Australia: Construction & Infrastructure - What's News - 30 September 2014

Last Updated: 8 October 2014
Article by Chris Edquist, Stephen Natoli and Tony Britt

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Voluntary administrations set to rise as record numbers of ASX companies face collapse
Recent research has shown that nearly a third of all ASX-listed companies were close to insolvent in 2013, including more than half of the smallest 500 and 28 per cent of medium companies. Those in the energy and mining, consumer staples, industrials, health care and utilities sectors were at greatest risk of collapse (26 September 2014). More...

Green groups win time to challenge dumping
Green groups have won more time to legally challenge plans to dump dredge spoil from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park on land. The Mackay Conservation Group won more time in the Federal Court in Brisbane to appeal any possible proposal, which the state government is yet to outline (25 September 2014). More...

Housing boom offsets collapse in mining jobs
Last week's quarterly industry employment figures showed once again that anyone hoping the export phase of the mining boom might be an employment bonanza is sadly mistaken, but the housing boom shows good signs of helping the transition towards the post-boom economy. Building industry employment grew by 2.8% in the past year (22 September 2014). More...

Over 1 million with jobs: building and construction is Australia's third largest employer
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) building and construction employment data cements the building and construction industry as the nation's third largest employer (24 September 2014). More...

Energy Green Paper setting policy direction for an energy superpower
The Australian Government has released an Energy Green Paper, which sets a framework for the development of a coherent and comprehensive blueprint that will allow Australia to take full advantage of its natural strengths and consolidate its position as an energy superpower (23 September 2014). More...

Green Paper backs NSW and QLD energy reform
The National Energy Green Paper adds substantial weight and momentum toward the restructure and lease of remaining publicly owned electricity assets, says Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (23 September 2014). More...

AECOM's Blue Book reveals trends disrupting productivity across Australia's construction sector
AECOM has released the 2014 edition of Blue Book – Property & Construction Handbook, which contains insights from key thought leaders on the disruptive trends that are impacting productivity across the Australian, New Zealand and global construction sectors (22 September 2014). More...

MBA: Harper Review Draft Report Highlights Important Reforms For The Building Industry
The Harper Review's draft recommendations to reform planning and zoning processes needs further review given the major impact of local government inefficiency on housing affordability, according to the CEO of Master Builders Australia (22 September 2014). More...

Australian gas exports to fast growing Asia markets on target
With seven new liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects due for completion between 2014 and 2018, Australia is set to become the world's largest supplier of LNG ahead of Qatar before this decade ends, according to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (19 September 2014). More...

Governments focus on growth and infrastructure: G20
At the State and Territory Treasurers meeting in Cairns ahead of the G20 meetings, the Treasurer outlined how the Commonwealth's infrastructure investments, along with critical investments being made by State Governments and the private sector, will catalyse additional infrastructure investment across Australia in excess of $125billion (19 September 2014). More...

New South Wales

Boost for natural resource management
Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, and Minister for the Environment, RobStokes, today announced a boost for natural resource management with $79.5 millioncommitted over the next three years (25 September 2014). More...

NSW government puts unlicensed builders and tradies on notice
NSW Fair Trading Minister has warned all home builders and tradespeople to ensure they have a valid licence, following the successful prosecution of unlicensed builder. As part of its efforts to stamp out rogue operators, NSW Fair Trading has been undertaking a series of on-site inspections to ensure traders and builders are operating within the applicable legislation (17 September 2014). More...

NSW Government to Review Building Certification Laws
Assistant Minister for Planning Rob Stokes today announced the appointment of former NSW Treasury Secretary, Michael Lambert, to review the Building Professionals Act 2005 and continue to reform the NSW planning system (12 September 2014). More...


Federal Government and Queensland at odds over major infrastructure project
The Federal Government this week froze its $1.28 billion commitment to the second Toowoomba range crossing, a 41km route running from the Warrego Highway to the Gore Highway allowing trucks to bypass Toowoomba. Warren Truss is seeking more information from Queensland on the funding model for the second Toowoomba crossing (26 September 2014). More...

Railway Approved for Australia's Biggest Coal Mine
The development of coal deposits in the Galilee Basin is set to receive a major boost from the construction of a $2.2 billion railway line to the Abbot Point port. Indian mining company Adani plans for the $2.2 billion rail project to run 310 kilometres in total along a 100 metre-wide corridor, possessing an annual carrying capacity of 100-million tonnes (26 September 2014). More...

Queenslanders staying safer at work
The Government has introduced Australia's most comprehensive asbestos management plan, increased penalties for electrical safety breaches, extended the Zero Harm at Work Leadership Program and had undertaken a review of the current Act to ensure Queensland workplaces were as safe as possible (24 September 2014). More...

