Major highway upgrade

A ONCE-in-a-generation fix to a 1.2km stretch of Albany Highway notorious for pumpkin-sized potholes will be complete by April, says Mayor of Albany Dennis Wellington.

“What we want to do, very similar to Middleton Road, is do it up in such a way that it’s a good surface,” Mr Wellington said of the looming roadworks on both sides of the highway between Barker Road and Macedon Street.

“We’re trying to do that on the major arteries.

“I think Sanford Road is next year, because that’s in a pretty bad state as well at the moment.”

Mr Wellington said the City of Albany spent about $3 million-a-year maintaining roads, and the highway upgrade would cost about $1.6 million – or $800,000 for each side of the city’s main thoroughfare.

“Albany Highway from the roundabout through here is a local road and it’s in a bad way,” he said.

“It gets a lot of traffic, so it needs to be upgraded, and that’s our major project for this year.

“Certainly it will be the same standard as Middleton Road, because with the traffic it gets it’s got to be done properly and you try to do it for a 40 to a 50-year period.”

During the October 2017 local government elections, amid a particularly stormy spring, Albany’s humble but vexatious assortment of potholes became an election issue.

Mr Wellington said Albany’s wet winters meant it was necessary to conduct roadworks in the warmer months.

“It will get done when a lot of people are around, so some of the other roads will get used, obviously,” he acknowledged.

“We’ll keep one side of it open and do the other.”

Pavement repairs and patching have already been completed in preparation for the works. The existing surface will now be removed using a large profiling machine before a bitumen seal is placed.

This will be followed by two layers of asphalt. Also on the cards are new sections of kerbing, drainage pits and grates.

Works will start on the outside southbound lane in early January, with closures likely from January 7 to 18.

From there, the outside northbound lane will see closures between January 21 and 31.

The City will confirm further closures by January 15, with work extending through to late March.

Various side roads will be closed on and off during construction.

For more information, hit https://tinyurl.com/albanyhighwayclosures.

Photo: Dennis Wellington near where the roadworks will commence. Photo: Chris Thomson

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Evers wins probe into election promise costing

A PROBE into forming an agency to independently cost promises at State election time will occur at the initiative of Albany’s only Upper House Parliamentarian Diane Evers.

In the Legislative Council recently, GreensWA Finance and Treasury spokesperson Ms Evers called for an inquiry into founding a WA parliamentary budget office.

“We can change the system,” she told her Legislative Council colleagues on November 7.

“[A political candidate] could come up with an idea for a new project … two or three days, three weeks or three months before the election, but without working out the cost ramifications of the project and what it will achieve.

“They put it out there and hope people will vote for them and then worry about the problems afterwards.”

Ms Evers said that was why Parliamentarians “go on about back-flipping and who has been the latest to back-flip”.

“A Parliamentary budget office gives not only the government but also the opposition and minor parties, and even potentially candidates, access to the facilities to work out the cost of promises,” she said.

A Federal Parliamentary Budget Office was formed in 2012, after New South Wales introduced one in 2010. Victoria and South Australia also have such an agency.

Caught on the hop when Ms Evers moved that an inquiry be formed, Labor Leader of the House Sue Ellery took her time confirming her party’s position.

“And–I–should–be– able–to–give–you–an– answer–any–minute– now–about–what–the– Government’s–position– will–be,” she annunciated slowly, peering around the House and fingering her mobile phone.

After an interjection provided a delay, Ms Ellery finally confirmed: “So–we–will support the amendment”.

Following suit, Liberal Peter Collier, the Nationals’ Jacqui Boydell, Liberal Democrat Aaron Stonehouse and One Nation MLC for South West Colin Tincknell said their parties would all support the probe.

“I commend Hon Diane Evers for putting for- ward the amendment,” Mr Tincknell said.

“This is exactly what One Nation has been looking for and what we have been talking about.”

Ms Evers’ motion was put, and passed easily.

The inquiry, by the Standing Committee on Estimates and Finan- cial Operations, will be chaired by Liberal Tjorn Sibma, with Labor’s Alanna Clohesy deputising. Ms Evers, Mr Tincknell and Mr Stonehouse are the other members of the committee, slated to report in 12 months’ time.

“If the recommendation comes back supporting the office, it’s very possible we’ll get it in place before the next election,” Ms Evers told The Weekender.

