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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 mattmckenzie. I'd also like to declare that I'm a member of the Liberal Party.      

Hydrogen role for nanocrystals

A Curtin University team has developed an improved, cleaner, technique to turn the sun’s energy into hydrogen, amid increasing industry interest in the opportunities.

Ellis to lead battery charge

Stedman Ellis has been picked as interim chief executive for the proposed Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre to be headquartered in Western Australia, and will leave oil and gas lobbyists APPEA on Friday.

Building blocks for tech evolution

A deal between manufacturing business Best Bar and tech hopeful Buildsort serves to highlight recent activity in Perth’s blockchain space.

Bechtel for Pluto train 2

Woodside Petroleum has picked Texas-based Bechtel as the most likely contractor to build a new LNG train at its Pluto facility near Karratha, but has hit a hurdle in approvals for an associated fly-in fly-out camp.

Entrepreneurs to dispatch coding shortage

Effective coders and developers are in such high demand in Perth that one local entrepreneur has inverted the conventional hiring process.

Brokers’ best business in mining services

Tighter lending conditions likely after the banking royal commission will be a hurdle for business brokers who are seeing a slow improvement in their market.

Norwest delay at Xanadu

West Perth-based oil hopeful Norwest Energy has said a delay in regulatory approvals has pushed back the targeted start of a seismic survey at its Xanadu prospect in the Perth Basin until at least March 2019.

Twigger goes for gold with $350m blockchain bid

PCF Capital founder Liam Twigger has revealed plans to raise up to $350 million for a cryptocurrency token that will back a new investment fund for gold mining juniors, in what would be the most significant Australian blockchain-related deal to date.

Retail reward for Quick Flick

A retail deal with Priceline Pharmacy is the latest win for local makeup business The Quick Flick, which was launched last year by Perth university student turned entrepreneur Iris Smit.

Rooftop bar growth a blue-sky opportunity

Growing investment in rooftop bars across Perth reflects a need to offer a point of difference in what has been a tough market, publicans say.

Mint chair warns of debt growth bubble

Gold Corporation chairman Don Mackay-Coghill has launched a broadside against the loose monetary policy of central banks in the past decade, warning it has inflated a big bubble.

Mark my words podcast

PODCAST: Mark Beyer and Matt Mckenzie discuss the possible revival of the Oakajee port project, WA’s strong jobs market, four vanadium projects, gold miner Eastern Goldfields saved from the brink, University rankings, the outlook for residential housing, and how apartment builders are outperforming house builders.

Budget boost as economy grows, feds give cash

Grants from the federal government and delayed dividend payments from state-owned enterprises have helped the state government report an operating deficit 73 per cent below forecast in the 2018 financial year, while the non-trade economy has grown after a sustained period of shrinking.

Executives perform for $38.7m share

Twenty local executives acquired $38 million of shares at no cost over the past 3 months, research by Business News has found.

Private builds for foreign students

SPECIAL REPORT: Accommodation groups are betting on international students returning to Perth.

Government sells WA to the world

SPECIAL REPORT: The state government is spearheading programs to build interest in WA as a preferred leisure destination within Australia and overseas.

Strong profit for Insurance Commission of WA

The Insurance Commission of Western Australia has reported a 43 per cent rise in profit in the 2018 financial year, to $277.7 million, on the back of higher investment income, improving premium revenue, and lower claims.

ERA orders lower Western Power costs

An overnight decision by the Economic Regulation Authority will put downward pressure on power prices, with network operator Western Power ordered to further tighten its belt in the next four years.

Softer notes on power competition

The state government appears to be continuing to back away from plans to introduce increased competition in electricity retailing, with Economics and Industry Committee chair Jessica Shaw saying she’d like to see more evidence it would reduce prices.

Falling revenue pressure for Synergy

Electricity retailer Synergy hit an after-tax profit of $24.3 million in the year to June, an improvement of $36 million, aided by about $140 million of state government subsidies, while increased uptake of household solar continues to put pressure on revenue.

Trade war risks collateral damage

Market fears for the outcome of the escalating tariff war between the world’s two biggest economies have heightened during the past week, with history showing what could be a significant impact on consumers, and employment.

Hibernian Place tops UDIA awards

BGC Development’s Westin Hotel and Hibernian Place development was picked as the top project in Western Australia in this year’s Urban Development Institute Australia WA awards.

Johnston to decide Kidman tenement fate

Shares in lithium hopeful Kidman Resources dropped 15 per cent to be $1.08 each after the company acknowledged a Warden’s Court ruling last week which recommended Kidman not be exempt from past minimum expenditure obligations on tenements at its Mt Holland project.

Beyer to lead Regis

Former Mt Gibson Iron boss Jim Beyer will take the reins as managing director of Regis Resources next month, while director James Mactier will take over as chair, after executive chairman Mark Clark announced his resignation.

Chevron to browse Clio, Acme options for backfill

Chevron’s Clio and Acme gas fields could provide backfill supply for an existing LNG plant, most likely North West Shelf Venture’s Karratha facility, under a plan to be unveiled by the company’s Australian managing director Nigel Hearne this afternoon.

Murdoch, WACA, hope to hit science sixes

Helping the state’s elite batsman become better run scorers is one planned outcome from a deal between Murdoch University and the Western Australian Cricket Association announced today.

Bajaj games-out growing his dominion

Saran Bajaj is combining his love of arcade games with staple bar offerings of cocktails and pizza at his new venue, Palace Arcade.

Kerr to lead Mt Gibson

Mount Gibson Iron will have a leadership change at the end of the month, which chief financial officer Peter Kerr to succeed Jim Beyer as chief executive as the latter pursues other opportunities.

Hancock raises Atlas offer to $413m

Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting has conditionally upped its takeover offer for Atlas Iron in a bid to win over Fortescue Metals Group, which holds a blocking stake.

Texas miner continues local nickel pursuit

Panoramic Resources has agreed to sell the Lanfranchi nickel project for $15 million to Texas-based Black Mountain Metals, showing the American business is still on the hunt for nickel opportunities in Western Australia.

Decmil wins $150m QGC contract

Osborne Park-based Decmil Group has won a $150 million contract extension to provide upstream services in the Queensland coal seam gas space.

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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.

$130bn of major projects in WA

Nearly 140 major projects are either under way or planned for WA, new research by Business News has found. Click through to access the new list on the BNiQ Search Engine.

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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.