Australia: Construction & Infrastructure - What's News - 18 March 2014

Last Updated: 24 March 2014
Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption Established
The Governor-General has issued Letters Patent to establish the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption and appoint the Hon Dyson Heydon AC QC as Royal Commissioner. The establishment of the Royal Commission delivers on the Government's commitment to establish a judicial inquiry into the Australian Workers' Union slush fund scandal (14 March 2014). More...

Questions over Whitehaven Coal offsetting at Maules Creek
Big mining projects are embroiled in claims their offsets are grossly inadequate and a Senate inquiry has been launched into claims the policy is failing (14 March 2014). More...

Statement on Productivity Commission draft report
The Productivity Commission report into the cost and funding of infrastructure provides an excellent framework to increase the pace and quality of Australia's infrastructure investment – but national leadership and increased Federal investment will be the key to success, says Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (13 March 2014). More...

Native title and mining leases co-exist
The High Court of Australia has made a landmark ruling in favour of traditional owners following a long-running native title dispute in Western Australia's Pilbara region. The High Court dismissed the appeal and determined that native title rights were not extinguished by 50-year-old mining leases (13 March 2014). More...

Union pays dearly for strikes
McDonald threatened a hydraulics worker in March last year to stop him entering the Mundaring Water Treatment plant on the third day of a stoppage. The threat was at one of several strikes at two Brookfield Multiplex sites last year that this week cost the union $500,000 in compensation and about $200,000 in penalties (13 March 2014). More...

Hadgkiss warns employers and workers to follow workplace laws when attending rallies
Workers are reminded they must get permission from their employer before leaving work to attend rallies, or they risk breaking workplace laws and could be brought before the courts. FWBC is also warning employers and unions they could face penalties if they are involved in paying or demanding strike pay (09 March 2014). More...

Building approvals soar to record levels
Statistics show that building approvals have reached record levels. In January 2014, the number of dwellings approved rose 1.3 per cent, in trend terms, and has been on the rise for 15 months according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (07 March 2014). More...

New South Wales

Union questions safety after Barangaroo fire
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CMFEU) is calling for an urgent safety audit of major Sydney building sites following a large underground fire at the Barangaroo construction site. The union said it is the third major safety scare on a building site in the past 18 months (13 March 2014). More...

Building approvals on the rise
Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard has announced a new mandate to fast-track approvals for new homes and renovations, and deliver major scale renewal projects to meet the demand for new homes across NSW (10 March 2014). More...


Coalition Government to assess future of Victoria's ports
Minister for Ports David Hodgett said the Coalition Government is committed to an integrated ports strategy and wants to ensure the best efficiency is achieved out of Victoria's commercial ports network (05 March 2014). More...

Unpaid building permit levies – VBA acts
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has launched legal proceedings against a building surveyor who owes more than $38,000 in unpaid building permit levies. The building surveyor failed to pass on to the VBA the levies from building permits he issued in 2013 (05 March 2014). More...


Hope for Peninsula Development Rd revamp to fuel other projects
The head of a new task force overseeing a $220 million upgrade of Cape York's main arterial road says he hopes it will help pave the way for more major infrastructure projects in the region (14 March 2014). More...

Industry backs Toowoomba Second Range Crossing
The infrastructure sector has thrown its support behind the Abbott and Newman governments' Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project with 63 consortia and individual companies submitting Registrations of Interest (ROI) (08 March 2014). More...

Insurance data predicts lift in construction activity
Construction activity is set to boom across the state, with insurance policy data released by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) increasing by 27 per cent in two years (06 March 2014). More...

Queensland's resources sector moving up the ranks
The Minister for Natural Resources and Mines releases the results of the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2013. Between 83 and 90 per cent of companies believed Queensland's regulation reforms, best practices and political stability supported investment decisions in the resources sector (05 March 2014). More...

Nineteen bidders vie for integrated resorts
A total of 19 national and international developers have registered their interest in delivering up to three new world-class Integrated Resort Developments in Queensland. Proponents now have until 31 March to make a formal Expression of Interest (05 March 2014). More...

Greater certainty delivered for industry and landholders
Growth and certainty in the resources industry will be encouraged with proposed reforms to streamline legislation, with the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines releasing two discussion papers for public consultation to address mining lease notification and objections and restricted land access (04 March 2014). More...

Union officials penalised for hindering work on Brisbane construction site
The CFMEU and three union officials have been penalised a total $38,500 for hindering, obstructing and acting in an improper manner on a Brisbane construction site (03 March 2014). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Opinion: How and Why Building Cases are Lost
Both financially and emotionally, the impact associated with losing building cases cannot be underestimated (10 March 2014). More...

In practice and courts

Public Infrastructure: Draft report
This report was released on 13 March 2014. The public are invited to examine the draft report and to make written submissions and to participate in public hearings. Volume 1 contains the Overview, Draft recommendations, findings and information requests, and Chapters 1 to 7. Volume 2 contains Chapters 8 to 14 and appendices. More...

Reminder: Revision to Walkways, Ladders and Platforms Standard AS 1657
The new 2013 revised version will be referenced in the National Construction Code (NCC) on 1 May 2014 This revision is more reflective of the changes within the industry and seeks to align current Work Health Safety (WHS) regulations and the NCC (March 2014). More...

Current consultations

Public comment reminder: Fire Hydrant Installation [AS 2419.1]
Standards Australia has released the draft Standard AS 2419.1 Fire hydrant installations. Part 1 System design, installation and commissioning for public comment. The Standard applies to the design, installation and commissioning of any fire hydrant used to protect buildings, yards, marinas, wharves and plant The public comment period is open for submissions until 2 April 2014. More...

