Dam work starts

CONSTRUCTION on the $52 million Harvey Dam in the South West, expected to waterproof WA, has started. The dam, part of the $275 million Stirling-Harvey Redevelopment Scheme, will eventually supply water from Stirling Dam, east of Harvey, to the Perth metropolitan water scheme. Water Resources Minister Kim Hames said the dam was the centrepiece of the three-year development scheme. The dam will have six times the capacity of the existing Harvey Weir.The redevelopment scheme is part of the WA Government’s five-year $390 million program to waterproof Perth.

Fish watch scheme

SIGHTINGS of introduced marine pests and illegal fishing along WA’s coast can now be reported under the new streamlined Fishwatch program. Fisheries Minister Monty House said the revised service meant Fisheries officers were notified within minutes of a call being made. Since the revised system was introduced in late July, there had been 22 reports on illegal fishing and six on “feral peril” sightings, he said.

Farmers using IT

ABOUT half of Australian farms either own or use a computer, according to an Australian Bureau of Statistics survey. Use was highest in the Northern Territory with 65 per cent coverage. In WA, 59 per cent used a computer. Over the year to March 1999, the largest increase in the number of farms using a computer occurred in Tasmania, up 36 per cent, and Victoria, 34 per cent. WA usage climbed 22 per cent during the year from 6,850 to 8,271 farms.

Job ads decline

Newspaper job ads fell more than 18 per cent in September, according to the ANZ newspaper job ads survey. In Sydney job ads were down 33 per cent.

Westpac economist Justin Smirk said the key message from the drop was that the “couch potato” effect, where firms took the view that most potential applicants would be focused on the Olympics, was more widespread than initially anticipated. He also noted the shift to Internet advertising.

Wood use rises

AUSTRALIA’S consumption and production of structural wood – sawnwood and wood-based panels – reached record levels in 1999-2000, according to a Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics report. ABARE executive director Brian Fisher said the strong rise in residential building activity boosted domestic consumption of structural wood to 6.5 million cubic metres – the highest ever.

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