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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.      

Juniors in $26m of deals

Six local resources companies have announced capital raisings of around $26 million for projects including in lithium and rare earths, with one of the businesses, Okapi Resources, planning to join the ASX bourse.

Shares jump on Xanadu result

Shares in three local energy companies have surged today after hitting hydrocarbons while drilling the Xanadu-1 offshore prospect in the Perth Basin, with Triangle Energy leading the charge, up nearly 60 per cent.

Juniors raise $13m

Four local mining hopefuls have raised $13.2 million between them for new projects, with Egan Street Resources and Ardea Resources in the two biggest deals.

Horizon beats subsidy cut target

State-owned regional power provider Horizon Power has recorded a $35.4 million net profit for the year to June, while hitting its targeted reduction of government subsidies more than a year ahead of time.

Synergy loss as gas, power sales fall

State-owned power generator and retailer Synergy has recorded a loss of $12.6 million for the 2017 financial year on the back of lower sales revenue and a large impairment due to the early closure of its generation capacity.

WA unemployment up to 5.9%

Unemployment jumped 0.5 percentage points in August to a seasonally adjusted 5.9 per cent in Western Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Empire production assets under receivership

Updated: Empire Oil & Gas has appointed voluntary administrators to its wholly-owned Empire Oil subsidiary, which controls its core Red Gully assets.

Nahan calls for parliamentary budget office

Opposition leader Mike Nahan has called for a parliamentary budget office to be established as part of his budget reply speech today, while lashing out at Labor for not funding the Ellenbrook rail line.

Insect protein just not cricket(s), yet

The production of crickets for human and animal consumption could be a fresh frontier for Western Australia’s agribusiness industry, if a Pinjarra-based small business fulfils its potential.

Payroll hike to cost 1,300 jobs: CCI

About 1,300 jobs will be lost because of the state government’s proposed increases to payroll tax, according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA.

Sheffield in Indian zircon deal

West Perth based Sheffield Resources has moved a step forward on its Thunderbird mineral sands project, securing an offtake deal with Indian business Ruby Ceramics to supply 6,000 tonnes of zircon annually for at least three years.

Lockwood to chair Westport outer harbour taskforce

The state government has appointed Infrastructure Australia board member Nicole Lockwood to chair a new taskforce to plan a Kwinana outer harbour development, as Transport Minister Rita Saffioti indicated she would stare down internal party dissent about the project.

Fremantle Octopus to extend reach

Fremantle Octopus hopes a new trap and some extra cash will propel its business into a much broader marketplace.

Progress on WA lithium projects

Kidman Resources has finalised a $110 million joint venture agreement with Chilean company SQM for the Mt Holland lithium project, while Altura Mining has begun extracting ore at its Pilgangoora lithium project.

Contract Power to build, run, Pilgangoora power

Contract Power Group has won a contract to build, own and operate a power station at Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora lithium project for at least seven years, while former Fortescue Metals Group delivery manager Dale Henderson has taken over as Pilbara’s project director.

Diatreme moves forward with Cyclone zircon

Shares in Brisbane-based Diatreme Resources were up 20 per cent today as the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese company ENFI Engineering Corporation to undertake a bankable feasibility study at the Cyclone mineral sands project.

Maca in $60m placement

Mining and civil contractor Maca has raised $60 million to expand its mining fleet, driven by what the company described as an exceptional pipeline of available work.

Willmott to resign from CCI

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA will be hunting for a new chief executive after Deidre Willmott signalled she would move on from the role early next year to pursue non executive director opportunities.

WA $90bn losers from federation

Western Australians paid nearly $90 billion more in taxes to the federal government than they received in spending in the four years to June 2016, according to estimates revealed by the Department of Treasury in yesterday’s budget.

Business groups say tax hikes will lock in pain

Gold miners have warned of devastating consequences from a higher royalty rate, including potential mine closures, while business groups have also taken aim at proposed payroll tax hikes for larger employers, after both were targeted in a $1 billion revenue grab by the state government in today’s budget.

WA economy continues to shrink ahead of state budget

Western Australia’s economy shrunk by 0.3 per cent in the June quarter, excluding international trade, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while GDP grew 0.8 per cent nationally.

Hatton to chair fracking inquiry

The state government has strengthened its ban on fracking in Perth and the South West, while moving to appoint Environmental Protection Authority chairman Tom Hatton to run a scientific inquiry into the drilling technique.

Creative approach to community change

SPECIAL REPORT: On the runway and in the shopfront, fashion has become an instrument for changemakers who want to make a difference in the community.

Offshore, onshore success by design

SPECIAL REPORT: Whether they’re manufacturing locally or abroad, WA fashion designers and garment makers are still winning contracts and stockists here and overseas.

Well problems lead to Empire suspension

Perth Basin energy player Empire Oil & Gas has placed its ASX-listed securities into suspension after it was unable to restart production at its Red Gully-1 well.

Citic warns of Sino suspension in Mineralogy dispute

Chinese company Citic has recorded a first-half loss at the Sino Iron magnetite mine in the Pilbara, while warning that the ongoing tussle with tenement holder, Clive Palmer’s Mineralogy, means production at the project could eventually be suspended.

MacTiernan backs solar exports to Indonesia

An ambitious multi-billion dollar project to export solar power from the Pilbara into Indonesia would be technically viable, according to a pre-feasibility study released by the Pilbara Development Commission today.

Oil downturn continues to buffet MMA

MMA Offshore has posted a $378 million loss for the 2017 financial year on the back of a huge impairment and the halving of revenue from its oil and gas-focused vessel operations.

Profit down at Heytesbury Holdings

Profit at pastoral and winery business Heytesbury Holdings fell more than 57 per cent in the year to December 2016, to $11.7 million, on the back of lower revenue.

Economic diversification focus in McGowan trips

Education and tourism will be the focus for Mark McGowan’s first overseas mission, with an October trip to China, followed by a November trip to Japan, announced today.

Move, cautiously, to electricity competition: Wood

Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood has said the state government should proceed, but move cautiously, toward full retail contestability in the local electricity market, speaking at the Energy in WA conference today.

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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.