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Coffee shop canned

ALBANY’S chamber of commerce has won a Goliath vs David battle against a coffee van operator who had earned the right to run a tiny kiosk on York Street only to be blocked from doing so after a backflip by three City councillors.

At a council meeting on Tuesday night, Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks, his Frederickstown Ward colleague Rebecca Stephens, Kalgan Ward councillors Emma Doughty and Bill Hollingworth, Vancouver Ward Cr Tracy Sleeman and Yakamia Ward Cr Robert Sutton won a 6-5 vote to sink the kiosk.

That was after Crs Stephens, Hollingworth and Sleeman at a committee meeting on November 12 were among 8 councillors to endorse the City-initiated project. At the committee meeting, Anthony Moir, an apology from Tuesday night’s council meeting, was the only councillor to vote against the kiosk.

Barista Chris Saurin had earlier been named as preferred operator, subject to public consultation.

As revealed here, Mr Saurin’s kiosk was to be called ‘Booked’ , reflecting its location beside the

City library and the new Albany visitor centre. It would have opened out to Alison Hartman Gardens (‘Coffee shop booked in’, 30 August).

Earlier on Tuesday night, in a week when the Chamber’s chair resigned (see page 3), Michael Clark, the fourth man to hold the group’s CEO position in less than a year, stepped to a podium in the Council chambers.

Mr Clark said the planned $9000-a-year lease of a 14.25sqm space, coupled with cash the City planned to spend on works, would amount to a $20,000 subsidy to a business directly competing with eight existing retailers.

He urged the Council to vote down the kiosk “for the sake of all existing coffee retailers” on York Street.

During public consultation, only one submission was lodged – by the Chamber. As previously revealed, the submission had asked why the Council would “orchestrate” a coffee shop at the visitor centre “in direct competition to already struggling businesses in York Street” (‘Coffee shop quiz’ , 15 November).

On Tuesday night, David House of the York Street Cafe and owner of Poppies Jacqui Daniel joined Mr Clark in opposing Booked.

In the gallery, Mr Saurin sat silently.

Yesterday he told The Weekender he would seek advice on whether he could appeal the Council decision in the powerful State Administrative Tribunal.

“If any of [the objectors] had bothered to go to the [City-initiated] open viewings [of the kiosk space], they’d have seen it’s the size of a portaloo in there,” he said.

“There’s enough room for a coffee machine and a fridge.”

Mr Saurin has run a coffee van at the Albany Boatshed Markets for the past decade. He was named preferred operator of the kiosk after being the only applicant to express interest in a request-for-proposals process advertised by the City.

“I’ve been operating a lot longer than some of these cafes that are complaining about me,” he said.

“These cafes, they’re all feeling threatened by me; I don’t know why.

“They just need to have a look at their business model to figure out why they’re suffering.”

Mr Saurin said he had spent “lots” of time filling out council forms, and his son had quit a job in preparation to manage Booked.

“It was supposed to be operating in mid-October,” he said.

“And now all this has happened.”

Mr Saurin said he was once a Chamber member, but would “definitely not” join again.

“They’re off my Christmas card list,” he said.

On Tuesday night, Cr Paul Terry declared an interest and did not take part in debate.

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Language barrier dropped

FOUR tiny primary schools in the Great Southern have escaped having to pay for language teaching delivered from Perth, with the State scrapping plans to charge them $7000-a-class from next year.

In Parliament on November 6, Education Minister Sue Ellery told Shadow Minister Donna Faragher that primary schools with 60 students or fewer would not be charged.

Ms Faragher had asked if fees for language courses provided by the School of Isolated and Distance Education (SIDE) had changed.

Ms Ellery said they had, but that the planned introduction in 2019 of a price-per-class charge had been canned.

Internal sources, who cannot be named, have said the charge per class originally communicated to schools was about $7000-a-year.

Some regional and remote schools offer up to three language classes.

With four affected Great Southern schools ranging in total enrolments from just 22 to 38 students, the sources considered the per class charge – which would have been the same regardless of school size – to be regressive.

Bremer Bay (student population 27), Borden (22), Gairdner (38) and Ongerup (22) are among seven schools in the South West education region – which includes much of the Great Southern – with students enrolled in the language classes.

Thanks to their low enrolments, none of the four schools will be charged under the recently revised model.

