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WA this week – 10 years ago

Wharfies strike around the nation ABOUT 2,000 workers at Australia’s major ports staged a half-day strike to protest against the planned use of non-union labour at Fremantle port, this week ten years ago. The strike stranded more than 20 ships around ports in Western Australia. In Fremantle, nine ships were tied up and unable to load or unload, with another seven anchored outside the port. While many of the state’s exports were at risk, the key iron ore miners reported no stoppages at their north-west ports because they had separate non-union transport agreements. Woodside Petroleum also said it was unaffected by the strike. Stamp duty taxes cut by half THE State Government planned to cut stamp duty taxes on share transactions by half, in a move to match an announcement by the Queensland Government. The move was aimed at preventing a loss of business to Queensland, then Premier Richard Court told reporters. Mr Court said it was unlikely his government would drop the stamp duty altogether to one-up on its rival states. Live sheep trade moves A NEW strategy for live sheep exports from WA involving a move from Fremantle harbour to nearby Kwinana and greater use of regional ports was recommended in a report to the State Government. The report, drawn up by ACIL Economics and Policy consultants, found that a number of strategies, including the development of an export facility at the Kwinana Steelworks jetty, would enhance the competitiveness of WA’s live sheep trade, then worth around $140 million per year. Kerry Sanderson, Fremantle Ports then general manager, who is now chief executive, reportedly said significant savings would accrue to the sheep export industry if Kwinana was developed, but she believed the shipment pattern for the sector would mean at least one-third of livestock exports could continue to be handled by Fremantle inner harbour. The live sheep trade is currently a controversial topic, with Saudi Arabia banning the imports, when in 2003 the Cormo Express was refused to berth in the country in the belief that 60,000 sheep on board were riddled with scabby mouth disease. However the Federal Government was reportedly in negotiations in January with the Saudis in order to resume the trade.

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