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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.      

India may change iron ore fortunes

A depreciating currency and encouraging demand over the medium term spells good news for the state’s mining juniors, if they can ride out short-term fluctuations.

Business borrowing back at pre-GFC peak

Western Australian businesses borrowed more last year than at any time since the GFC, with commercial finance up 14.9 per cent to $44.8 billion on the previous year’s figure, according to recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Spud king takes a stand

The regulation of potato production in WA has the business community bemused at how such an anachronism can survive.

Warning on visa changes

Planned federal government reforms to the ‘significant investor visa’ program risk making the scheme unpalatable to potential migrants, according to 888 Fund managing director John Garland.

Nomad rebuilds with $10m acquisition

Shares in Nomad Building Solutions were up 26 per cent today, after the company announced it would acquire privately-owned Bloomer Constructions Qld for up to $10.4 million, which offset news of an expected loss in its McGrath Homes business.

State won’t pay for tier 3 rail: Nalder

The state government has stuck to its position that maintenance of leased railway infrastructure is the responsibility of the private sector, in its response to the 2014 parliamentary committee report into the management of the state’s freight rail network.

Atlas Pearls in restructure

Shares in Western Australian aquaculture player Atlas Pearls and Perfumes fell dramatically today as the company announced a restructure, including the resignation of executive chairman Stephen Birkbeck.

Youth unemployment helps case for IR reform

Western Australia has one of the highest engagement rates of people aged 15-19 in employment or study, according to the Productivity Commission’s report on government services.

Strong December lifts retail spend

WA outperformed most states in December’s retail spending results, and with an interest rate cut and falling petrol prices, there are hopes of a retail revival.

State, feds focus on childcare

Western Australia has shifted its focus to early childhood education in what might be the start of a national trend, with the federal government dumping its paid parental leave scheme in favour of childcare policy reform.

Commodities Group buys land for $1.5bn prawn farm project

Perth-based company Commodities Group has signed an access and option agreement for a 180,000-hectare cattle station, to continue its pursuit of an industrial scale prawn farming operation.

Orinoco secures Brazil project funding

West Perth gold explorer Orinoco Gold is aiming to become a gold producer in 2015, after announcing a $14 million package to commence production at its Cascavel project.

Year of two halves for investment players

Western Australia’s listed money managers had a strong 12 months to June 2014, but face a challenge to repeat that performance in 2015.

FIRB powers increased for farm sales

The federal government has announced it will increase scrutiny on incoming foreign investment in agricultural land, lowering the threshold at which purchases are reviewed by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

China seeks out foreign fields for excess capacity

China is looking to export railways and power plants to improve its external position, with the added benefit of stoking steel demand.

Aquaculture tide rising in WA

Western Australian businesses are being drawn to the long-term growth opportunities offered by the aquaculture sector as increasing demand from Asia drives investment.

Coventry in nuts and bolts restructure

Industrial products distributor Coventry Group will embark on a restructure, including warehouse closures and around 100 job losses, after it forecast an increased loss for the first half of the financial year.

Golden Rim in Balogo sale

West Perth-based Golden Rim Resources will sell its Balogo gold project to Turkish company MNG Group for up to $12.8 million, with the full payment dependent on the mine going into commercial production.

Local funds’ rich pickings

The number of super funds in WA may be in decline, but those that have stayed have grown substantially.

Golden dawn for local miners

Western Australian gold producers are enjoying a bright start to 2015 as the domestic price of the precious metal surges higher.

WA MPs move to spill PM

Two Western Australian Liberal members of parliament, Luke Simpkins and Don Randall, have announced they will move a motion to vacate the Liberal Party’s leadership, while Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he and deputy Julie Bishop would urge the party room to defeat the motion.

Vehicle sales continue to plummet

New car sales in Western Australia have had a poor start to the year, with the passenger and heavy commercial markets contracting sharply and indicating that consumers and local businesses alike are tightening their belts.

WA merchandise exports at $125bn

Western Australia has posted a slight increase in merchandise exports in 2014, with a dip in sales to China offset by growth in exports to other Asian trading partners.

Season’s harvest a record high

As the summer’s harvest draws to a close, CBH Group has announced that this year’s crop production was the fourth highest on record.

Industry groups want IR reform

Industry groups are at the vanguard of a renewed push for workplace reform following Productivity Commission issues papers released as part of a broad review of the labour market.

Belt tightening squeezes finance, commerce

The Department of Finance and the Department of Commerce are among those cutting wage costs hardest as the state government reacts to reduced revenue, according to the latest BNiQ research.

Boating invention makes waves

The former chief executive of ASX-listed company Advanced Braking Technology, Ken Johnsen, has taken the helm of Dunsborough firm Nauti-Craft, which has developed a suspension system for boats.

Bunbury move for Parks and Wildlife

A new location in Bunbury will be the home of the state government’s Department of Parks & Wildlife, with up to 300 employees to be housed at a Koombana Drive headquarters.

Iron ore uncertainty inevitable

The falling price of iron ore is putting substantial pressure on local miners, particularly small and mid-sized players, but the price of the bulk commodity is still well above levels achieved just more than a decade ago.

Invoice fraud sharpens GST reform case

Consumers and businesses are submitting fraudulent invoices to avoid tax and duties on purchases from overseas, contributing to calls from local retailers for reform to the tax-free threshold for imports.

IR reform crashes onto agenda

The Productivity Commission has flagged reform of the minimum wage, penalty rates and enterprise agreements in its workplace relations review issues paper, which was accidentally released early 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.

$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.