Australia: Construction & Infrastructure - What's News - 26 February 2013

Last Updated: 2 March 2013

In the media

Australian consumers 'paying twice' as carbon emitters compensated
Analysis by consultants Carbon and Energy Markets suggests that brown coal power plants in Victoria's Latrobe Valley could get billions of dollars in compensation over the next few years (21 February 2013). More...

ASBEC Steps to NetZero Homes
In two key papers released, the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) laid down what it says represents a roadmap toward 'net-zero' residential housing, a concept in which the housing stock in Australia effectively becomes neutral from the viewpoint of carbon emissions (21 February 2013). More...

Businesses must now report contractor's pay to tax office
Businesses in the building and construction industry must now report to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) the total amount they have paid contractors for building and construction services or risk review or audit and may face penalties (20 February 2013). More...

Major Project Facilitation Status for the FiSH Project
The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport has granted Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status to the National Ports Corporation's Field Support Hub (FiSH) project given its potential to assist in the development of remote resource projects around Australia (20 February 2013). More...

MBA: Builders take on carbon tax burden
Carbon tax adds about $3,800 to the cost of construction of a standard four bedroom, brick veneer house, while the 6-star energy rating adds approximately $5,600, rain water tanks $6,000, and greenhouse-efficient hot water systems up to $3,000 extra (13 February 2013). More...

Australian unions want national asbestos authority
Two of Australia's biggest unions have banded together to call for action on the 'deadly threat of asbestos' they say remains in Australian homes, calling on the Federal Government to 'address the deadly threat of asbestos that is still present in many older homes, government and commercial buildings (13 February 2013). More...

Govt bullying laws will create 'more problems': industry
Under proposed changes to the Fair Work Act, workers who claim they are being bullied would be able to have the matter listed with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) within 14 days of making a complaint. Master Builders said the measures would create confusion and more red tape, adding that union officials should be targeted along with workers and employers.t (13 February 2013). More...

Major warehousing development at Epping Market
A massive project to deliver in excess of 100,000 square metres of warehousing in the new Melbourne Wholesale Market development at Epping was announced by Minister for Major Projects Denis Napthine today (20 February 2013). More...

More overtaking lanes for the Western Highway
Cut and Fill Pty Ltd has been awarded the contract to install new overtaking lanes along the Western Highway, with work expected to begin later this month and be completed in November 2013 (14 February 2013). More...

Construction starts on $10 million Castlemaine hospital redevelopment
Minister for Health David Davis and Treasurer Kim Wells today marked the start of construction works for the $10 million redevelopment of Castlemaine Hospital (13 February 2013). More...

Tough New Rules for Coal Seam Gas Activity
The NSW Government have declared country towns and suburbs across NSW 'no go zones' for CSG activities in NSW, and established the Environment Protection Authority as the cop on the beat to enforce environmental and health regulations (20 February 2013). More...

NSW Housing And Construction Jumps
NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard has welcomed the latest figures on housing approvals and completions in Sydney, showing the highest annual housing approvals since 2003-04, with a 22 per cent jump in approvals and 31 per cent jump in new home completions in the last six months of 2012 (19 February 2013). More...

Pathway To Solar Thermal For Coal-Fired Collinsville
The Australian Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency's (ARENA) Emerging Renewables Program, will invest in a RATCH-Australia Corporation Limited initiated feasibility study feasibility study that is investigating the conversion of Collinsville Power Station into a hybrid gas/solar thermal plant (20 February 2013). More...

Brisbane's Airport Link $3 billion debt 'a fiasco'
The Australian Shareholders Association (ASA) has described Brisbane's Airport Link as the "biggest construction project disaster" in recent history. Toll road operator BrisConnections went into receivership yesterday with debts totalling more than $3 billion (20 February 2013). More...

Far North Queensland to benefit from Bowen Basin mining
Cairns and the far north could expect an economic boost from today's announcement by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) to source part of its workforce for two new mines from the region (20 February 2013). More...

New unit ends self-assessment at BSA
Complaints about the Building Services Authority will now be handled by a separate unit within the Department of Housing and Public Works. The new unit will focus on process and staff conduct issues but will not review technical decisions about building industry disputes (22 February 2013). More...

Queensland's major projects boom is over
The number and scale of major construction projects in Queensland will fall by more than $7.5 billion over the next four years, a new report shows. The 2013 Major Projects Report has found the amount of construction work on major projects will fall from an all-time high of $18.5 billion in 2012-13 to $10.9 billion in 2016-17 (20 February 2013). More...

