Australia: Construction & Infrastructure - What's News -16 March 2015

Last Updated: 28 April 2015
Article by Troy Lewis, Janelle Kerrisk and Stephen Burton

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media


First inland rail tenders on track
The initial round of tenders for engineering design and environmental services has been advertised for the Brisbane to Melbourne Inland Rail project, according to the federal government. Truss said he had charged the Australian Rail Track Corporation with developing a 10 year delivery plan for Inland Rail (13 March 2015). More...

MBA: Latest Housing Finance Data Highlights Need to Release the Handbreak On Housing Supply
The latest housing finance data highlights the urgent need for a national housing affordability agenda to increase the housing supply and ensure first home buyers are not locked out of the market. The industry remains confident the upturn in residential building will continue, underpinned by finance flows that preceded the February rates cut, and by building approvals that have risen to an historic 20 year high (11 March 2015). More...

Apartment Construction Continues to Rise
The largest rise in building approvals in three months has been fuelled by another surge in apartments, which should help restrain rising home prices. Approvals for the construction of new homes rose 7.9 per cent in January, beating market expectations, and were up 9.1 per cent in the 12 months to January, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said (12 March 2015). More...

Construction Industry Index Falls in February
The seasonally adjusted Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Australian Performance of Construction Index (Australian PCI®) registered 43.9 points in February 2015 (readings below 50 points indicate contraction) (11 March 2015). More...

Pacific Highway duplicated before end of the decade
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss has confirmed the Australian and NSW Governments' duplication of the Pacific Highway from Hexham to the Queensland border is on track to be completed by the end of this decade (10 March 2015). More...

Prime time for privatisation
The timing is favourable for privatisation of state owned infrastructure, according to the ANZ bank, with investor demand for infrastructure assets expected to remain buoyant. However, Australia's major project spending is in decline with investment forecast to plummet from $88 billion in 2014 to $32 billion by 2017 (06 March 2015). More...

$14.4 million for six new heavy vehicle projects across Queensland
Truck drivers and other heavy vehicle operators in Queensland will benefit from $14.4 million in new road upgrades as part of the Australian Government's Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme (04 March 2015). More...


East West Link consortium borrowed $475 million to build toll road
The consortium that was charged with building the East West Link toll road has drawn down $475 million from its financiers since the contract was signed, the Victorian Government says. The Victorian Government and the consortium are currently locked in tense legal negotiations over the breaking of the East West Link contract (13 March 2015). More...

CEOs Appointed for Major Transport Projects
The two people that will lead the delivery of Victoria's largest transport infrastructure projects have been announced. Evan Tattersall has been appointed CEO of Melbourne Metro Rail Authority and Kevin Devlin the CEO of the Level Crossing Removal Authority (10 March 2015). More...

Record $27 billion Victorian building permits in 2014
The value of building permits in Victoria in 2014 was a record $26.9 billion, 11 per cent above the previous highest calendar year total of $24.2 billion reported in 2011 (02 March 2015). More...

New South Wales

Sydney Airport Major Development Plan approved
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss has approved a Major Development Plan for Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport. The Plan includes a new ground transport network for Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, a 430-room 4–5 star hotel and redevelopments to improve passenger access and convenience (12 March 2015). More...

State Government buys back two CSG exploration licences on north coast
The State Government has announced it will buy back two Petroleum Exploration Licences in the Clarence region, knowing how unpopular coal seam gas mining is in northern New South Wales (09 March 2015). More...

$273m to fix Hunter roads
$273 million will be spent over the next 10 years to build vital roads and fix congestion pinch points across the Hunter. The Hunter also stands to benefit from other initiatives funded by Rebuilding NSW. These include the $1 billion Water Security Fund, the $600 million allocated to developing regional schools and hospitals and the $2 billion Regional Road Freight Corridor Fund (05 March 2015). More...


Gold Coast building approvals soar as investors credited with fuelling spike
A construction industry executive says investors are fuelling a major increase in building activity on the Gold Coast. The deputy executive director of Master Builders Queensland said 1,464 approvals were granted in January, compared with just 219 in the previous month (13 March 2015). More...

Palaszczuk Govt charts new course for Abbot Point
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has today announced a new agreement between the Labor Government and major proponents Adani and GVK to put in place an environmentally sustainable and fiscally responsible proposal for the expansion of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal (11 March 2015). More...

SEQ spearheads approvals spike
Last week's spike in building approvals in Queensland can be largely attributed to south east Queensland, according to yesterday's release of regional dwelling approvals figures for January. Master Builders' Deputy Executive Director, said the surge of 47.8% over the month was almost entirely due to significant growth in approvals for multi-unit residential construction on the Gold Coast (12 March 2015). More... More... More...

Cyclone-affected home owners warned about unlicensed contractors
Home owners in cyclone-affected central Queensland needing repairs or rebuilding work are warned to only use licensed contractors approved by their insurers, and for those without insurance to also only use licensed contractors (04 March 2015). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Intergenerational Report 2015: Intergenerational responsibility or neglect?
The Government's treatment of climate change in Thursday's Intergenerational Report should come under close scrutiny, with key elements to look for identified in a Research Brief released today by The Climate Institute ( 05 March 2015). More...

Facing the challenges: Research on shale gas extraction
The exponential increase in the development of natural gas and oil from tight shale reserves (also known as 'fracking') seen in the last decade has resulted in optimistic predictions for energy independence and economic development. More...

HIA New Home Sales Report
A survey of Australia's largest volume builders, signals further upward momentum for the new home building sector shows total seasonally adjusted new home sales posted a modest increase of 1.8 per cent in January 2015. The headline result is consistent with further growth in new home construction in 2014/15, following a very strong year in 2013/14 (06 March 2015). More...

