QED looks to new deal for recovery

UNLISTED WA environmental technology operation Occtech Engineering has reached an agreement to merge with the recently listed, but troubled, public company QED Corporation Limited. Under the agreement, to be put before shareholders of both companies, QED has agreed to take over 100 per cent of Occtech, with payment to come through the issue of 60 million fully paid shares, giving Occtech shareholders a 40 per cent stake in the merged entity. Full report, Page 4.

Boat Torque’s name to disappear

BOAT Torque, a name synonymous with ferry services to Rottnest Island, is to disappear from Perth’s seascape. As WA Business News revealed on May 16, Boat Torque’s owner, Trevor Kitcher, had been forced to put the business up for sale after over-committing financially to the redevelopment of Barrack Square. Boat Torque – along with two other companies associated with Mr Kitcher – was placed in receivership with Ernst&Young just two weeks later.

Full report, Page 6.

Lobster men lobby for pots of money

THE hiatus between rock lobster fishing seasons is traditionally more than just a time to hang up the wellies or give the boat a fresh lick of paint. It is a period of horse-trading and intrigue as processors try to lure new boats into the fold, offering a variety of incentives, from additional pots to cash. This year, however, is more interesting than ever before. The amount of activity among the processors can only be described as frenetic and many in the industry believe those jockeying for position are preparing for big changes in the intensely competitive sector. Full report, Page 7.

Call for umpire opposed

ANARCHY still rules on WA’s building sites, according to the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry. But the royal commission, in Perth for the past two weeks, has found two things that both unions and builders seem to agree on – that industrial relations in the sector is in a mess and that another independent umpire is not wanted. Employers were loath to call for an independent umpire and union representatives opposed it because they feared it would undermine their effectiveness. Full report, Page 13.

Regulator talks on gas access

IN an attempt to offer greater clarity with regard to gas pipeline access and associated issues, the Office of Gas Access Regulation (OffGAR) is preparing an information paper on rates of return for WA pipelines. The office hopes to release this for public comment next month. Gas pipelines access regulation in WA under the Gas Pipelines Access (WA) Act 1998 was complex and time-consuming, OffGAR told National Energy Conference delegates in Sydney recently. The act reflected the view that services such as gas access should not be open to excessive monopoly prices, OffGAR executive director Peter Kolf said. Full report, Page 14.

Business grins and bears changing face of taxation

THIS time two years ago we were still getting used to adding 10 per cent to the cost of most goods and services, and businesses were yet to experience the thrill of their first BAS. Today, GST and BAS are part of our lives, but there is no time to relax – the tax changes continue to roll on. Full report, Page 15.

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