Industry welcomes the BCIPA changes
There are three key reforms that are strongly supported by Master Builders, including the appointment of adjudicators by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), a reduction in the timeframes for making payment claims after the project has been completed, and the introduction of a dual model for large and complex claims in excess of $750,000 (16 September 2014). More...


Building Permit Audit
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has released findings of its state-wide audit of building permit files, conducted to monitor building surveyors' compliance with the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2006. The findings from the audit provide the VBA with a basis for ongoing monitoring of the building permit system (25 September 2014). More...

Victoria open for minerals exploration
The Victorian Coalition Government announced registrations of interest are open for its innovative $15 million TARGET initiative to boost minerals exploration in regional Victoria where it is thought further discoveries of mineral sands copper, gold, zinc, lead other base metals could be made (23 September 2014). More...

Next step for Alphington Station Precinct revitalisation
The revitalisation of the Alphington Station Precinct, transforming it into a safer and more accessible place for commuters and the local community, is one step closer, with expressions of interest from private sector developers now being sought, Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced today (18 September 2014). More...

Victoria's building union crackdown reaches the next level
In a significant development the Victorian government this week imposed the first sanction against a construction firm for breach of the Victorian Construction Code. The ban was imposed after McConnell Dowell engaged a labour hire company with a CFMEU construction union agreement after pressure from the union (18 September 2014). More...

Exclusion sanction on McConnell Dowell
The Minister for Finance has issued a three month exclusion sanction against McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust) Pty Ltd following an audit of the Springvale Level Crossing Removal Project. The audit, conducted by the Construction Code Compliance Unit (CCCU), found that McConnell Dowell breached the Implementation Guidelines to the Victorian Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry. More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Energy white paper – green paper

Department of Industry
This Green Paper proposes policy approaches intended to ensure reliable and affordable energy that, when used productively, supports business competitiveness, lowers the cost of living, and grows exports. Submissions are invited from interested stakeholders (23 September 2014). More...

Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly 2014
Australian Bureau of Statistics
The more steady trend measure saw a quarterly fall of 5.07% – still the biggest such quarterly fall ever in the mining industry – almost a full percentage point larger than the falls that occurred in 2009 during the depths of the GFC. It added up to an annual fall of 11% in seasonally adjusted terms and 7.96% in trend terms – again both worse than what occurred during the GFC (18 September 2014). More...

Building Permit Audit: Summary of findings and actions
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA)
The objective of the audit was to examine building permit files held at council, and in some cases at the office of the relevant building surveyor (RBS) (September 2014). More...

Practice and courts

New Australian Standards
AS 2047-2014
Windows and external glazed doors in buildings Standards Australia. More...

NSW BCB: Written contracts: Civil Liability Act & PI insurance
Certifiers: your professional indemnity insurance may be void if you sign a contract that waives Part 4 of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (19 September 2014). More...

NSW BPB: New case study: Determining number of storeys and the Codes SEPP
This case highlights the importance of carefully considering the relationship between partially overlapping storeys in a building, to determine the overall number of storeys (19 September 2014). More...

Reminder: City of Sydney draft hoardings and scaffoldings policy and guidelines
The policy outlines minimum requirements for the design, installation and maintenance for scaffolding in the city. The draft policy is on exhibition until Wednesday 8 October 2014. For more information, click here.

NSW Updated Form - Home Building Application
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) has made released form Home building application (August 2014), which has been updated to "clarify time limits that apply to certain home building applications" (17 September 2014). More...

QLD: Brisbane City Plan 2014 – Dwelling House Code
The Dwelling House Code, which applies when assessing a material change of use or building work where it is self-assessable, assessable or impact development, and the code is applicable, has had some recent changes (25 September 2014). More...


Civil Mining & Construction Pty Ltd v Isaac Regional Council [2014] QSC 231
CONTRACTS – BUILDING, ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – REMUNERATION – STATUTORY REGULATION OF ENTITLEMENT TO AND RECOVERY OF PROGRESS PAYMENTS – ADJUDICATION OF PAYMENT CLAIMS – where the applicant and respondent entered into a contract for the construction of road works – where there was an extensive history of disputes as to payments owed under the contract - where the parties invoked the dispute resolution provisions under the contract, including mediation and arbitration – where the applicant made a payment claim under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act (Qld) 2004 (the Act) – whether the applicant can pursue its statutory remedies under the Act concurrently with arbitration proceedings – whether the claim is an abuse of process. More...