In Parliament, Ms Ellery said the new model had been communicated to schools on October 24.

“As a result of feedback that a price per class may not be sustainable for small primary schools, the per-class pricing model was revised for 2019,” she told Ms Faragher.

“From 2019, the price for accessing a primary languages program through SIDE will be calculated on a cost-recovery model, which uses a sliding scale based on student population.

“The price per student for SIDE languages programs will range from a maximum of $701 per student for schools with a primary student population of 200 or more and will reduce [to zero] for schools with small student populations.”

Ms Ellery told The Weekender the full cost recovery figure is $7010 per class.

She said the cost for schools with enrolments of 200 or more would range from a maximum of $701-a-student, reduced for schools with fewer students.

“Every child should have the chance to learn a second language and this is why we made it a priority to make it more affordable for schools with fewer students,” she said.

Last year, Western Australia’s School Curriculum and Standards Authority mandated that from 2018 all Year 3 students would need to study a second language.

By 2023 all students from Years 3 to 8 will be required to learn a second language.

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Hiker sets blistering pace

THE feat of completing the Bibbulmun Track in record time would be enough to satisfy most people, but for Jono Ride, there was barely time for the blisters to heal before setting off on his next adventure.

Ride reached the Bibbulmun Track’s southern terminus in Albany last Wednesday, just 16 days and 14 hours to the minute after setting out from the Kalamunda start-point.

In doing so, he is believed to have become the fastest person to complete the 1005km journey without assistance.

But setting the record was not what inspired Ride to tackle the long hike through the stunning south west of WA.

“I’m a qualified teacher and after not being in the classroom for nearly two years I had to submit an application to start teaching again,” he said.

“When they told me it would take 14 weeks until I could be posted at a school, I found myself significantly unemployed.”

Ride said a quick trip to visit some cousins planted the seed for tackling the Bibbulmun Track.

“I saw a marker for the track when I was driving in the South West and I just thought to myself, ‘I have no reason not to do it’,” he said.

“I was fit, it was the perfect time of year and I hadn’t seen my mate in Albany in a year or so.”

The mate he is referring to is partner in adventuring-crime Leroy Savage, who joined Ride on an epic cycling journey through South America last year (‘Leroy’s great escape’, 11 January).

Although Savage was at the far end of the journey waiting for Ride to arrive in Albany, he was egging him along no less than if they were walking the track together.

“Leroy was making a game out of watching where I was and trying to time meeting up with me on the track,” he said.

“I had my GPS tracker on me, so he could see where I was in real time.”

Despite help and encouragement being just a phone call away, Ride’s intention from the outset was to tackle the entire track without assistance.

“If you do a hike assisted you might as well just walk on a treadmill,” he said.

“When you’re unassisted you have to make sure your timing is perfect for hitting towns.

“If you don’t time it right and hit town too early before the shops open or too late and they’re closed, you’ll miss out on vital supplies.

“It makes it more of a challenge.”

For the last 85km from Denmark to Albany, Ride hot-footed it and walked for 14 hours straight.

“I did 95,000 steps and 14 hours of walking at pace,” he said.

“Doing 10 to 12 hours is pretty standard, but any more than that and you’re dead on your feet.

“You enter another world of pain and exhaustion.”

Having completed the trip that is recommended for six to eight weeks in little more than two, Ride and Savage were already packing their bags for another adventure just days after Ride arrived in Albany.

“We’re going on a secret mission to retrieve a rusted-out car in the desert,” Ride confided in The Weekender.

“I can’t say too much about it, but it’ll be a quick in-and-out adventure.

“Going on trips with Leroy is always good fun because we’ll inevitably get ourselves into a crazy situation but we’ll always get out of it.

“I’m always searching for the kind of fun where you push yourself, hurt yourself or get lost and end up looking back on it in a year or so and thinking, ‘that was some bloody good fun’.”

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Cook comes to table

AFTER critique of his estimated costing and timing for radiotherapy equipment, Health Minister Roger Cook says he will meet with GenesisCare “soon” to discuss “the oncology landscape and range of services currently offered” in the Great Southern.

Last week, Federal Member for O’ Connor Rick Wilson challenged Mr Cook’s $14 million funding estimate for a bunker to house the much-anticipated equipment (‘Cancer cost counted’, 15 November).

