Carnarvon, while the state government has unveiled a trial to incentivise demand management by users during peak periods in Broome.

Wyatt still open to bank tax despite SA move

Treasurer Ben Wyatt has kept open the possibility of a bank tax in Western Australia, after South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill today quietly dropped his state’s planned tax on the five biggest financial institutions.

SKA precursor telescope doubled in size

A $2.2 million expansion of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope has been completed, doubling the number of antenna stations at the facility, as design work on the planned Square Kilometre Array continues.

Optimism drives graphite raisings surge

SPECIAL REPORT: Activity in Western Australia’s graphite sector is continuing apace, with local hopefuls seeking to raise more than $70 million this quarter, an amount similar to that raised for the entire financial year just past.

Capital inflow turns talk positive

SPECIAL REPORT: Financing opportunities have improved markedly from just two years ago for the state’s junior miners, amid growing demand for drill rigs and skilled workers.

Altura set to double production

Altura Mining has taken the next step to double capacity at its Pilgangoora project, approving a definitive feasibility study for expansion to 440,000 tonnes per annum of lithium concentrate, while confirming shipments from stage one of the mine are due in the second quarter of 2018.

$150,000 fines for Pastacup breach

The competition watchdog has had its first major win enforcing a new franchising code of conduct, with the Federal Court today fining Pastacup franchisor Morild and co-founder Stuart Bernstein $150,000 for a failure to disclose he had been a director of two insolvent entities.

MinRes swoops on Empire assets

Mineral Resources has acquired Empire Oil & Gas’s Perth Basin assets, including the Red Gully processing plant, just more than a month after the energy junior entered administration.

Goldfields Money rejects increased Firstmac offer

The board of Kalgoorlie-based bank Goldfields Money has knocked back a fresh takeover bid from Brisbane financial business Firstmac Holdings, which valued the company at $1.27 per share.

Structural Monitoring in $10m manufacturing buy

Shares in technology business Structural Monitoring Systems were up 18 per cent today after the company announced a $10 million acquisition of Canadian company Aerodyne Electronics Manufacturing Corporation, and completion of a $13 million raising.

Franceschi prepares for ‘avolanche’

Jennifer Franceschi has invested millions preparing for a surge of new avocado production entering the market.

Harmony to streamline livestock data

A Cottesloe-based agribusiness is hoping to improve operational productivity by increasing its use of data across the life cycle of its livestock and in its supply chain management.

Hancock profit tops $1bn mark

Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting Group more than doubled profit to $1.1 billion in the year to June, the highest level since 2011, with the company paying or providing for $767 million in dividends to the family.

ECU shoots for defence capability

Edith Cowan University is hoping to bolster its presence in defence industry research, with the appointment of former air vice-marshal Andrew Dowse as director of defence research and engagement today.

Trustee, Beaufort Local in hands of administrators

St Georges Terrace venue The Trustee Bar & Bistro has fallen under the control of administrators, but an ownership change to keep the venue alive is a real possibility.

First Wheatstone gas shipped

One of Western Australia's largest resources projects has achieved a major milestone, with the first shipment of LNG from Chevron's Wheatstone project departing to Japan today.

GST could get worse: CCI

Mining magnate Andrew Forrest has made an emotional plea for gambling revenue to be factored into the GST distribution system, while Western Australians have been warned the state’s share of the revenue could potentially fall to zero if the economy were to return to boom times.

Savings the aim in medihotel push

SPECIAL REPORT: The state government has rejected criticism of the cost and projected savings of its flagship medihotel healthcare policy, after work began on the construction of the first facility earlier this month.

Mark my words podcast

In this Business News podcast Mark Pownall, Matt Mckenzie and Tori Wilson discuss house prices, Tianqi, the sale of Henderson-based Silver Yacht, the latest in the Perth lord mayor saga, recent women in business awards, and health care.

Turnbull confident in face of High Court loss

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his government would have the numbers to vote down a no-confidence motion in the House of Representatives, as the seat of New England heads to a by-election after a High Court ruling that Barnaby Joyce had been ineligible for election.

Green light for Kwinana lithium stage 2

Chinese company Tianqi Lithium has approved the second stage of its processing plant in Kwinana, a $300 million investment to double production capacity to 48,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per annum.

Port expansion an economic boost: ACIL

Exports through Port Hedland could reach 700 million tonnes per annum within a decade, contributing an extra $4.8 billion to Australia’s GDP, according to a report by ACIL Allen, as debate continues about the impact of iron ore dust on the nearby township.

Avocado grower named businesswoman of the year

Avocado grower and Fresh Produce Alliance co-founder Jennifer Franceschi has been named the Telstra Western Australian Businesswoman of the Year, joining an alumni that includes Gina Rinehart.

Portal highlights why small business matters

Subiaco-based Small Business Matters is hoping the 'buy local' message of its new online portal will resonate with consumers ahead of Small Business Day this Saturday.

Retailers becoming more positive

Western Australian retailers have a positive view of business conditions in the year ahead, according to a recent survey by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, with one third expecting an improved market in the 2018 financial year.

AI could yield $400bn dividend

Artificial intelligence has the potential to increase GDP growth by an additional 1.5 per cent per annum until 2035, according to research by consultancy Accenture.

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WA returns to growth as Australia avoids recession

GDP has bounced back from a poor showing in the September quarter with December quarter seasonally adjusted growth of 1.1 per cent, while Western Australia snapped a five quarter streak of shrinking state demand to grow 0.4 per cent.

Financial probe for student union

The University of Western Australia Student Guild has dismissed a staff member over financial irregularities after bringing in forensic accountants from BDO to undertake a special analysis of its 2013 accounts.

Warning to Uber moonlighters

Uber drivers using the service as a supplementary income should declare it to their primary employer, according to Minter Ellison partner Kathy Reid, after a driver who had worked during sick leave lost an unfair dismissal claim.

Property player tops 40u40

Blackburne managing director Paul Blackburne was last night named the 2016 Business News 40under40 First Amongst Equals, ahead of a talented and diverse field of candidates.

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McGowan to cancel Roe 8

The Roe 8 road project will be cancelled if the Labor Party wins the upcoming state election, opposition leader Mark McGowan said today, even though the government has already signed a contract for construction, with $236 million of funding to be re-allocated to three alternative roads.

Nalder makes fresh freight link pitch

Transport Minister Dean Nalder has highlighted the social benefits of Roe 8 and touted the minimal environmental impact of the project at a lunch today, adding that the link would need to be built regardless of any move to an outer harbour.

Green light for Kwinana lithium plant

A $400 million lithium processing plant to be built in Kwinana has got the green light, with West Perth company MSP Engineering to act as head contractor.

Feds back unconventional drilling

Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg said the federal government would be pushing states to remove moratoriums on unconventional gas extraction, including fracking, he told the LNG 18 conference today.