Politics & the Economy

Cautious campaigns aim for small targets

ANALYSIS: Both Colin Barnett and Mark McGowan wisely avoided making big spending commitments when they launched their formal election campaigns on Sunday.

PM aiming for WA GST floor in 2019-20

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's promise to put a floor on what the states receive as a share of the revenue they raise from GST still stands, although it is still a few years away before it can be implemented.

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.

Leaders facing tests of policy

ANALYSIS: With early voting for the state election due to start on Monday, both Colin Barnett and Mark McGowan will face major tests when they deliver their formal policy speeches on Sunday.

WA unemployment down, but worst in nation

Western Australia's unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points in January to be 6.5 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms, although the state now has the worst unemployment rate in the nation.

Results pull Aust shares lower

The Australian share market has eased back from morning gains as a slew of negative earnings reports weigh on an overnight boost courtesy of record highs on Wall Street.

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.

Tight regional contests bring benefits

ANALYSIS: There has never been a better time to be a voter in the regional port cities of Albany, Bunbury and Geraldton. All are marginal seats and the centre of very close attention from the major parties.

Liberals promise payroll tax cut if elected

The WA Liberals have pledged to raise the payroll tax threshold by $50,000 from next year, and have promised not to raise taxes or bring in new ones if re-elected, in contrast with Labor and despite the state's record debt and deficit.

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.

Opportunity tipped as China shifts trade environment

Environmental services companies could be among the beneficiaries of an ongoing shift in China's economy from manufacturing to services, according to University of Western Australia lecturer Yanrui Wu.

Nats push back in Greens preference move

The Nationals WA have preferenced the Greens ahead of their Liberal alliance partners on the ticket for two upper house regions in next month's state election, including Liberal Agriculture & Food Minister Mark Lewis.

Roe 8 documents handed over

Previously secret documents regarding the planning of the Perth Freight Link were yesterday released by Main Roads after a recent order by the Information Commissioner, according to Labor North Metropolitan region candidate Alannah MacTiernan.

Labor optimistic on debt reduction

ANALYSIS: Full marks to the Labor Party for coming up with its debt reduction strategy early in the election campaign. It indicates both the party and shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt are serious about getting the state's finances into a much healthier position.

Labor pledges funds for RPH, Liberal pledges for Tafes

WA Labor says it will spend $45.5 million to bring new services to Royal Perth Hospital if it wins the March state election, while the Liberals say they will use about $83 million from the partial sale of Western Power to build three new Tafe facilities.

Caution on RBA's 'too perfect' forecasts

The Reserve Bank is forecasting a slow but orderly return to above-trend growth and for inflation to return to target within three years, but economists and the International Monetary Fund warn that risks remain.

CEO lunch with Ricky Burges

WA Local Government Association chief executive and former WA businesswoman of the year, Ricky Burges, joined Business News at Julio's in West Perth to discuss her professional journey and what lies ahead.

Pivotal role for preferences

ANALYSIS: Memories of 2001 will be top-of -mind for many Liberal Party state executive members when they meet tomorrow to decide the preference recommendations for their how-to-vote cards ahead of next month's election.

No surplus in sight in WA budget forecast

Western Australia's financial outlook has worsened considerably in less than two months, with no return to surplus in sight and ballooning debt, pre-election projections show.

Collie key as Labor backs away from renewables target

ANALYSIS: The Labor Party has moved quickly to snuff out any suggestion it will be pushing for a 50 per cent renewable energy target for the South West Interconnected System if it wins next month's state election.