Mr Cook’s estimate was based on the cost in 2009 to instal a bunker at Bunbury (‘Cancer cash raincheck’, 8 November).

But Mr Wilson said the Bunbury bunker housed two radiotherapy machines, whereas $6.6 million of funding he recently announced through The Weekender (‘Cancer funding coup’, 13 September) was for one machine only.

He said national company GenesisCare, which installed the Bunbury machines and plans to provide one in Albany, told him a bunker could be built at Albany Health campus for about $3 million.

He said requests from GenesisCare, and from him on the company’s behalf, to meet Mr Cook had fallen on deaf ears.

After deadline last week, Mr Cook revealed the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) had begun a feasibility study, “which will be complete in the course of next year”, into the machine.

“The study will need to include broader master planning considerations for the Albany Health Campus site,” he said.

“It’s important to appreciate that the feasibility study will not only consider the cost of the bunker, but also the supporting infrastructure and associated service costs, with detailed costings required for the full operation of such a service.

“Projects of this scale and complexity rightfully demand appropriate financial due diligence to be observed and, as such, communication is ongoing with the Federal government and the WA Country Health Service.”

Last week, General Manager of GenesisCare WA Michael Davis did not respond to a Weekender request for confirmation of the costing advice relayed by Mr Wilson.

Mr Cook said the Federal funding was welcome, but a bit like giving someone furniture when they do not have a home.

“I’m not going to be hurried into signing a blank cheque to suit Rick Wilson’s Federal election timeframes,” he said.

“In the interim, the Great Southern region currently offers a comprehensive cancer service including visiting medical specialists, specialist cancer nursing services, a day chemotherapy unit, and a complementary therapies unit at the Albany Hospital.”

Until Mr Wilson announced the grant, WACHS had repeatedly said radiotherapy equipment was off the table for the Great Southern until at least 2024.

At last week’s Albany Show, NationalsWA Leader Mia Davies said Mr Cook had unnecessarily politicised provision of the machine.

“The Minister [has] made it about an election, and what we’re talking about is something that is potentially life-saving equipment for not just the people of Albany but for the entire Great Southern,” she said.

“We’ve met with [radiotherapy machine advocate] Mary [Williams] from Denmark who is so passionate about it, and it’s mystifying to me why when you’ve got enormous community support and support coming from the Federal Government that the response from the State Government is that: ‘Oh well, we’ll need to look into it, we’ll need to do the business case’.

“I’m not saying those things don’t need to be done but there doesn’t seem to be any urgency in relation to this, and it’s not a new issue.”

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4WD track promo stalls

PROMOTERS of a Mundaring to Albany four-wheel-drive track have been asked by the State to desist until concerns about dieback and other eco-nasties have been addressed.

In Parliament on Tuesday, Albany-based Greens WA MLC Diane Evers asked Environment Minister Stephen Dawson how many dieback-affected areas the so-called MundAl track would go through, and if the risk of spread had been assessed.

Mr Dawson said the Western Australian 4WD Association launched the track at the Perth 4WD Show on November 9.

“I am advised that no consultation was undertaken with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions even though a significant portion of the 900km track traverses land managed by DBCA,” he said.

“DBCA has now been provided with a digital alignment of the route which has been assessed for its appropriateness in relation to matters such as mining operators, prescribed burning operations, dieback hygiene management, drinking water catchment protection zones, visitor risk management, cultural heritage management and track management.

“While I am supportive of new tourism activities and people getting out and visiting our national parks and reserves, visitor use needs to be appropriately managed at suitable locations.”

Mr Dawson said DBCA had asked the 4WD Association to stop promoting the track until management issues had been “satisfactorily resolved”.

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‘Own your tone’

DENMARK has been named one of 15 melanoma ‘red zones’ outside of the WA metropolitan area with a melanoma diagnosis rate 43 per cent higher than the national average.

Cancer Council WA SunSmart manager Mark Strickland said the new Australian Cancer Atlas, an online resource, identified WA’s melanoma hotspots were along the coast.

The regional hotspots include Denmark, Bunbury, Augusta and Busselton, and he said these findings were not surprising.

“The melanoma hotspots correspond to coastal areas, where there are high concentrations of people who have access to the beach lifestyle – lots of people getting lots of sun,” Mr Strickland explained.