NSW: Consultation reminder - BPB Report on Building Certification and Regulation
The Building Professionals Board (BPB) is seeking public comment on a building certification and regulation report which has just been publicly released. Submissions close on 24 March 2014. More...

NSW: Request for Proposals for South East Light Rail
The proposal is for the major contract covering the design, construction, services relocations, operation, maintenance and finance of the new 12-kilometre CBD and South East Light Rail (07 March 2014). More...

QLD: Department of Mines: Guideline for Operating Plant under the Petroleum and Gas Production and Safety Act 2004 and interaction with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011
This document provides a guide of what is operating plant as defined under the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 and how the safety provisions under that Act and safety-related provisions under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (04 March 2014). More...

QLD: Proposed QDC: commissioning and maintenance of fire safety installation and equipment
The Department of Housing and Public Works has released proposed amendments to the Queensland Development Code (QDC), Mandatory Part 6.1 (MP 6.1)-Commissioning and maintenance of fire safety installations . The proposed amendments include a transition to the 2012 edition of Australian Standard (AS) 1851-Routine service or fire protection systems and equipment. It is intended the proposed amendments to MP 6.1 will help achieve a reduction in red tape and provide savings for the fire safety maintenance industry and property owners.


BHP Coal Pty Ltd v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (No 2) [2014] FCA 193
INDUSTRIAL LAW – penalties – union respondent implemented unlawful overtime policy – contravention of ss 340, 345, 349, and 417 Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether pecuniary penalty ought be imposed – whether pecuniary penalty ought be payable to applicant – whether contraventions constitute single course of conduct – principles relevant to determining appropriate pecuniary penalty – whether order prohibiting respondent from implementing overtime policy appropriate – whether order requiring respondent to issue written statement that overtime policy is unlawful and withdrawn appropriate. Within 30 days of this Order the first respondent pay the applicant pecuniary penalties in the sum of $33,000. More...

Electricity Generation Corporation v Woodside Energy Ltd; Woodside Energy Ltd v Electricity Generation Corporation [2014] HCA 7
Contract - Construction – Long term gas supply agreement – Sellers obliged to use "reasonable endeavours" to supply supplemental gas – Agreement allowed sellers to take into account all "relevant commercial, economic and operational matters" in determining whether able to supply supplemental gas – Gas explosion at plant operated by third party temporarily reduced supply of gas to market – Sellers refused to supply supplemental gas at price stipulated in agreement during period of reduced supply – Sellers offered to supply equivalent quantities of gas at higher price under separate short term agreements – Whether sellers breached obligation to use "reasonable endeavours" to supply supplemental gas. Words and phrases – "able", "reasonable endeavours", "relevant commercial, economic and operational matters". More...

The Owners - Strata Plan No. 51077 v Meriton Apartments Pty Ltd [2014] NSWSC 129
PROCEDURE - civil - when a court should exercise power to strike out a claim in a List Statement - when there is no reasonable cause of action - NEGLIGENCE - whether a contractor owes a non-delegable duty of care in respect of activities of a subcontractor - no duty owed where contractor engages a subcontractor to carry out a non-hazardous part of construction project. Practice Note SC Eq 3 Supreme Court Equity Division - Commercial List and Technology and Construction List; Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth). More...

Beyfield Pty Ltd v Northbuild Construction Sunshine Coast Pty Ltd [2014] QSC 012
CONTRACTS – BUILDING, ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – THE CONTRACT – CONSTRUCTION OF PARTICULAR CONDITIONS AND IMPLIED CONDITIONS – SECURITY AND RETENTION FUNDS – where a subcontractor gave a head contractor bank guarantees as security for the performance of its obligations – where the head contractor alleged certain breaches on the part of the subcontractor and sought to call on the guarantees – where the contract provided for recourse to the retention following notice being given of a liquidated or unliquidated demand – whether the provision was inconsistent with s 67E of the Queensland Building Services Act 1991 and therefore inoperative. More...

Conveyor & General Engineering Pty Ltd v Basetec Services Pty Ltd and Anor [2014] QSC 030
CONTRACTS – BUILDING, ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – RENUMERATION – STATUTORY REGULATION OF ENTITLEMENT TO AND RECOVERY OF PROGRESS PAYMENTS – ADJUDICATION OF PAYMENT CLAIMS – where the applicant challenges an adjudicator's decision under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) – where some of the adjudication application was served on the applicant by way of email – where other documents in the adjudication application were contained in a Dropbox file - whether the adjudication application was properly served on the applicant. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS OF REVIEW – PROCEDURAL FAIRNESS – GENERALLY – where the applicant challenges an adjudicator's decision under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) – whether the adjudicator erred in concluding that the applicant was out of time to provide an adjudication response – whether the refusal to permit an adjudication response deprived the adjudicator of jurisdiction. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS OF REVIEW – PROCEDURAL FAIRNESS – GENERALLY – where the applicant challenges an adjudicator's decision under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) – whether the adjudicator erred in concluding that the applicant was out of time to provide an adjudication response – whether the refusal to permit an adjudication response was a denial of natural justice. More...

Metier3 Pty Ltd v Enwerd Pty Ltd & Anor [2014] VSC 80
BUILDING CONTRACTS – Construction of Deed of Settlement - Entitlement to final payment following issue of certificate of Practical Completion - Determination of contractual terms – Principles of construction - Relevant considerations — Surrounding circumstances — Intention of parties to a commercial agreement – Validity of certificate – Duty of Superintendent - Commercial efficacy CONTRACT – Construction of Deed of Settlement - Entitlement to final payment following issue of certificate of Practical Completion - Determination of contractual terms – Principles of construction - Relevant considerations — Surrounding circumstances — Intention of parties to a commercial agreement – Validity of certificate - Commercial efficacy. PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 (Vic) – Rule 47.04 - Preliminary question for determination. More...

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