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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.      

Deloitte calls economic turnaround

Western Australia’s economy is one year away from a return to normality, according to consultancy firm Deloitte Access Economics, with consumer confidence, exports and dwelling approvals data all pointing towards an upswing.

EPA approval for 80mt South Flank project

The environmental watchdog has given the green light for BHP Billiton’s planned 80 million tonnes per annum South Flank iron ore development, with first ore targeted in 2021.

Value add flow on from unconventional gas

A big increase in manufacturing capacity could result from the production of tight and shale gas in Western Australia similar to that which occurred in the US state of Pennsylvania, according to Dennis Davin, secretary of that state’s department of economic development.

Wyatt points to ongoing public sector shake-up

A further reshuffling of state government departments appears likely after Treasurer Ben Wyatt released the government's service priority review today.

Patel gets (Bolly) Active to spread fitness

Maitri Patel is hoping her Bollywood-inspired fitness regime will match the success of Zumba.

Govt backs ag accelerator to harvest big ideas

A new accelerator program for startups in the agribusiness sector will get under way next year after securing funding from the state government’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Six directors sell $75m of shares

Mineral Resources founder Chris Ellison has raised $36.9 million from the sale of some of his shares in the mining services group, adding to a string of big share sales by WA company directors who have cashed in on strong market rallies.

Tech next step for Jones post-Navitas

SPECIAL REPORT: Navitas boss Rod Jones talked to Business News about the next chapter for the $1.8 billion education provider he founded, and his hopes for the technology ventures he’s backing.

Healthy dividend in building wealth

SPECIAL REPORT: The five WA people with the largest holdings in listed companies have earned around $1.5 billion in dividends in the past five years, with Andrew Forrest and Kerry Stokes leading the way. Click through for our list of 50 directors and investors with holdings worth more than $11 billion between them.

Shareholder pain in Paladin survival plan

Shareholders in uranium miner Paladin Energy will end up owning just 2 per cent of the company under a recapitalisation plan that will include a major debt for equity swap and a $US115 million high yield secured note raising.

Zenith preferred in Tanami build

Belmont-based Zenith Energy has been selected as preferred contractor to build a 62-megawatt power station at Newmont’s Tanami gold mine, edging out incumbent provider Pacific Energy.

Austal, Civmec positive on $4bn naval build

Perth companies Austal and Civmec are looking forward to working on the construction of 10 navy vessels at Henderson but the amount and type of work they will undertake is unclear after the federal government selected Germany's Luerssen as its preferred designer and builder.

Bridgestone gets technology spinning at new centre

Japanese tyre maker Bridgestone opened a $10 million facility in Port Hedland last week that will apply remote sensing and big data to detect wear on the mining fleets and conveyors of its Pilbara customers.

Ellison firm as MinRes avoids spill

Directors of Mineral Resources have survived a motion for a spill meeting after a second strike against their remuneration report today, as managing director Chris Ellison stood firm on mining the Jackson5/Bungalbin iron ore deposit.

Further award nod for Franceschi

Western Australian avocado farmer Jennifer Franceschi has won a category in the national Telstra Businesswoman of the year awards, although News South Wales-based refugee advocate Violet Roumeliotis took out the top prize.

Passion for environment drives Wasteless franchise model

Wasteless Pantry is proving that a sustainable living focus can be commercially viable for a business, as the Mundaring retailer's founders seek to branch out into franchises in other suburbs across Perth.

$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.

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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.