Australia: What's News In Construction & Infrastructure? - 20 November 2013

Last Updated: 21 November 2013
Article by Chris Edquist

In the media

Government's new front in battle with unions
The government will open a new front in its campaign to challenge unions and slash costs across the construction industry, as it examines ways to accelerate major projects, including city motorways with new legislation (13 November 2013).  More...

Cost burden on business leads to suspension of new building safety codes
Three health-and-safety codes of practice are being suspended in South Australia because of the cost burden on business. The codes are part of controversial work safety legislation (14 November 2013). More...

HIA: ABCC Must Be Restored
The Housing Industry Association has welcomed the introduction into Parliament of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013, stating the  re-emergence of pattern bargaining, the black-banning of certain suppliers and manufacturers and the use of standover tactics against independent contractors and other non- EBA businesses are unacceptable (14 November 2013).  More...

HIA: Residential Construction Market Strong
The spring edition of its National Outlook report, the Housing Industry Association (HIA) indicates activity in new residential construction throughout Australia is set to remain strong in coming years as the number of housing starts returns to its post-GFC stimulus peak by 2016/17  (14 November 2013).  More...

ALGA: Local roads and bridges facing ruin hits $11.6bn
At least $11.6 billion in roads and bridge infrastructure maintained by cash-strapped councils across Australia are now in a poor to very poor condition according to the latest stocktake of public works assets from the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) (14 November 2013).  More...

Infrastructure probe to aid development
The government has announced a Productivity Commission inquiry into infrastructure costs and financing with the hope of attracting private investment. Government and privately-funded initiatives - such as motorways - will be analysed for cost and financing with a draft report expected in six months (14 November 2013).  More...

Axing carbon tax costs budget $7.4bn
The Government has revealed a $7.37bn hit to the budget over the forward estimates from its repeal of the carbon tax. The financial impact was revealed in a table reprinted below from theexplanatory memorandum the Government introduced to the Parliament today (13 November 2013). More...

Residential  leads construction sector comeback
The construction sector has experienced growth for the first time in over three years, according to the latest Australian Performance of Construction Index. The index jumped 6.8 points to 54.4 in October, passing the 50 mark that indicates expansion (07 November 2013).  More...


Urban Taskforce: Strata Act changes will support growth in apartments
The proposed changes to the NSW Strata Act will give greater confidence to the development industry and to owners corporations that apartment buildings will be well designed and managed. The proposal to require an independent expert assessment of the condition of a building a year after completion will give all parties an impartial umpire who will assess defects and monitor rectification (14 November 2013).  More...

NSW Government imposes hold on CSG activities to protect Sydney Water Catchment
The NSW Government has implemented a hold on exploration and extraction of natural gas from coal seams in the 'Special Areas' zone within Sydney's drinking water catchment effective immediately,  until there is greater understanding of potential impacts of exploration and extraction of natural gas from coal seams (12 November 2013).  More...

Proposed changes to NSW Security of Payment legislation
The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Amendment Bill 2013 (the Bill) has been introduced to the NSW parliament, aiming to stem the tide of insolvencies in the NSW construction industry (12 November 2013).  More...

Update on the State's infrastructure investment
An update report on the progress of infrastructure projects being delivered across the State has been released today. The State Infrastructure Plan Update covers projects in transport, roads, energy, water, health, education, justice, housing, tourism and the arts (13 November 2013).  More...

Court ruling allows commercial property owner negligence claims against builders
The NSW Court of Appeal has opened the door for owners corporations for commercial buildings to bring claims of negligence for pure economic loss against builders - an action previously thought to be limited to subsequent purchasers of residential buildings (06 November 2013). More...

Western Sydney Parklands to be home to construction jobs
Western Sydney Parklands is on track to create 8,800 jobs for the people of Western Sydney. The draft plan proposes three business hubs to be located within each of the three Local Government Areas of Blacktown, Fairfield and Liverpool (05 November 2013).  More...


Dam operator fined over death of child at Blackwater weir
Dam operator SunWater has been fined $80,000 over the death of a child when a dam wall collapsed in central Queensland in 2008 (11 October 2013).  More...

Qld to offer coal incentives
The Newman government will today announce incentives for coal mines in the remote Galilee Basin using a ramp-up royalty period for miners. As a  raft of changes including a faster planning and land acquisition process as well as the discounted royalties will be offered to aid development of the basin, 500km from the Queensland coast (07 November 2013).  More...


Worksafe inspectors to focus on border construction safety
A project to raise the awareness with local construction businesses of the similarities and ease of working on either side of the border will begin in Echuca and Moama this week (11 November 2013). More...

$400m in water contracts for southeast Melbourne
Water and sewerage retailer South East Water has announced the appointment of two design and construction alliances to undertake approximately $400 million of water and sewerage works.

Two joint ventures were awarded contracts: Fulton Hogan, Delplant and Beca; and Comdain Infrastructure, Downer EDI and MWH (14 November 2013).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Housing Finance, Australia, September 2013
Australian Bureau of Statistics
The trend estimate for the total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions rose 0.8%. Investment housing commitments rose 1.5% and owner occupied housing commitments rose 0.4%. In original terms, the number of first home buyer commitments as a percentage of total owner occupied housing finance commitments fell to 12.5% in September 2013 from 13.7% in August 2013 (11 November 2013).  More...

In practice and courts

Buildings Plan for a Zero Carbon Australia
Beyond Zero Emissions has published a free Buildings Plan for a Zero Carbon Australia. It shows how we can reach zero carbon building emissions within 10 years with available technology

(08 November 2013).  More...

National Asbestos Forum 2013
To be held on Monday 25 November 2013 at the Hilton Hotel Sydney Registration is now openMore...