Murphy v State of Victoria & Anor [2014] VSCA 236
INJUNCTION – Interim injunction – Application for interim injunction pending hearing and determination of appeal from separate trial of questions pursuant to Rule 47.04 of Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 – Whether prospect of final injunctive relief sufficient when balanced against potential damage to respondents to warrant grant of interim injunction – Whether refusal of interim injunction would render proceeding nugatory – Paringa Mining & Exploration Company Plc v North Flinders Mines Ltd [1988] HCA 53. Pending our determination of the matter, the appellant seeks an interim injunction to restrain the respondents proceeding further with the motorway project the subject of the appeal, and in particular to restrain the Crown in right of the State of Victoria from entering into a contract with the successful tenderer for the construction of the motorway as a tollway in public private partnership. More...

Tagget v McLean Austquip Pty Limited [2014] NSWSC 1310
LOCAL COURT CIVIL CLAIM - appeal on questions of law - action for work done and materials provided - whether claim contractual or restitutionary - reasonableness of amount claimed
Builders' Licencing Act 1971; Local Court Act 2007. More...

Mount Bruce Mining Pty Ltd v Wright Prospecting Pty Ltd [2014] NSWCA 323
CONTRACTS - construction and interpretation of contracts - appellant and respondents entered into written agreement whereby rights to certain temporary reserves were divided - whether royalties payable by appellant in respect of iron ore mined in defined area - whether ore mined by entities deriving title to relevant land through or under appellant - whether ore produced by appellant in association with others; Mining Act 1904 (WA), ss 48, 276; Real Property Act 1900 (NSW), s 12A. More...

Melisavon Pty Ltd v Springfield Land Development Corporation Pty Limited [2014] QCA 233
PROCEDURE – SUPREME COURT PROCEDURE – QUEENSLAND – PROCEDURE UNDER UNIFORM CIVIL PROCEDURE RULES AND PREDECESSORS – SUMMARY JUDGMENT– where the appellant appealed the decision of the learned primary judge dismissing an application for summary judgment – where the appellant made an application for summary judgment pursuant to r 293 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) – where the respondent made a claim for damages for negligence – where by operation of s 10 of the Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld) the claim will be statute barred if the cause of action arose prior to 16 June 2005 – where the respondent argued that there were real issues of fact to be tried in the proceeding – whether the appeal ought to be allowed. LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – LIMITATION OF PARTICULAR ACTIONS – SIMPLE CONTRACTS, QUASI-CONTRACTS AND TORTS – ACCRUAL OF CAUSE OF ACTION AND WHEN TIME BEGINS TO RUN – TORTS – ACTIONS AGAINST ARCHITECTS, ENGINEERS, BUILDERS AND RELATED PROFESSIONALS – where the cause of action is founded on tort – where the latent defect at the centre of the claim was the appellant's negligently engineered design of the clubhouse – when does time accrue – whether the learned primary judge erred in finding that the limitation period did not commence until the respondent "first became aware, or ought to have become aware, that it had sustained loss because of the alleged defective design" – whether the respondent's claim in this proceeding is statute barred. More...

McNab Developments (Qld) Pty Ltd v MAK Construction Services Pty Ltd & Ors [2014] QCA 232
CONTRACTS – BUILDING, ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – REMUNERATION – STATUTORY REGULATION OF ENTITLEMENT TO AND RECOVERY OF PAYMENTS – where the appellant was a contractor and the first respondent was a subcontractor for a building project – where the first respondent served a payment claim on the appellant totalling $853,952.97 – where the appellant contended that the subcontract had been terminated due to the first respondent's default – where the first respondent sought adjudication of its claim under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) – where the adjudication was heard by the third respondent – where the third respondent decided that the appellant owed the first respondent $241,441.20 – where the appellant claimed a right to liquidated damages under the subcontract – where the appellant's right to liquidated damages depended on the date for practical completion – where the applicant filed an application to the Supreme Court seeking to void the adjudication or set it aside on a range of grounds – where the primary judge dismissed the application – where the appellant contends that the third respondent decided on a basis which the parties had not addressed – whether there was a denial of natural justice – whether the third respondent acted unreasonably. CONTRACTS – BUILDING, ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – REMUNERATION – RECOVERY ON QUANTUM MERUIT – IN GENERAL – where the respondent did not notify the appellant of variation claims in accordance with the prescribed notice form – whether progress payments are permissible under common law or contract.
CONTRACTS – BUILDING, ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – REMUNERATION – STATUTORY REGULATION OF ENTITLEMENT TO AND RECOVERY OF PAYMENTS – where the third respondent allowed a claim by the first respondent with respect to 15 day dockets – where the appellants allege that the third respondent did not engage in a proper evaluation of each claim – whether the third respondent committed jurisdictional error with respect to the day dockets. CONTRACTS – BUILDING, ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – REMUNERATION – STATUTORY REGULATION OF ENTITLEMENT TO AND RECOVERY OF PAYMENTS – where the appellant undertook rectification for defective works – where the appellant issued backcharges – where the third respondent omitted to consider one of the backcharges – whether the validity of the determination overall has been impugned. More...

