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Western Australia

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Road maintenance jobs to be taken
in-house by WA government as private contracts expire

The state government will not be renewing all contracts for road maintenance jobs, bringing 600 new jobs back to the public sector.  The move will save taxpayers $25 million according to a study commissioned by the McGowan government, as well as providing higher levels of transparency.

Wages for the road crew staff will increase by amounts between $12,000 and $22,000 as well as gaining better job security and entitlements.  Many of the jobs will be located in WA regions.  Head offices will be established in Manjimup, Esperance, Karratha and Broome, giving those areas a steady workforce in the locality. 

650 non-clinical jobs have been brought back into the public sector at Fiona Stanley Hospital under the government providing those workers with much needed job security and worker conditions, as well as providing a better service for the hospital patients and medical staff. 

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4th April, 2022

Shark Warning as Salmon Migrate

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This is the time of year Australian salmon migrate up the WA coast as part of their breeding cycle. The WA government has issued a warning to all surfers and divers that shark activity will increase during this time, and they should take action to protect themselves from shark attacks before commencing activities. 

A proven shark deterrent device is recommended, with a $200 rebate offered.  The Shark Smart WA website and app provides information about shark activity in WA. 

1st April, 2022

Scott Morrison stands down as PM

Just weeks before the Federal election, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has announced that he will retire from politics effective immediately. Citing 'personal reasons' for his shock decision, a by-election will have to be called for the seat of Cook, before the country goes to the polls.  

The Liberal party are left scrambling to choose a new leader, with bookies laying odds on likely candidates with popular Member for Dawson George Christensen tipped as the favourite and high performer, Ian Goodenough, Member for Moore running a close second.  

31th Mar, 2022

Nev Power pleads not guilty as Airpower Australia, charged over Covid breach

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Neville Power 

In spite of being found guilty and sentenced to an eight-month suspended jail term, Neville Power put in a not guilty plea on behalf of his company Airpower Australia for the same breach of Covid rules.  Mr. Power was head of the Morrison appointed Covid Task Force, and as such has little excuse for flouting the rules. 

Referring to the breach of rules by Mr. Powers and his son Nick, Deputy Chief Magistrate, Libby Woods, said, 

“This was not a momentary aberration; in my view, it was a foolish and disrespectful choice. 

(They believed) they were better getting back to work as soon as possible. They wanted to avoid another quarantine experience and justified that decision to themselves

“That puts this at upper end of seriousness of these cases.”

The charge against the company of failing to comply with a direction carries a maximum penalty of $250,000.  A trial date has been set for June, 2022. 

30th Mar, 2022

Penguin Island Discovery Centre could put penguins in danger

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Rockingham council has withdrawn approval of the proposed upgrade to the Penguin Island Discovery Centre after many expressions of concern from locals and experts that the dwindling population of Little Penguins would be further at risk.  

The current population has dropped by 80% since 2007, as visitors make it difficult for the penguins to get to the water.  Many penguins nest under the current building and there are fears that construction work would severely damage their crucial nesting and moulting activities.  

The council has joined other voices in requesting the centre be placed on the mainland, to avoid disturbing the fragile bird population.

Environment Minister Reece Whitby has not backed down on the proposal saying building would occur during summer months when the penguins are largely at sea.  A petition to build the centre on the mainland has so far received nearly 1800 signatures. 

WA has one of world's strongest balance sheets thanks to Mark McGowan's Covid policies 

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"Following health advice" in its approach to Covid, has seen the McGowan WA Government produce a budget surplus tipping nearly $8 billion prompting ratings agency S&A to rate WA as one of the world's strongest economies. The WA coffers have also benefited from windfall commodity prices including iron ore, LNG, nickel and lithium.  Keeping the economy strong by maintaining a Covid free state helped to ensure continued productivity in the mining, manufacturing and hospitality sectors.  The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also pushed up wheat prices which will also benefit WA exporters. 

The McGowan government has plans to spend big on infrastructure projects such as rail lines and further desalination plants which would take out a large chunk of the surplus, as well as keeping money aside for future issues like the pandemic. 

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Wheat and Iron Ore are two of WA's main exports 

6th March, 2022

Taj on the Swan site ready to rebuild

The site of the now demolished Taj on the Swan will be the home of a new single residence property built by design studio Leon House. 

The extravagant structure, formally owned by  Burrup Holidngs sole owner, was demolished in 2016 after being abandoned by the Oswalds as their many financial interests crashed. 

The council has requested a nine metre set-back, agreed to by the owners.  The new house will feature a geometric window opening and an eight metre door.  The council also insisted on visual screening and at least three shade trees on the site.  

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House design by Leon House

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Taj on the Swan awaiting demolition 

6th March, 2022

Western Australia's first biofuel blend export ship trialled for wheat growers.