Collinsville Coal Mine to move to owner-operator model in 2013
The Collinsville Coal Mine joint venture plans to change its operating model from contractor-operated to owner-operated. The mine, located in Queensland's Bowen Basin, has suffered substantial financial losses in 2012/13 (19 February 2013). More...

Queensland Parliament passes changes to flood laws
In the first sitting of Queensland's Parliament for the year, the Newman Government has pushed through changes to the law that will help flood-affected communities recover as quickly as possible, introducing the Queensland Reconstruction Authority Amendment Bill 2013 to Parliament (15 February 2013). More...

Flood victims urged to use licensed builders
Master Builders Queensland (MBQ) says flood-hit residents can visit its website to search for licensed contractors (15 February 2013). More...

Rainwater tanks no longer necessary
New laws scrapping the requirement for new properties to include rainwater tanks and energy efficient hot water systems have been released by the Queensland Government. Under the new laws, Councils will be able to opt to retain mandatory rainwater tank requirements where they can prove a net benefit to the community (14 February 2013). More...

Newman Government approves oil shale industry
The creation of new jobs and broad economic benefits are expected, following the Newman Government announcement that it will allow the development of a commercial oil shale industry in Queensland under strict environmental conditions (13 February 2013). More...

Government industry briefing underway for recovery works
Road and transport infrastructure costing $1.1 billion will form a pipeline of flood recovery work released to market over the next five months (13 February 2013). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Survey of Industry Conditions report December 2012
Author: Master Builders Australia
The report investigated the impact on the building industry since the introduction of the carbon tax in July 2012. The survey tells us that 36% of respondents have simply absorbed the additional costs to keep their prices down and remain competitive in such a tight market (February 2013). More...

Good faith, unconscionability, reasonableness – what on earth do they have to do with construction law
Author: Tomas Kennedy-Grant; Building and Construction Law Journal, 2013, Vol 29, No 1 February

In practice and courts

Consultation - Draft National Harmonised Regulatory Framework for Coal Seam Gas
Submissions due 28 February on Standing Council on Energy and Resources- on the Draft National Harmonised Regulatory Framework for Coal Seam Gas. More...

ABCB National Construction Code 2013 - Information Seminars
The Australian Building Codes Board is finalising updates to the 2013 National Construction Code (NCC), and as building and plumbing industry practitioners you need to know what changes are coming into effect. The NCC takes effect on 1 May 2013 (February 2013). More...

Building Australia's Future Conference 2013
The Australian Building Codes Board, with Master Plumbers Australia and the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors, will jointly deliver the pre-eminent National Construction Industry Conference of 2013in Brisbane on 13-15 September (Februaqry 2013). More...

GreenRate Consultation - Living Building Challenge (LBC) Standard (International)
The objective behind the draft standard is to provide builders with assurances that products that are certified as meeting the standard will satisfy LBC requirements from a building materials perspective. .Comments about the new standard are open until March 8. More...

NSW: Rules for Coal Seam Gas Activity
A two kilometre buffer will be imposed for CSG activities across existing residential zones, as well as lands identified for future residential growth. Critical Industry Clusters identified under the Strategic Regional Land Use Plans will be excluded from CSG activities. These exclusion zones will apply to any CSG activity that has not yet been approved under the EP&A Act or the Petroleum (Onshore) Act (20 February 2013). More...

NSW: Dendrobium Coal Mine Project 2013
Underground coal mining over a 21 year period, and construction and operation of associated surface facilities. Consolidated Consent (1) Area 3B Subsidence Management Plan(34) Application Number DA 60-03-2001 Determined 20/11/2001. More...

NSW: Building Professional Board Bulletin - 13 February 2013
Licenses, changes to codes and regulations for NSW practitioners. More...

QLD: Guidelines for special fire services and referrals to the QFRS
New guidelines provide building certifiers with guidance on how to meet their responsibilities for building development applications requiring referral to the QFRS for advice. The new guidelines are made under section 258 of the Building Act 1975 (13 February 2013). More...

QLD: BSA Natural Disaster Repairs Contract
The BSA Queensland launches a new for homeowners and contractors click on Publications and Products (February 2013). More...


