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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.      

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.

Wyatt to tackle energy market access

Energy Minister Ben Wyatt hopes to introduce laws to ease network access rules for new electricity generators by mid 2018, while acknowledging concerns about Synergy's market power in an address today at the Energy in Western Australia Conference.

Waitsia well exceeded expectations: AWE

Sydney-based gas producer AWE plans to upgrade its resource estimate for the Waitsia gas field in the Perth Basin in coming months after a recent drilling campaign showed the field extends further eastward than initially thought.

Advanced Energy in Westpork renewables build

Applecross-based Advanced Energy Resources will soon begin work to install 1.5 megawatts of wind farm capacity across agribusiness Westpork’s biggest farms as part of a $4 million move to renewables.

Renewables await policy clarity

SPECIAL REPORT: More than $1.6 billion of renewable energy projects are proposed for the South West Interconnected System, but their success may hinge on how the government handles two regulatory issues.

Water costs need to rise, sewerage to fall: ERA

A further 4 per cent rise in metropolitan water usage charges will be needed for the 2019 financial year to ensure pricing is cost reflective, according to a draft report by the Economic Regulation Authority.

Power players keen to compete with Synergy in more open marketplace

SPECIAL REPORT: As WA households benefit from increased competition in gas retailing, the electricity sector wants to be able to compete with Synergy in providing to small customers, with some industry members calling for a reduction in the contestability threshold to 20 megawatt hours.

Wages growth at 18-year low

Western Australia recorded its lowest level of wages growth in the year to June since at least 1999, at 1.4 per cent, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Perth world's 7th most liveable city

Perth is the world’s seventh most liveable city for the second year running, according to The Economist’s Intelligence Unit, while Melbourne continues a winning streak as the world's number one, a position it has held since 2011.

Acquisition could boost NWSV life extension case

Some of the North West Shelf Venture partners might either sell their stake in the operation or take an equity interest in potential projects such as Browse as one potential solution to find backfill liquids for Karratha gas plant in the next decade, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie.

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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.