Energy Efficiency Council National Conference 2013
To be held at the Rydges Melbourne Hotel on 3-4 December 2013m the Energy Efficiency Council's National Conference is a unique event that brings together leading energy users, energy efficiency experts and government to network, gain critical insights and set the agenda on energy efficiency.  More...

National Consultations open
Hosted by Infrastructure Australia, submissions close 28 November 2013.  More...

NSW: Building Practitioners Board Bulletin, 08 November 2013
Covers indemnity insurance, BASIX, new legislation for the building industry.  More...

QLD: New Building standards in force
From 1 November 2013: under the Building and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 and the new Queensland Development Code Mandatory Part 1.4 (MP 1.4) all installations of roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels and solar hot water systems (solar collectors) are self-assessable building work (November 2013).  More...

Inspectors to focus on border construction safety – WorkCover Authority of NSW
Inspectors from WorkSafe Victoria and WorkCover NSW will visit construction sites from November 11-15 to help businesses understand their work health and safety obligations when operating in a border town (November 2013).  More...


Draybi One Pty Ltd v Norms Carpentry & Joinery Pty Ltd [2013] NSWSC 1676
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - civil - interlocutory issues - determination of separate questions BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION -Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 -- determination of reference date - whether two identical payment claims were in respect of the same reference date - whether the Act precludes service of second payment claim.  More...

Request By Unions NSW and Newcastle Trades Hall Council for assistance of the Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales re Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group 2AA and 2F Construction Project Joined With NCIG Coal Loader Construction Project Stage 2 - Hatch & Associates Pty Ltd and Unions NSW and affiliates [2013] NSWIRComm 94
Decision: Project completed. Major coal infrastructure project. $2.5 billion Project completed six months ahead of schedule. $200 million under budget. No lost time due to industrial dispute. Exemplary safety record. Co-operative and active implementation of industrial agreement with assistance of the Commission. Positive engagement by Unions, employees and management in safety and productivity issues - Industrial Relation Act 1996.  More...

Chan v Wood and Kai Design & Construction Pty Ltd [2013] ACTSC 228
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – declaration sought that adjudicator fell into jurisdictional error – whether plaintiff's intention at time of entering into contract was to reside in property – consideration of plaintiff's intention – Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Act 2009 s 9(2)(b)

ESTOPPEL – estoppels in pais – whether reliance on representation – absence of reliance – reliance not reasonable in any case - Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Act 2009 (ACT) s 9(2)(b).  More...



Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013
The Bill re-establishes the ABCC by replacing the Office of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate and putting in place a regulator with powers that proved strong and effective under the BCII Act. Like the BCII Act, Chapters 5 and 6 of the Bill include building industry specific provisions relating to unlawful action and coercion and restores the higher penalties for contraventions of those provisions - Intro Reps and Second Reading Speech – 14 November 2013.  More...

Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013
Amends: Jurisdiction of Courts (Cross - Vesting) Act 1987; Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 and Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012.  The Bill will ensure a smooth transition from the institutions, functions and powers created by the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012 (the FWBI Act) to the new regime established by the BCI (IP) Bill. The Bill also deals with residual operation of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 where necessary - Intro Reps and Second Reading Speech – 14 November 2013.  More...

Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2013
Amends : Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009; Fair Work Act 2009.
The amendments that provide for the disclosure of material personal interests, increased accounting and disclosure obligations, criminal offences for serious breaches of officers' duties and increased civil penalties broadly mirror those that apply to companies and their directors under the Corporations Act 2001 and have been adapted to align with the RO Act framework - Intro Reps and Second Reading Speech – 14 November 2013.  More...


Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament

Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Amendment Bill 2013  - 12-11-2013.
An Act to amend the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 with respect to the timing of, and other requirements for, payments under construction contracts; and for other purposes.

Civil and Administrative Legislation (Repeal and Amendment) Bill 2013

Civil and Administrative Tribunal Amendment Bill 2013

Mining Amendment (Development Consent) Bill 2013 – 12-11-2013
The object of this Bill to amend the Mining Act 1992 to clarify the requirement for appropriate development consents for activities carried out under mining leases.

Regional Relocation (Home Buyers Grant) Amendment Bill 2013 – 12-11-2013
Amends Regional Relocation (Home Buyers Grant) Act 2011.
An Act to amend the Regional Relocation (Home Buyers Grant) Act 2011 to permit grants to be made available under that Act to persons who relocate from metropolitan areas to regional areas for the purposes of employment, self employment or purchasing a home; and for other purposes.



No 224: Queensland Building Services Authority and Other Legislation Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2013.
Amends licence requirements for repairs, including certification under the legislation listed here Building Act 1975; Domestic Building Contracts Act 2000; Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002; Public Service Act 2008; Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991.

No 225: Professional Standards (Professional Surveyors Occupational Association Scheme) Notice 2013
Amends the Professional Standards Act 2004 and Notification13/11/2013 Commencement 13/11/2013.
The primary objective of this subordinate legislation is to give notice of the approval by the Professional Standards Council of New South Wales of the Professional Surveyors Occupational Association Scheme (the scheme), designed to limit the occupational liability of members of the Professional Surveyors Occupational Association (PSOA).

Queensland legislation can be accessed at


Electricity Safety Amendment (Bushfire Mitigation) Bill – 12-11-2013
Legislative Assembly 12/11/2013 Introduced and read a first time.
This Bill is for an Act to amend the Electricity Safety Act 1998 in relation to the mitigation of bushfire risks arising from electric lines and electricity networks and for other purposes.  More...

Owners Corporations Amendment Bill 2013 – 12-11-2013
A Bill for an Act to amend the Owners Corporations Act 2006 in relation to the levying of fees, and the recovery of costs, for repairs, maintenance or other works and for other purposes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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