27/11/2007 - 22:00

New team for lobby firm

27/11/2007 - 22:00

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Lobbying firm Hawker Britton has a new team in Perth, led by former state government advisers Sean Walsh and John Whitelaw, who plan to educate their clients to have realistic expectations about dealing with government.

New team for lobby firm

Lobbying firm Hawker Britton has a new team in Perth, led by former state government advisers Sean Walsh and John Whitelaw, who plan to educate their clients to have realistic expectations about dealing with government.

Mr Whitelaw, who will head the office, was an adviser to former premier Geoff Gallop and more recently worked for water resources and police minister John Kobelke.

Mr Walsh, who will work part-time for Hawker Britton, was considered Dr Gallop‘s most powerful adviser. He was Dr Gallop’s chief of staff until the former premier retired in January 2006.

They have joined Hawker Britton at a time when the firm, which has close ties to Labor governments across the country, has just opened a Canberra office.

Hawker Britton is one of a handful of firms, including CPR, Halden Burns and Peter Clough & Associates that have close links to Labor and dominate government lobbying in Western Australia.

Mr Whitelaw said the firm’s role was to provide business clients with strategies on how to talk to government. “They don’t know what to say or who to talk to,” he said.

Mr Walsh, who endorsed Dr Gallop’s strict adherence to ‘due process’ in government decision making, said the business sector should accept this approach.

“People need to start with realistic expectations and understand there are proper processes,” Mr Walsh said.

“They shouldn’t see the process as a burden but as something that gives you certainty.”

Mr Whitelaw, who took over from the firm’s former state director Megan Anwyl, is helping Chinese mining group CITIC Pacific negotiate changes to a state agreement for its planned $5.2 billion Pilbara iron ore project.

It is also helping Macquarie Bank identify investment opportunities and is working with regional airline Skywest.

Apart from the resources sector, he said growth areas for the firm would include renewable energy, emissions reduction and water resources.

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