“So we see rates being high in Denmark, Margaret River, Falcon and the northern Perth beaches, all places where people spend time outside at the beach or living the underdressed beach lifestyle.”

Denmark is listed as 43 per cent above the national average for melanoma diagnoses on the Australian Cancer Atlas, compared to Albany’s nine per cent below, Plantagenet’s four per cent below and Kojonup’s two per cent above.

Gnowangerup is listed as eight per cent below the national average, Katanning as 13 per cent below, and the Pemberton region – which includes Walpole – is 10 per cent above.

Cancer Council WA regional education officer for the Great Southern Bruce Beamish said there is no suggestion that a person’s risk of cancer is higher because of geographical area.

He said this means moving to another area “can’t really” influence a person’s cancer risk.

“Denmark, like other melanoma hotspots in WA, has a very beach and outdoor lifestyle, so the chance of UV exposure is increased,” Mr Beamish said.

“Denmark’s cooler climate and beautiful beaches mean that people may not be aware that they are at risk…you can get burnt even if it’s a cool day.”

Denmark Medical Centre doctor Lyn Stoltze said she personally has not seen any positive melanoma diagnoses this year, but reiterated the importance of sun protection.

“A lot of people underestimate…skin damage can occur when it’s cloudy,” Dr Stoltze said.

“So you should still be wearing sunscreen and protective clothing when it’s cloudy, particularly if you work outside or have more vulnerable skin, like English skin.”

Dr Stoltze said she generally has older patients coming in for skin checks but said skin cancer was not age dependent.

She said annual skin checks were the best option for all people.

Albany hairdresser Cathryn Patmore knows about the importance of skin checks, following her melanoma diagnosis at age 12.

The now 19-year-old said she remembers not feeling shocked when she was told she had cancer, as she had seen it in her grandmother and her mother.

“The first sign was when I was 11 and I had a mole, and I thought it should be okay,” Ms Patmore said.

“When I was 12 I had it cut out, and it was cancer, but I didn’t need treatment.”

Ms Patmore said she remained vigilant about her skin from then on and at age 16 identified a “tiny freckle”.

“If I had left it, it would have become melanoma,” she said.

“I recognised it because I’d seen it before with my grandma…it didn’t look right, it was dark, blackened and a weird shape.”

Ms Patmore admitted she never used to wear a rashie at the beach because she didn’t want to look “lame”, but now promotes a very different message.

“Own your tone,” she said.

“I used to get a bit self-conscious about my pale skin, but now I embrace it.

“I’m like a moon, shiny and white, so if I want a tan, it comes out of a bottle.

“And whenever I’m at a festival, I have a little thing of sunscreen clipped to my belt.”

Ms Patmore now uses her knowledge and experience with skin cancer to help others identify unusual lesions in clients.

She said people don’t often check the back of their neck, so she takes it upon herself to have a quick glance when she cuts clients’ hair.

“I had one person last year, and I said to them, ‘you don’t need to freak, but I think you should get that mole checked’,” Ms Patmore said.

“So they did and they had it cut out because it was melanoma.”

Ms Patmore said alongside Mr Beamish, she took part in talks around town last year discussing skin protection and finding unusual lesions.

This, and Ms Patmore’s story, prompted Mr Beamish to teach lessons about skin health to hairdressing, beauty and massage students at South Regional TAFE.

“Knowing your own skin is important,” he said.

“Damage can still occur when it’s cool. It’s not about the temperature – when the UV is over three, your skin starts to suffer damage.”

Mr Beamish said the SunSmart app can help sun-goers wherever they are to identify the UV strength and when they need to don sun protection.

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Naomi’s vision inspires

ALBANY’S Naomi Lake lives by the motto ‘anything is possible’.

Determined to not let her Down Syndrome prevent her from living life, Ms Lake has strived to give everything her best shot and has the results to prove her success.

She’ll be at this year’s Albany Ability Festival on December 5 to showcase her work.

The 28-year-old published her own book in 2014 and toured it more than 4000km across the state last year.

The book, Harmony the Forgetful Hen and the Lost Eggs, was inspired by a few cluckas she spotted one morning, and it allowed her to pursue her writing dream.

“Ever since high school, I’ve wanted to be an author,” she said.

“When I saw the chickens, I could see the characters and that’s where I saw Harmony.”

Ms Lake said she was excited to see her story in a tangible format once it was published, and in celebration, she created a real life Harmony and her baby chicks.