Waratah Coal Pty Ltd v Seeney & Anor [2014] QSC 226
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GENERALLY – where the applicant is a proponent of a coal mining project in the Galilee Basin – where the applicant made an application for approval of a rail corridor linked with its mining project as an "infrastructure facility of significance" – where this application was made under s 125(1)(f) of the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld) ("the Act") – where the purpose of seeking the declaration was to enable subsequent invocation of the discretionary powers of compulsory acquisition under s 125 of the Act - where the application was refused – where the decision is amenable to review under Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld) – where the applicant submits that pursuant to the Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld) the decision should be quashed or set aside, and referred back to the second respondent for consideration and determination according to the law – whether the decision to refuse approval of the rail line as an "infrastructure facility of significance" under s 125(1)(f)(ii) of the Act was infected by error such as to render it susceptible to judicial review. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS OF REVIEW – FETTERING DISCRETION – where the basis of the government's policy was that there would be two rail corridors within which the powers of compulsory acquisition would be considered for exercise – where the applicant's proposed rail line lay outside the two approved corridors – where the applicant contends that the decision-maker allowed his discretion to be fettered by improperly applying government policy – where the applicant further contends that the decision-maker failed to have regard to the merits of the application – whether the decision-maker gave proper, genuine and realistic consideration to the merits of the application and was ready to depart from government policy if the merits of the application justified such a course. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS OF REVIEW – IRRELEVANT CONSIDERATIONS – where the applicant submits that the decision-maker took into account two irrelevant considerations – where the first irrelevant consideration was that there was an absence of approval for the applicant's facility under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) – where the second irrelevant consideration was that the statement of reasons improperly took into account the absence of settled arrangements for port facilities for the coal project – whether the decision-maker wrongly took irrelevant considerations into account. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS OF REVIEW – RELEVANT CONSIDERATIONS – where the applicant contends that the decision-maker failed to take relevant considerations into account – where the applicant submits that there were three relevant considerations – where these considerations concerned the negative comparable attributes of a rival proposed facility – whether the decision-maker failed to take relevant considerations into account. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS OF REVIEW – UNREASONABLENESS – where the applicant contends that the decision was infected by "Wednesbury" unreasonableness – where the applicant submits that the ultimate irrationality was due to the fact the decision-maker proceeded on the basis that the government's policy was immutable, that the absence of approval for the facility was taken into account and that the decision the facility would not have the requisite economic significance was irrational as the merits of the rail line were not addressed – whether the decision was so unreasonable that no reasonable person could have reached it. More...

Caltex Refineries (Qld) Pty Ltd & Anor v Allstate Access (Australia) Pty Ltd & Ors [2014] QSC 223
CONTRACTS – BUILDING, ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – REMUNERATION – STATUTORY REGULATION OF ENTITLEMENT TO AND RECOVERY OF PROGRESS PAYMENTS – ADJUDICATION OF PAYMENT CLAIMS – where the first respondent agreed to supply the applicants with scaffolding equipment – where the first respondent alleged the applicants damaged the equipment – where the first respondent made a payment claim pursuant to the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) and the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) – where the third respondent adjudicator ordered the applicants pay the first respondent for the replacement costs of the equipment – whether the amounts claimed were payments for the supply of goods or for damages for breach of contract – whether the adjudicator erred in the interpretation of the contract – whether such an error is a jurisdictional error. ESTOPPEL – ESTOPPEL BY JUDGMENT – RES JUDICATA OR CAUSE OF ACTION ESTOPPEL – GENERALLY – where the first respondent agreed to supply the applicants with scaffolding equipment – where the first respondent alleged the applicants damaged the equipment – where the first respondent made a payment claim pursuant to the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) and the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) – where the third respondent adjudicator ordered the applicants pay the first respondent for the replacement costs of the equipment – whether the adjudicator was bound by an issue estoppel – whether the parties to the adjudication were bound by a decision of a previous adjudicator. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS OF REVIEW – PROCEDURAL FAIRNESS – GENERALLY – where the first respondent agreed to supply the applicants with scaffolding equipment – where the first respondent alleged the applicants damaged the equipment – where the first respondent made a payment claim pursuant to the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) and the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) – where the third respondent adjudicator ordered the applicants pay the first respondent for the replacement costs of the equipment - whether the adjudicator decided the dispute on a basis for which neither party had contended – whether the applicants were denied natural justice. More...



Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Commencement Proclamation 2014
This proclamation provides for the commencement of Schedules 1 to 5 of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Act 2014 (22 September 2014).

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