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West Australian Government to Establish Shipping and Supply Chain Taskforce

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Mark McGowan's government is establishing a taskforce to examine several areas of supply chain and interstate shipping as an alternative to road transport. This is in response to months of supply chain issues from disrupted road links, including the damage to the Trans-Australian railway line from major flooding in February this year.

Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti said that the government saw this as a national issue, adding that the WA government was keen to work with any Federal Government willing to help better strengthen their east-west supply links.

"It's important we examine other supply chain options in the event of future natural disasters and disruptions - having better access to a local shipping fleet would be one option to future-proof our freight supply chain," she said.

Minister of State Development, Jobs and Trade, Roger Cook added that

improving transport links and building more resilient supply chains was vital to diversifying WA's economy, particularly into the state's regions.

"This initiative demonstrates that once again the McGowan Government is responding to the needs of our communities and industries," he said.

WA's main energy source now renewable power.

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Data from OpenNEM shows that WA's electricity grid was powered predominantly by solar and wind electricity in 2021. Mining operations are increasingly relying on industrial and portable solar systems, or wind farms as they move toward zero emission commitments. The cheap, clean energy makes commercial sense as well. Localised power generation is the next step to improve reliablity according to Curtain University's Sustainability Policy Institute Distinguished Professor Peter Newman.

WA winning the fight against introduced gamba grass

Damaging to the Australian eco-system, gamba grass was introduced in 1931 to the Northern Territory as cattle feed and spread to Queensland and WA with devastating effects. As well as competing with native plants, the grass acts as an accelerant during bushfires, increasing fuel loads by eight times.

A partnership pogramme beween the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, El Questro Station and Kimberley Rangelands Biosecurity has had great success in eradicating the plant in Western Australia. By 2021 only eight plants had been found. Monitoring will continue for another five years.

The battle continues in the NT and Queensland.

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Iron Ore prices to retain growth according to analysts 21st Feb 2022

Iron Ore price forecast has been lifted to $US175 a tonne by Morgan Stanely, as prices rose to $US150 t earlier last week. Chinese regulators conducted port checks and increased fees for future trading, wary of misinformation. Commonwealth Bank believes prices will hold, with more significant margin compression required to force prices down.

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Terrance Flowers, wrongly accused of being Cleo Smith’s abductor, paid out by Channel Seven
17th Feb 2022

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Mr Terrance Flowers, who was incorrectly identified by Channel Seven, Australia, as the abductor of Cleo Smith, snatched in October by Terrance Kelly from Carnarvon in Western Australia, has received a pay out from the media company.

Mr Flowers also goes by the name Terrance Kelly. He became fearful of leaving the house after he was identified by photograph in the news media. He declared himself “very happy” with the outcome and was looking forward to moving on with his life and spending time with his six-month old son.

Western Australians may get some news again in The West

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If any readers of The West have been put off by the relentless and personal attacks on the premier, Mark McGowan, of late, the reason has been unearthed. A rumour that Kerry Stokes was refused entrance after the borders did not open on Feb 5th, appears to be the reason behind the editor's campaign of  against the current leader of Western Australia.

Favouring attacks, mock headlines and even videos showing Mr McGowan declare himself King, has become de jour.

The 70% support for the move from the WA population as well as many business owners is the reality, with many small businesses worried that staff shortages would force them to close, as reported by The West previous to the borders remaining closed.

With the borders opening fully next month, and isolation rules reduced to copew with the omicron surge, the state's only news outlet may start doing its job of presenting unbias information once again.

Housing diversity pipeline launched by WA government

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Social housing and greater housing diversity is targeted by the release of twelve landholdings by the Western Australian McGowan government. Developers, builders and ommunity housing providers are invited to register interest, and offer innovative ideas on how to develop the sites effectively. The project will also ensure industry support with an ongoing programme of work. Ten of the sites are in the Perth metrol region, with two in the regions.

Mark McGowan adds working hours to WA : Perrotet causes losses to working hours in NSW 18th Feb, 2022

In spite of the negative commentary towards WA premier Mark McGowan's cautious approach to dealing with the virulent omicron, his state has benefited with an increase in working hours, and low unemployment. WA was the only Australian state to show a lift in production, while all other states lost working hours after easing restrictions in the mistaken belief that normality would ensue. Instead, due to increased sickness and isolation, businesses suffered and workers lost chunks of their pay checks, at a time when federal government support was withdrawn.

NSW suffered the greatest loss with a decline of 13.5 per cent, compared to the national average of 8.5 per cent.

Unemployment remained steady in NSW while in WA it fell to the lowest rate in the country at 3.7 per cent.

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Andrew Forrest purchases land earmarked for Aborignal use

Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest continues to buy up large parts of Western Australia with his company’s latest purchase of farmland in New Norcia. The land contains a former ‘native reserve’ that was set aside in the 1880’s specifically for the welfare of Aboriginal people according to old documents.

The Yued people, who are traditional owners of the piece of land, will meet with Mr Forrest to discuss his plans.

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