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This week in wa – 10 years ago

Upgrades and new sites all round When the Port Hedland detention centre reached capacity at 756 people, Immigration Minister Nick Bolkus activated a temporary detention centre at a remote air force base in Western Australia to manage the overflow of boat people, this week ten years ago. It wasn’t the only place in rural WA attracting attention either, as the Australian Space Council approved a plan for Russian scientists to carry out feasibility studies in southern Western Australia for a satellite launch facility. In resources, Alinta Gas announced plans to increase pipeline capacity by 20 per cent for the Dampier-Bunbury pipeline. Percy Barnevik, chief executive of the Swiss-Swedish engineering group Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) visited Australia with the view to double its turnover in Australia in the years to come by expanding its oil and gas subsidiaries and increasing exports to Asia. BHP Petroleum proved the viability of its LNG production process which was tested at the Tubridgi gas project, south of Onslow. The system allowed natural gas to be liquefied at offshore facilities then transferred to small-scale plants mounted on offshore gas production facilities for the first time. Despite a national report from the Leading Agents Australia group describing Australia’s prestige residential market as sluggish, vulnerable and cautious, Perth agents Acton Consolidated reported that Perth was going against the national trend following big-ticket sales in Peppermint Grove and that other key prestige suburbs were soldiering on despite interest rates affecting confidence in other states. The Wesfarmers board of directors released their half yearly report stating that rains from the tropical cyclones in the prior weeks were expected to provide a further boost to Wesfarmers’ fertilizer sales as crop and cattle production increased. The week before round one of the AFL season, Mick Malthouse always the underdog, talked down claims that the West Coast Eagles were far ahead of the pack and would gallop home to back to back premierships. Meanwhile Gerald Neesham prepared his young Dockers side, including ten AFL novices, for their first real test – facing Richmond at the MCG.

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