Spinks & Co Pty Ltd v Tomkins Commercial and Industrial Builders Pty Ltd [2013] FCA 107
CORPORATIONS – statutory demand – application to set aside a statutory demand – building and construction contract – prior adjudication given by building industry adjudicator registered as District Court judgment
Held: no valid offsetting claim by the plaintiff –amount of the statutory demand should be varied – no other reason why statutory demand should be set aside
COSTS – whether an order for costs should take into account the plaintiff's relative success to the variation of the statutory demand – plaintiff and defendant had both made concessions prior to the application – defendant enjoyed success on the principal area of dispute on application
Held: costs awarded to the defendant on the standard basis
Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) ss 459E, 459G, 459H, 459J; Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth); Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld). More...

Owners Corporation SP 66595 v BS and JH Bailey, Suncorp Metway Insurance (Home Building) [2013] NSWCTTT
APPLICATION: The homeowners have brought these applications alleging defective work and breach of statutory warranty in relation to the construction of their home unit premises
Home Building Act 1989- The preliminary issue for determination in this decision relates only to the Tribunals jurisdiction arising as a consequence of the relevant time limitation imposed by Section 18E of the Act.
Held: That the builders application to dismiss the application by the homeowners on the basis that it is out of time is dismissed. More...

Peri v A1 Civil Formwork Pty Ltd [2013] NSWSC 73
Leave given to plaintiff to discontinue the proceedings against all defendants.
Second defendant to pay plaintiff's costs of proceedings against second defendant.
PROCEDURE - discontinuance of proceedings - determination of costs - principles of proper approach to award of costs where proceedings discontinued
Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999; Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005. More...

Parkview Qld Pty Ltd v Commonwealth Bank of Australia [2013] NSWSC 79
Defendant not a constructive trustee
TRUSTS - constructive trust - whether retention monies held on constructive trust by bank- whether bank trustee de son tort - implied representations
BUILDING CONTRACT - breach of contract - retention
Financial Sector (Business Transfer and Group Restructure) Act 1999 (Cth); Uniform Civil Procedure Rules. More...

Illawarra Hotel Company Pty Ltd v Walton Construction Pty Ltd [2013] NSWCA 6
CONTRACTS - building engineering and related contracts - variations - delays - extensions of time - PROCEDURE - proceedings or part thereof referred to a referee for inquiry and report - function of court upon motion for adoption of referee's report - function of appellate court upon appeal from decision on such motion - consideration of whether sufficient evidentiary basis for various decisions of judge upon motion for adoption - DAMAGES - breach of contract - delay in completion of works - appropriate manner of assessing damages for late completion - INTEREST - pre-judgment interest - applicable regime for computing interest in the particular case. More...

Owners SP 69050 v Glenzeil Pty Ltd (Home Building) [2013] NSWCTTT 17
Home Building Act – Application by Owners Corporation – Breach of Statutory Warranties – Negligence- Damages – common property – limitation period for bringing claims. More...

Hyperion Technology Pty Ltd v Queensland Motorways Ltd [2013] QSC 020
CORPORATIONS – LEGAL CAPACITY AND RELATIONS WITH OUTSIDERS – EXTERNAL LITIGATION PROCEDURE – COSTS – SECURITY FOR COSTS – DISCRETION OF COURT – where plaintiff contended that contract had been repudiated by defendant – where plaintiff challenged defendant's application for security for costs order – where plaintiff contended that defendant's delay caused prejudice – where plaintiff contended that security for costs order would be oppressive – where no security offered by plaintiff's shareholders or creditors - where plaintiff contended that plaintiff's financial position was caused by defendant's conduct - whether discretion to order security for costs should be exercised

CORPORATIONS – LEGAL CAPACITY AND RELATIONS WITH OUTSIDERS – EXTERNAL LITIGATION PROCEDURE – COSTS – SECURITY FOR COSTS – QUANTUM AND SUFFICIENCY – where dispute as to quantum of costs – where expert evidence as to costs likely to be incurred relied upon– whether discretion to order security for costs should be exercised. More...

Matthews v SPI Electricity Pty Ltd & Ors and SPI Electricity Pty Ltd v ACN 060 674 580 & Ors (formerly Utilities Services Corporation Ltd) [2013] VSC 33
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Discovery and inspection - Client legal privilege – expert reports disclosed, used and relied on in pre-trial expert conclaves – express waiver of privilege in expert reports – production and inspection resisted of other privileged documents - associated materials waiver – documents influencing or underpinning expert reports – whether privileged waived – whether disclosure and reliance on expert reports at experts conclaves inconsistent with maintenance of privilege over other materials – timing of any waiver - ss. 122 (2) and 126 Evidence Act 2008. More...

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