ABS Housing Finance, Australia, January 2015
The trend estimate for the total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions rose 0.8%. Investment housing commitments rose 1.0% and owner occupied housing commitments rose 0.8%. In seasonally adjusted terms, the total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions fell 0.6%. In trend terms, the number of commitments for the purchase of new dwellings fell 1.9% and the number of commitments for the construction of dwellings fell 1.0% (11 March 2015). More...

Practice and courts

FWBC: Union officials must obey safety rules
In recent weeks FWBC has launched four court cases against union officials for allegedly disobeying safety laws on building and construction sites. Under Right of Entry laws, Right of Entry permit holders must obey site safety laws while visiting a site (March 2015). More...

FWBC: Compulsory 2013 Building Code audits starting 2015
The site visits, site inspections and audits that we will be conducting against the 2013 Building Code will no longer be only in response to requests for voluntary audits. As a result, where breaches of the Building Code are identified through a visit, inspection or audit, sanctions may be sought. FWBC audits commenced in February 2015 with the primary focus on sections 7 to 22 of the Building Code 2013 (March 2015). More...

FWBC: Freedom of Association - Know Your Rights
Freedom of association laws mean that all employees and contractors have the right to join or not join a union. Freedom of association laws also cover employers, allowing them to choose whether or not to join an employer association.You can also find more information about freedom of association on (March 2015). More...

Standards Australia: Draft contract standard available for comment
Standards Australia is seeking public comment on a draft of the new Australian Standard AS 11000, which combines general conditions of contract standards AS 2124 and AS 4000. The public comment period ends on 27 March 2015. More... More...


Morton & Anor v Rexel Electrical Supplies Pty Ltd [2015] QDC 049
CORPORATIONS – INSOLVENCY – UNFAIR PREFERENCES – Corporations Act 2001 s 588FA - where the Liquidator claims that payments company made to creditor are unfair preference payments – whether creditor would receive more from payments than it would have received had it been required to prove its debt in company's winding up – whether company was insolvent at time of payments. CORPORATIONS – UNFAIR PREFERENCES – DEFENCE – GOOD FAITH – s 588FG - whether creditor who received payments had no reasonable grounds for suspecting insolvency at the time of payments or after – whether a reasonable person in creditor's circumstances would have had no grounds for suspecting company was insolvent. CORPORATIONS – UNFAIR PREFERENCES – DEFENCE – RUNNING ACCOUNT – s 588FA(3) - where creditor supplied goods to company while substantial debts were still outstanding – where creditor then put supply on hold when company ceased making payments – where creditor resumed supply after entering into repayment plan with company – whether supply of goods to company was done merely to reduce pre-existing debt – whether alleged unfair preference payments were an integral part of a continuing business relationship. CORPORATIONS – UNFAIR PREFERENCES – DEFENCE – SET-OFF – s 553C - where creditor rendered eight invoices to company during relation back period – where creditor was frequently chasing payment – where company indicated its inability to pay – where parties entered into repayment plan – where company paid some instalments late, some on time, and some not all - whether, at each time an invoice was rendered, creditor had notice of facts that would have indicated to a reasonable person that the company was unable to pay its debts when due and payable. More...

Queensland Bulk Handling Pty Ltd v Peabody (Wilkie Creek) Pty Limited [2015] QSC 037
CONTRACTS — GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES — FORMATION OF CONTRACTUAL RELATIONS — where the parties had made a written agreement containing a provision for a possible further term (the "Option Term") — proper interpretation of that term of the Agreement which provided for a further "Option Term" — where the contractual term providing for a further term provided a sequence of steps — where the term obliged the plaintiff to "obtain agreement in principle" — intention of the parties to be bound — where the parties were bound to enter an agreement for the Option Term upon substantially the same terms as the Agreement. CONTRACTS — GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES — CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF CONTRACTS — INTERPRETATION OF MISCELLANEOUS CONTRACTS AND OTHER MATTERS —where the parties had made a written agreement containing a provision for a possible further term, described as the "Option Term" — proper interpretation of term of an Agreement which provided for further term— where the term obliged the plaintiff to "obtain agreement in principle" — intention of parties to be contractually bound — where the parties were bound to enter an agreement for the Option Term upon substantially the same terms as the Agreement. INTERPRETATION — GENERAL RULES OF CONSTRUCTION OF INSTRUMENTS — COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS — PARTICULAR TRANSACTIONS — where the parties had made a written agreement containing a provision for a possible further term (the "Option Term") — proper interpretation of that term of the Agreement which provided for a further term or "Option Term" – where the contractual term providing for a further term provided a sequence of steps — where the term obliged the plaintiff to "obtain agreement in principle" — intention of the parties to be bound — where the parties were bound to enter an agreement for the Option Term upon substantially the same terms as the Agreement. Leases – coal mining export - port access. More...

Facade Treatment Engineering v Brookfield Multiplex [2015] VSC 41
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION LAW – Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (Vic) (the 'BCISP Act') - Payment claim - Whether respondent's response a valid payment schedule under s 15 of the BCISP Act – Requirements of s 15 of the BCISP Act - Claimant company seeks judgment under s 16 of the BCISP Act– Judgment not entered where a valid payment schedule submitted within time. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – Claimant company in liquidation - Respondent company has potential cross-claims and set-off defences against claimant company – s 109 of the Constitution Act (Cth) - Inconsistency of State legislation (s 16 of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (Vic)) with a law of the Commonwealth (s 553C of the Corporations Act) – Commonwealth legislation prevails – Entry of judgment pursuant to s 16 of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (Vic) precluded. CORPORATIONS LAW – Set-off provisions for insolvent companies under s 553C – Whether notice of insolvency precludes set-off under s 553C(2) – Relevant time that creditor must have such notice. More...



Bills Progress


Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments (05 March 2015). More...

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