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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.      

Steps forward for two lithium projects

A plan to redouble capacity at Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes mine was lodged with the federal government’s environmental regulator last week, while US-based Albemarle Corporation has updated its timeframe for a Kemerton refinery.

Austal out of patrol vessel build

The German company contracted to build Australia's new offshore patrol vessels has concluded negotiations with its build partners, but Henderson-based Austal will not be participating, with Civmec being the big local winner.

Tax shift may improve ledger

Western Australians paid federal taxes of $16.5 billion in the year to June 2017 that were spent outside the state, according to WA Treasury data, with the latest numbers suggesting WA would be the biggest winner from federal moves to cut company and income taxes.

Trade war unlikely, former US speaker says

A trade war driven by the Trump-administration’s protectionist policies is probably unlikely, former US House of Representatives speaker John Boehner told a Perth audience last night, words that may offer some comfort for those in WA’s export industries.

Curtin at coalface on Indian emissions

With carbon emissions in India expected to double in the years to 2030, research by a Curtin University team could have a dramatic environmental impact by helping improve the efficiency of the country’s coal-fired generators.

Spending restraint, jobs growth support budget

The state’s net debt will peak at a level $2 billion lower than previously forecast, at $40.9 billion, with Treasurer Ben Wyatt forecasting an operating surplus in the 2021 financial year.

Lounge offers business connections

The Small Business Lounge on Mount Hawthorn’s Oxford Street is just the first step for founder Brooke Arnott, who plans to take the advisory concept nation wide.

The Growth Box shuts after nine months

Startup hub The Growth Box has shut its doors in recent weeks, less than a year after opening, with project proponent the Malaga & Districts Business Association facing an uncertain future after 26 years in operation.

Battery hopefuls pick up $50m

Two Western Australian mining juniors focused on battery-related commodities have secured $50 million to advance their projects in Africa.

ACCC, milk producers at odds

Milk production in Western Australia has recovered to levels approaching those before the industry’s deregulation nearly two decades ago, a recent report has found, while the number of milk-producing farms in the state has fallen significantly.

Labor likely to phase out live sheep exports

Federal Labor has effectively committed to end live sheep exports with its agriculture spokesman, Joel Fitzgibbon, telling an Adelaide radio station the party does not believe there is a future for the sector.

ATO dissects business tax take

Less than 1 per cent of businesses paid half of Australia’s corporate tax take in the year to June 2016, according to ATO data, while the financial services and resources industries were the biggest contributors.

ERA tightening to reduce power price pressure

State-owned Western Power will need to trim operating costs by about $100 million more than planned over the next five years under the Economic Regulation Authority’s latest draft access arrangements released last night.

MinRes to sell minority Wodgina lithium stake

Applecross-based Mineral Resources is looking to sell a 49 per cent stake in its Wodgina lithium project, as work to investigate the feasibility of a lithium hydroxide or carbonate processing plant at the site continues.

Big spenders mining wealth

More than $12 billion of mining projects are in the pipeline for WA and likely to proceed, with major iron ore developments the biggest contributor.

Battery boom has a way to run

Few projects are more meaningful for WA’s economic direction than the Greenbushes lithium mine expansion and the new lithium refinery in Kwinana.

Shift in sands drives project optimism

Eight mineral sands projects are either under construction or consideration as the sector finally enjoys some pricing relief.

Sports bar brings the world to WA

A Victorian sports bar franchise has opened its second pub in Western Australia, part of a planned $10 million expansion in Perth.

Solar/crypto project for Collie

Collie could soon be home to a 20 megawatt solar farm and cryptocurrency 'mining' operation, after the Southern Development Assessment Panel recommended approval for a project led by energy entrepreneur Ben Tan.

Mining for local talent

The WA School of Mines should include new disciplines and postgraduate degrees to insulate it from the cyclical resources economy, and help it become a global leader in its field, according to three former students who are now industry leaders.

Sunrise secures $7m solar win

A solar power company founded by former Western Power manager Neil Danby and olympic basketballer Andrew Vlahov has picked up its first contract, winning $7 million of work for Image Resources’ Boonanarring mineral sands project.

Mark my words podcast

PODCAST: In this Business News podcast Mark Pownall, Matt Mckenzie, and Katie McDonald discuss Gorgon stage two, corporate tax debate, defence contracts, employment data, fracking ban, tourism, and our building and construction feature.

Live export ban cost up to $150m

The cost to Western Australian farmers of a ban on live sheep exports could be more than 10 times previous estimates, as much as $150 million, according to a report released today.

LNG drives demand for mercury treatment

A Dutch company will soon begin work on a nearly $10 million large-scale mercury waste treatment facility in Kwinana, as increased LNG exports lead to higher volumes of the toxic metal.

Chaney says benefits of tax reform clear

Woodside Petroleum chairman Michael Chaney has said there’s a risk that major energy players may be dissuaded from investing into Western Australia if company tax reform is stalled, as the business closes in on a tolling deal for gas from the Browse field.

Waste, cost cuts key for better health outcomes

The costliest and most wasteful parts of the healthcare system are often the most frustrating for customers, according to Sustainable Healthcare Review chair Robyn Kruk, so they should be the top targets for future reform.

Cafes close in ATO battle

Perth venues The London Court Cafe and Black Tie Co have closed their doors in recent weeks, as the holding company controlling the two brands enters liquidation following a dispute with the Australian Taxation Office.

NT frack ban lift gives LNG option

A move by the Northern Territory government to allow fracking by next year will increase pressure on the McGowan government, after a series of scientific and political inquiries gave the drilling technique the tick of approval.

Gorgon build will mean workflow for contractors

Chevron’s decision to build stage two of the Gorgon LNG project, announced on the weekend, takes the total value of petroleum industry investment committed or under construction in Western Australia to around $55 billion, according to state government data.

Alinta unveils $45m Pilbara battery

A new utility-scale battery launched in the Pilbara by Alinta Energy today will be Australia’s second biggest, behind Elon Musk’s Tesla battery in South Australia.

'Monster' power reforms to boost growth: Wyatt

Treasurer Ben Wyatt's ambition for increased private participation in the electricity sector remains, despite a slow start, touting it as part of a microeconomic reform program designed to lift productivity.

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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.