Estimates range on power price

A VALUATIONS war is looming over the real cost of the break-up of Western Power with a wide range in suggested figures – from $5 million to $700 million. The Electricity Reform Task Force, the body tasked with finding whether Western Power should be broken up or not, is understood to be conducting a cost-benefit analysis of such a proposal. Full report, Page 3

Food fight fee

THE latest round of alfresco fee rises from the City of Perth may force several Northbridge restaurant owners to abandon street dining. And restaurateurs in Fremantle are incensed by their city’s proposal to double alfresco fees. The City of Fremantle will decide whether to approve the new charges at next Monday night’s council meeting. Full report, Page 4

Basin rigged and ready

FRESH from an extended stay on the Hardman Resources and Bounty Oil & Gas Woodada 19 exploration well in the Woodada gas field, Century rig 24 has been on the move this week, to explore at least two more prospects in the Perth Basin. First in the queue is the Hovea field, to follow up on last October’s Hovea 1 oil find 14 kilometres south of Dongara. Full report, Page 5

AWH surfs a wine line

AUSTRALIAN Wine Holdings has announced its second purchase in a week, but claims the moves are little more than testing the systems before a much bigger acquisition, possibly around the $7 million mark. The former Hotham Wines bought Margaret River-based Bunker Bay Wine Group this week in a scrip deal worth $675,000, shortly after it paid almost $3 million for Manjimup’s Chestnut Grove Wines. Full report, Page 6

Optimism puts local builders ahead

A SURVEY by the Master Builders Association (MBA) and Bentley’s MRI has indicated a level of optimism in the WA industry not existent in other States. The March quarter survey of building industry business conditions found the second- and third-home markets are supporting the building industry in WA, despite a fall-off in the first-home market. Full report, Page 7

Engineering solutions for shifting problems

THE need to move its large engineering workshop from Fremantle to Henderson has sparked a new business for a WA company. When Key Group made its move, which involved shifting 30 pieces of heavy equipment it found there was nobody in the market that could help. Full report, Page 10

Coal industry dirty about its bad rap

THE State Government’s recent display of a preference for gas power has reopened an old debate – which is the cleaner fuel? The accepted answer has for some time been, gas. Gas has fewer carbon atoms and thus emits less carbon dioxide at the point of combustion, it is said. Moreover, gas production is a far cleaner process than mining dusty old coal. Full report, Page 14

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