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Editorial - Burrup Hiccup?

THE recent setback for the development of the Burrup – with delays to the Canadian-based company Methanex’s plans to build a methanol plant – shows how fragile investment in major projects can be in a global economy.

Late last year WA Business News decided to examine what was going on at the Burrup and how much of the touted $6 billion in investment was likely to occur.

We decided that, while there was a lot of good news, the Burrup remained on a knife edge.

The Methanex decision shows that a North West downstream processing boom is not a fait accompli – and we need to do more to make sure it is.

Lobbying hard

RECENT concerns about the perceived influence of former parliamentarians entering

the ranks of lobbyists has sparked Independent MP Liz Constable to prepare a private member’s bill to bring more accountability to this secretive business.

In effect, her plan was to legislate for lobbyists to reveal whom they were working for and file six-monthly reports detailing who they had met and what was discussed.

It made me recall Joe Poprzeczny’s State Scene comment piece of May 30 last year, when he suggested very much the same thing after deciding that lobbyists were making too many of the decisions our parliamentarians were meant to.

“For that reason it’s time all lobbyists were required to be registered and their activities laid open to voters and, especially, the press,” Mr Poprzeczny wrote in his article, titled “Accountability worth lobbying for”.

Chalk up another one for Joe – even though I don’t personally think such a register would be workable.

While I remain opposed to deregulating shopping hours any further, the last thing I want is further regulation of any sort. Just how you’d police such things would be interesting, if not impossible.

There are some things we could try. Firstly, we may need to rethink the fat pensions and benefits that many former pollies clearly don’t need.

Then there is the real reason why politicians are swayed by many proposals lobbied to them – the need for campaign funds.

If political campaigns were fought with allocated funds provided on a pre-determined formula, perhaps our politicians would be less susceptible to a quiet word in their ear.

Or maybe that’s wishful thinking.

In the meantime, the rising influence of lobbying is further reason to support good journalism in areas of the media that actually pays attention to these sorts of things.

Good choice

WHILE I have no idea of the purpose of a series of special reports on Western Australia by The Weekend Australian newspaper (as the tearsheet above  from the 15-16/3 edition indicates), I have to congratulate their choice of young executives to highlight the up-and-coming business people of this fair State.

Manny Papadoulis, Melissa Lekias, Mark Barnaba and Suzan Pervan are all success stories in their various fields – and they’ve all won a

WA Business News

40under40 Award.

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