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Matt Mckenzie

Matt Mckenzie joined Business News in June 2014 and reports on resources, infrastructure, agribusiness, small business 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 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 mattmm. I'd also like to declare that I'm a member of the Liberal Party.      

Iron ore price rise helps Atlas

A higher iron ore price has helped Atlas Iron post operating cash flow of $58 million in the December quarter, as the company maintained that it would reach a net cash position by the middle of the year.

Sims hits back on union Western Power campaign

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has written to the local branches of two trade unions, saying they misrepresented his views on the float of Western Power in a recent advertisement campaign.

Next step for $5.6bn Balla Balla project

A final investment decision on the state's next major greenfields iron ore project could come as early as next year, after Balla Balla Infrastructure Group today signed a state agreement with the government for a new transhipment port and rail facility in the Pilbara.

WA behind in digital marketing: report

About a third of Western Australian small businesses don't invest in digital marketing, according to a recent report by consultancy Alyka, although around 51 per cent of the sector are planning to spend more in that sphere in 2017.

Higher production at Woodside

Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum achieved a 3 per cent lift in production in calendar 2016, although the company expects output to fall by up to 12 per cent in the year ahead.

Jobless rate improves in WA

The state's unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percentage points in December to 6.6 per cent as the number of women in the labour force eased slightly, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

WA LNG steady while national exports grow

National LNG exports were up 38 per cent in 2016, but Western Australian facilities did not contribute to the increase despite first gas being produced at Chevron's Gorgon project, according to the latest research from EnergyQuest.

New year spark for lithium

Local lithium players have hit the ground running in January, with Galaxy Resources shipping its first lithium since operations restarted at its Mt Cattlin mine, and others announcing more than $110 million of new deals.

Speed racers turn to crowdfunding in tax fight

A Perth team hoping to break a land speed world record has turned to crowdfunding to raise $50,000 to avoid a potential liquidation caused by a fight with the Australian Taxation Office, and is 20 per cent of the way to its target.

Ley to resign, Turnbull to reform expenses

Federal Liberal politician Sussan Ley will resign as minister for health, aged care and sport after coming under fire in recent weeks for expense issues, although she insists she followed the ministerial code of conduct.

Tax priorities among chief concerns for executives

The state's businesses leaders are optimistic about improved conditions in the year ahead, according to feedback from the annual Business News chief executive survey, with tax reform identified as a priority issue whichever party is in government after the March poll.

Insolvencies up in September

Rental, hiring and real estate services were among the industries that fared worst as external administrations jumped 14 per cent in Western Australia for the September quarter, as insolvency experts warn that an economic rebound has not yet clearly emerged.

Iluka cutting costs to pursue Cataby

Mineral sands producer Iluka Resources has scaled back a proposed accommodation camp at the planned Cataby project near Cervantes in a move to reduce capital costs as it works to complete a feasibility study.

CBH lifts surplus to $110m

Grain handler CBH Group has shaken off a soft performance in its downstream Interflour businesses to report a 10 per cent increase in its surplus to $110 million for the year to October, after 13.6 million tonnes were transported through its network.

BN30 stocks end year on high

An improved performance by some of the state's miners boosted the Business News index of listed Western Australian companies, the BN30, to finish almost 19 per cent higher over the year (2016).

Feds firm on Roe 8 funds

The federal government will be sticking to its guns on the Roe 8 project, Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher affirmed today, saying the $1.2 billion committed by the Commonwealth to the project would not be reallocated.

Westoz, Ozgrowth to pay $4.8m dividends

Two listed investment companies controlled by Euroz Securities will pay out nearly $5 million in half-year dividends, with Westoz Investment Company announcing a 3 cent per share payout for investors while Ozgrowth will distribute 0.25 cents per share.

London calling for Po Valley

Perth oil and gas hopeful Po Valley Energy is heading to London, with the company planning to list its Sillaro gas asset in northern Italy on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market in a bid to raise up to $3.7 million.

Trade numbers point north

A lift in Western Australia's merchandise exports to China of nearly $700 million from October to November helped Australia record its first trade surplus in three years, but more could be on the way this year.

Atlas pays off $54m of debt

Mid-tier iron ore miner Atlas Iron has repaid $54 million of debt to reduce its term loan to $118 million, amid expectations in will be in a net cash position by the middle of the 2017 calendar year.

Marindi raises $3.2m for lithium exploration

Lithium exploration at Forrestania, north of Ravensthorpe, will be a priority for Marindi Metals after the company completed a capital raising worth nearly $3.2 million.

BMD in $13m Australind bridge

BMD Constructions has won a $13.6 million contract from Main Roads for a new traffic bridge in Australind, creating a third crossing over the Collie River.

Brainchip in casino deployment

West Perth-based technology company Brainchip Holdings has announced it has deployed its card game monitoring technology at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, US.

Threat Protect eyes $6m acquisition

Security services provider Threat Protect Australia is considering a move to acquire assets from east coast player Apollo Security for around $6 million, after tying up an option for its two business units.

Toyota WA's most popular auto brand in soft market

A fall of 5.6 per cent in new vehicle sales for the past year in Western Australia, to 100,234, takes to nearly 22 per cent the reduction in annual sales since 2012.

Board appointments at Galaxy, Atrum

Peter Bacchus and John Turner have joined the board of Galaxy Resources, while Perth-based Craig Burton has been appointed to the board of NSW company Atrum Coal.

Alexium in US pillow contract

ASX-listed manufacturer Alexium International Group has signed an initial agreement to supply chemicals to a US homewares company for a new line of cool-touch pillows, in a move the company said could eventually generate revenues of $US10 million per annum.

Grant, Keystart moves drawing interest: Harvey

Acting Premier Liza Harvey has spruiked the government's recent move to relax the eligibility criteria for Keystart and increase the first homebuyers grant, saying it had received more than 1,100 enquiries.

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.

BC Iron secures Iron Valley approvals

Environmental approvals to allow mining below the watertable have been granted for BC Iron's Iron Valley mine site, in a move that will give the company potential to extend the life of the project.

$52m Warro impairment for Alcoa

A $52 million impairment has been taken by Alcoa World Alumina Corporation on its share of the Warro gas project in the Perth Basin, after the company determined exploration results by project operator Transerv Energy did not support the existing carrying value.

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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.

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.

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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.