She sewed them from scratch and made a couple of Harmony replicas too, which she’ll sell at the Albany Ability Festival along with copies of her book and Christmas stockings and aprons she’s made.

“Perfect for presents,” Ms Lake smiled.

Festival coordinator Denise Kay said more than 10 other market stallholders will join Ms Lake in the Albany Town Square for the event and encouraged everyone to come down and have a look.

“The ethos is about bringing the whole community together and showing peoples’ abilities,” she said.

“Everyone can do anything.”

Ms Kay said other market stalls would include sculptures, crafts, handmade cards, paintings and jewellery.

Live entertainment will be provided by Emily O’Brien and Connor Menezies from Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company’s Let’s Shine production, the Spencer Park Education Support Centre choir, Terry McKintosh and Highland Hustle among many other acts between 10am and 2pm.

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Wave power pain looms

ALBANY will “wear the pain” if Carnegie does not deliver a wave energy plant for the city, NationalsWA Leader Mia Davies told Parliament this week after the struggling company said it would not meet a revised milestone for State funding.

On Tuesday, heated debate over the plant dominated proceedings in the Legislative Assembly for the second time in recent sittings.

Earlier that day, the ABC aired audio of Carnegie CEO Jonathan Fievez saying the firm would not meet a renegotiated State-set deadline to prove it could finance the wave farm.

“We certainly won’t have $26 mil- lion in a bank account within three weeks,” he said.

“Carnegie’s always been a company that’s raised money to continue to do the work it does.

“It’s reshaped projects as required.”

In Parliament, Ms Davies did not share Mr Fievez’ confidence.

“What an absolute debacle!” she said.

“The government is doggedly defending a sinking ship; there can be no other way to describe Carnegie Clean Energy.

“Despite every new revelation that Carnegie is under a cloud and is un- able to meet its commitments, come hell or high water this government, this Premier and this Minister for Regional Development…is so entangled in this business that the Government cannot back out.”

Ms Davies said the Government would eventually back out, and when it did Albany’s goal to become a 100 per cent renewable energy city would be “left in tatters”.

She said the “community of Albany will wear the pain”.

Opposition Leader Mike Nahan shared Ms Davies’ concerns.

“Look at its balance sheet – [Carnegie] does not have the money!” he said.

“Where is Carnegie going to get $25.6 million for the project?”

He recounted that in July, Carnegie renegotiated its first contract milestone with the State, receiving a half-payment of $2.625 million and a promise of the other $2.625 million – if, by the end of the year, it demonstrated it could finance the plant.

“The negotiation took place and … Carnegie got the money on 28 August,” Dr Nahan said.

“The next day the final audit reports came out and they said that this business is on the way to insolvency.”

Dr Nahan said Carnegie got the $2.625 million after the audit had been completed.

“Did the Premier and Minister for Energy ask to look at the books before they handed over the $2.6 million?” he posed.

“If they had, they would have seen an audit report saying this firm, on its standing, is going under.”

In Carnegie’s financial report for the year ended June 30, an independent auditor concludes there is “material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt about [Carnegie]’s ability to continue as a going concern”.

The auditor highlighted that Carnegie incurred a net loss after tax of $63,349,694 and net cash outflows of $7,193,984 for the year and had $8,436,530 cash at the bank.

In an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange on October 31, Carnegie nominated receipt of the State’s $2.625 million as a “highlight”.

On Tuesday, the company took a $2 million loan from a firm controlled by Carnegie director and former AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick.

The loan will cost Carnegie eight per cent a year until February 28, after which it skyrockets to 18 per cent.

Responding to a motion by Ms Davies that the contract with Carnegie be cancelled and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan be removed from her portfolio, Premier Mark McGowan said she was “doing a very good job and is a hardworking and diligent minister in her responsibilities”.

“As the Minister for Regional Development said on a couple of occasions, … the Federal Government has changed the research and development tax arrangements to limit and cap them at $4 million, which obviously affects Carnegie’s business model because it is a research and development company,” Mr McGowan added.

Ms Davies’ motion was lost, along party lines, 15 votes to 36.

A subsequent motion by Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman – that an inquiry into the awarding and amendment of the wave energy project be initiated – was lost along party lines 15-35.

Mr Fievez declined to speak to The Weekender.

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