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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.

Passing Comment

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.      

Modern spin on laundry load

Two Perth entrepreneurs are looking to clean up in the laundry business with new offerings that bring technology and style to an often thankless household chore.

Post-election wave for some businesses, rainy day for others

Shares in Carnegie Clean Energy jumped 23 per cent today, with the company likely to receive financial support for an Albany wave project from the newly elected state government, while environmental activists are already putting pressure on uranium miners.

Port planning transfer could cut costs

Trans-shipment has been floated as a solution to capacity constraints at bulk export ports in the state’s north.

Azimi works to plant positive seeds

40under40: Welcomed to Australia after fleeing his home country, Akram Azimi hopes to pay it forward by working to improve education standards for disadvantaged children.

Better insolvencies data for January

There was a slight dip in the number of Western Australian businesses entering administration in January compared to the same month in 2016, according to the latest data from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Hong Kong company onto Wellard register

A Hong Kong-based company has joined the share register of live export business Wellard International just days after Holmes a Court family entity Heytesbury Holdings took a stake.

Shoppers keen for better retail hours

Moves to extend trading hours on weekdays and on Sundays could be a hit with voters, according to a recent survey conducted for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA, with 59 per cent of shoppers keen for longer weekday trade.

McKeon to step down from AFG leadership

Australian Finance Group chief executive Brett McKeon will step aside after 23 years at the helm of the mortgage broker, after leading the company from its founding to an IPO in 2015 and winning the 2006 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award for WA.

SUVs still more popular in declining market

The pickup in the state’s economy revealed in the latest GDP data hasn’t flowed through to spending on new cars, with vehicle sales in February 13.7 per cent lower than the same month in 2016.

Programmed in indigenous jobs committment

Employment provider Programmed hopes to increase the number of indigenous employees in the national workforce by 5,000 within a decade, the company said at an announcement with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Generation One founder Andrew Forrest in Canberra today.

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.

Brierty well down despite profit

Shares in mining and civil contractor Brierty have tumbled 23 per cent today despite the company announcing a $3.8 million net profit for the six months to December, which the company said was above guidance.

Better numbers for Emeco

Osborne Park-based heavy equipment supplier Emeco Holdings has reduced its first-half net loss after tax by around 70 per cent, to $31.3 million for the six months to December.

Australis in $100m raising plan

Subiaco-based energy company Australis Oil & Gas has announced an $80 million expansion of its shale acreage in the southern US, amid plans for a $100 million raising.

Smaller players seek to reduce freight barriers

SPECIAL REPORT: Contractors face hurdles as they bid for work with major companies, and suggest a more open approach might bring benefits.

Klen fires up as market turns

SPECIAL REPORT: Klen International’s work in the gold sector offers a valuable insight into how Western Australian companies are taking the expertise from the state’s resources industry and developing it well beyond the mine pit.

Numbers off peak but optimism on jobs

SPECIAL REPORT: Strong employment growth in the gold sector partially compensated for job losses in iron ore in the 2016 financial year, according to recently released data from the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

Contractors ready for turnaround

SPECIAL REPORT - MINING SERVICES: Higher commodity prices and investment to maintain iron ore volumes could help lift mining contractors out of the doldrums after several tough years. Click through to see this and links to four other feature stories.

Profit down for auto dealer AHG

West Perth-based Automotive Holdings Group has predicted the state’s automotive market will remain challenging in the short term, as the company reported a 20 per cent fall in net profit after tax in the six months to December.

Terminations a trend to take note of

There’s been a big rise in the exercise of contract termination for convenience clauses in the past four years, according to Jackson McDonald lead partner of projects, infrastructure and construction Basil Georgiou.

Leading the charge in switchable glass

The local business that undertook one of the nation’s largest switchable glass projects as part of the development of Perth Children’s Hospital is now planning to target overseas markets.

Poor post-boom wages growth

Private sector wages growth of just 0.1 per cent in Western Australia in the three months to December, matched with recent unemployment figures, suggests the state’s spluttering post-boom recovery has some way to run.

One Nation not keen on fracking

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is hoping to put an end to decades of fracking in Western Australia, if the party wins seats in the upcoming state election.

Atlas shares down despite return to profit

Shares in Atlas Iron fell 9.3 per cent today despite the company returning to after-tax profit in the six months to December on the back of higher volumes and a lift in the iron ore price.

Penalty cut to benefit small business, jobs: CCI

Business representatives have welcomed a move to ease Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers, saying it would be particularly beneficial for reducing unemployment in Western Australia.

Nickel price aids Western Areas

Nickel miner Western Areas has returned to positive territory with a net profit of $516,000 in the six months to December.

Tunnel costs lower than first forecast

The state government's estimate for the cost of a tunnel to complete Roe 9 has fallen dramatically since the option was first floated in 2014, according to documents obtained under freedom of information by Labor.

Pilbara project hit by $US1bn impairment

Iron ore miner Citic Pacific will cop a write down of up to $US1 billion on its Sino Iron magnetite operation in the Pilbara, less than a year after the facility completed commissioning.

Senate orders Roe 8 inquiry

UPDATE: A snap inquiry into alleged breaches of environmental conditions at the Roe Highway extension project will be held next week, after a motion introduced to Parliament by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam was today backed by the Senate.

Mining tech boss backs Greens

Perth mining industry software entrepreneur Norman Pater has put his money where his mouth is, with his private company, Pater Investments, supporting the Greens WA to the tune of $99,500.

Water West wins utility licence

Perth-based private utility Water West has received Economic Regulation Authority approval to roll out water recycling at a new land development near Pinjarra.

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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.