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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.      

Nalder pans power pricing as disconnections grow

The number of electricity users disconnected for failing to pay bills increased around 60 per cent in Western Australia in the 2017 financial year, while more than 10,000 electricity users were on a hardship program, according to a report released by the Economic Regulatory Authority today.

New energy connections lower

The number of new gas and power connections in Western Australia fell in the year to June, an outcome of the slowing property development market, according to the Economic Regulation Authority.

Speqs software looks the goods

An optometrist and a former mining equipment company executive are spearheading a Perth startup’s plans to disrupt the eyewear industry by allowing customers to try on, and buy, glasses virtually.

Strategic Ellison seizes opportunities

SPECIAL REPORT: Chris Ellison’s astute commercial achievements placed him at the top of our short list of nine people contending to be person of the year.

Horticulture thrives on new markets, investment

A Manjimup farm business’s $2 million-plus processing facility has become the latest in a string of horticultural investments around the state.

Barnett to leave parliament next month

Former Premier Colin Barnett has called time on a nearly three decade parliamentary career, which included leading the Liberal Party to a surprise victory in 2008, and heading a government which increased social support spending and invested substantially in infrastructure.

WA domgas supply likely secure for decade

Western Australia’s domestic gas market is likely to have sufficient supply for the next decade if Chevron's Gorgon domgas stage two proceeds on time and other replacement fields come online as anticipated, according to the latest Australian Energy Market Operator report.

Rodwell to lead CCI

Australia’s former Trade Commissioner to Mexico, Central America and the Carribean Chris Rodwell will take the reins of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA in February, as Deidre Willmott leaves the helm.

Competition challenge in grain exporting: ACCC

Industry stakeholders are concerned about the level of port market share held by grain handler CBH Group, while entry for new players like Bunge has been challenging, according to a new Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report.

APPEA welcomes fracking reports

Most chemicals used in hydraulic fracking are not harmful, while precautions can be taken to prevent problems from those substances which are, according to a CSIRO report released today.

Contractors boost employee numbers as economy turns

SPECIAL REPORT: Data from the annual BNiQ Search Engine biggest employers list suggests an economic recovery is under way as mining and civil contractors boost their workforce numbers.

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.

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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.