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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.      

Austal in $22m contract win

Henderson-based shipbuilder Austal has won a $22 million contract for a high speed passenger catamaran to be used in Germany, but it will be built in the Philippines.

Problems at Sandfire's solar farm

Sandfire Resources has encountered problems at its $40 million solar farm at the Degrussa copper mine, about six months after an ASX announcement suggested the power plant had been successfully commissioned.

Roe 8 court battle fails

Environmental advocates have lost the latest High Court application to stop the extension of Roe Highway through Beeliar Wetlands.

Civmec to invest $80m in defence facility

Engineering and construction contractor Civmec said today it planned to spend up to $80 million establishing a new shipbuilding facility at Henderson, and use it as a springboard into the federal government’s $89 billion naval build in the coming decade.

Origin makes play for WA gas market

Perth’s domestic gas users could have a choice between four retailers by July next year, with Sydney-based utility Origin Energy putting forward an application to the Economic Regulation Authority to enter the market.

Startup bent for indigenous jobs

Initiatives to encourage indigenous entrepreneurship such as accelerators, incubators and a government-backed venture capital fund were part of a suite of policies recommended by KPMG at the recent Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference held at the University of Western Australia.

Consolidation continues among major employers

SPECIAL REPORT: Big businesses are employing an increasing share of the WA workforce, while the services-oriented economy maintains its growth, the latest BNiQ Biggest Employers survey has uncovered. Click through to see details on Western Australia's 170 largest employers.

Diversification key for Independence

Holding an even exposure to base metals and gold will be the key to keeping Independence Group’s performance consistent across the commodity cycle, according to managing director Peter Bradford, although the time was not yet right to be looking for new gold projects.

Education, agriculture drive sister state agreement

Education, research, agribusiness and mining services will be the biggest winners from a recent sister state agreement signed between the state government and the government of Indian state Andhra Pradesh, according to Treasurer Mike Nahan.

Nickel dispatch begins at Nova

The first cargo of concentrate from Independence Group’s Nova nickel mine has been dispatched to Kambalda, with the site’s processing plant to reach nameplate production capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per annum in the middle of next year.

DAP approval for $160m Cunderdin solar farm

A $160 million project to build a utility scale solar farm near Cunderdin has received Development Assessment Panel approval and could be producing at 100 megawatts in time for Christmas next year.

Chevron, AWE moves improving gas certainty

Certainty around the state’s domestic gas supply received a boost today, with the Chevron-led Gorgon project delivering first domgas to Synergy and AWE taking the next step towards the development of stage two at the Waitsia gas field.

Super Pit suitors make history

A Chinese company’s bid to buy a stake in the Kalgoorlie Super Pit would make it the latest international player to control WA’s most famous gold mine.

Local contractors to tout defence capability

Mark Potter will be one of around 100 Western Australian industry representatives ready to tout the state's defence contracting capability at a forum with the federal government’s new Centre for Defence Industry Capability this morning.

WA assets in Santos spin-off

Four Western Australian projects will be included in a planned spin-off from energy player Santos in a bid to increase cash flow and cut debt, including facilities at Thevenard and Barrow islands.

Mischin to speak at defence conference

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin will today encourage local defence contractors to apply for a state government industry assistance program to fund productivity enhancements, speaking at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA defence conference.

Call for water recycling debate

Perth should consider increased use of private water recycling infrastructure in new residential developments to reduce costs for consumers and lower the capital burden on the taxpayer, according to a report by ACIL Allen to be released today.

Risks to excess gas supply

The state’s domestic gas market is expected to have excess supply of 640 terajoules per day by 2021, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator, although a delay in commencement of production at the Wheatstone or Gorgon domestic gas facilities could lead to a tightening of the supply as early as next year.

Call for red tape cuts up north

The state government should pay for a slice of the environmental approval costs and release more freehold land in the Pilbara to encourage the growth of agribusiness in the region, according to spe

Energy tech solutions spun-out of UWA-based research facility

A new centrifuge at the university could contribute significant cost savings to offshore energy projects.

Power muscles against mining tax

A proposal to roughly double the royalties paid by the state’s two biggest iron ore miners was divisive and could set a dangerous precedent for fixing budget issues, Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Nev Power told this morning’s Business News Success & Leadership breakfast.

Feds drive road funding change

The federal government is moving towards changing the way road usage is priced, a reform backed in last year’s Harper competition review.

Private timber plays paying out for Japanese owners

Higher revenue from an improved woodchip market and a lower dollar has boosted profits at Albany Plantation Export Company, WA Plantation Resources and Bunbury Fibre Exports.

Guildford Grammar to go fully co-educational

Girls will be eligible to attend secondary school at Guildford Grammar from 2018, more than 40 years after admission was extended to both genders at the campus’s primary education facilities.

Impairment reversal helps Global Advanced Metals

Privately held tantalum miner Global Advanced Metals has reported a $6.3 million net profit for the year to June 2016, up from a $72.2 million loss in the previous 12 months, while its two Western Australian mine sites remained under care and maintenance.

Wellard shareholders vent displeasure

Shareholders in agribusiness Wellard have strongly rejected four resolutions at the company's annual meeting, though their anger over the company's poor performance was not enough for the nominee of a dissident shareholder to get elected to the board.

Forrest’s rich Fortescue returns

SPECIAL REPORT: When Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest received his most recent dividend cheque from the company, it brought the total paid out to entities he controls during the past five years to nearly $600 million.

Local companies in Deloitte fast 50

Six Western Australian companies were winners in the 2016 Deloitte tech fast 50 awards, while NSW company Cashrewards took top spot overall.

TPP trumped, new deals floated

Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the US election two weeks ago is already having ramifications for world trade, with his confirmation today he will withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership likely to spark a recalibration of plans among nations in the region.

Kidman sells Burbanks gold mine

Sydney-based Resources & Energy Group will buy Kidman Resources’ Burbanks gold mine near Coolgardie in a $4.5 million deal announced today, its second Western Australian gold project buy so far this year.

Atlas sets path for Corunna, McPhee

Mining junior Atlas Iron plans to be in production at its planned Corunna Downs project by March 2018, the company announced at its annual general meeting today, while current operations at Wodgina and Abydos will end in late 2017 and early 2018 respectively.

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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.