Australia: Construction & Infrastructure - What's news - 22 July 2015

In the media

National

Abbott takes wind out of CEFC's sails
The Federal Government has delivered a draft directive to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to cease funding wind and small scale solar power projects, provoking a public debate over the purpose of the body (17 July 2015). More...

ASIC eyes 'phoenix' scams
The ASIC will be keeping a close eye on struggling companies this financial year that resurrect their assets in an illegal manoeuvre known as 'phoenix' activity. ASIC is continuing its surveillance campaign this financial year, and will be extending the scrutiny to focus on the building and construction industry (17 July 2015). More...

Dwelling starts hit all time high
Residential building continues to do the heavy lifting in the economy, according to the latest building industry data released today. "The strongest year-on-year growth in dwelling starts was achieved by Tasmania (+36.8 per cent), Victoria (+26.6 per cent) and Queensland (+20.4 per cent) (16 July 2015). More...

Engineers Australia: Viewing a traditional infrastructure challenge through a different lens enables innovative solutions to be uncovered
It traditionally takes a long time from government sign-off to start of construction of large infrastructure projects. In recent years, the process has become even longer, more arduous and more expensive for everyone involved (14 July 2015). More...

$500 million for water infrastructure
A National Water Infrastructure Development Fund has been set up for investment in water infrastructure in partnership with the states and territories as a result of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper (10 July 2015). More...

Billions at risk by Government failures
Billions of tax payer dollars are being put at risk by the federal and state governments that are failing to adopt more innovative funding models for transport infrastructure projects, according to a new report by AECOM and Consult Australia (03 July 2015). More...

Victoria

Push For Better Apartments Draws Voices
The Minister for Planning has chaired a local government and industry forum on the Andrews Labor Government's Better Apartments discussion paper. All the participants shared a common goal: the desire to encourage innovation and best-practice design in the apartment industry so future buildings offer decades of liveability (10 July 2015). More...

Modernising Victoria's energy licence framework
The Essential Services Commission has announced a review of the energy licence framework and is calling for stakeholders to comment on ways the framework can be improved (09 July 2015). More...

Victorian mine owner refusing to pay fire bill
A company ill-prepared for a devastating Victorian coalmine fire could end up in court after refusing to pay an $18 million bill. Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said the fire services levy covered the day-to-day operations of emergency services, not events like the Hazelwood fire (07 July 2015). More...

New South Wales

Hunt holds Shenhua mine approval pending independent review
Environment Minister Greg Hunt will not give final approval of a coal mine in northern New South Wales unless an independent body is satisfied its water-management plan is environmentally sound (16 July 2015). More...

Draft change to mining policy on exhibition
The NSW Government has released a proposed amendment to the Mining SEPP, which would remove a provision making the significance of the resource the principle consideration under the Mining SEPP when determining mining projects (07 July 2015). More...

Green homes save owners millions
According to the first ever public release of BASIX data online, nearly half a million NSW home owners have saved more than 103,000 megalitres of potable water and avoided 3,300 kilotons of greenhouse gas emissions since BASIX started in 2005-06 (06 July 2015). More... More...

NSW change to mining rules could block planned projects
A proposed change to mining policy in NSW could force changes to planned projects, or even block them, by giving greater weight to social and environmental factors during the approval process (07 July 2015). More...

Queensland

Open all hours
The Queensland government has put out its shingle, declaring it is ready for business to ensure investment in infrastructure in the state. The Queensland Division of Engineers Australia has warned that infrastructure should not be seen as a place to trim the state budget, amid media reports of the government needing to rein in debt (17 July 2015). More...

New plumbing industry regulator to be established
Work is underway to reinstate a dedicated regulatory body for Queensland's plumbers and drainers, delivering on a Palaszczuk Government election commitment (17 July 2015). More...

Rising sea levels return to Queensland planning
The Queensland government has declared "erosion prone" areas along the state's coastline, re-introducing climate change factors into state planning policies. The erosion prone area is the width of the coast considered to be vulnerable to coastal erosion and tidal inundation (17 July 2015). More...

PA statement on 2015 Queensland Budget
The Queensland Budget has deferred tough decisions that will need to be made in the future to pay for the new infrastructure the state needs, says Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (14 July 2015). More...

Dispute service makes for happy endings
QBCC has had 1097 dispute cases lodged in the last 12 months. From 1 June 2015, the service was expanded to help principal contractors resolve defective or incomplete building work issues which can arise with their subcontractors (03 July 2015). More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

State of Australian cities 2014-2015: Progress in Australian regions
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (Australia). Provides insight into the vital role that Australian cities play in the growth of the countries economy and tracks the overall progress made in Australia's major centres (07 July 2015). More...

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Building Activity, Australia, Mar 2015 (cat no. 8752.0) – 15 July 2015. The trend estimate of the value of total building work done rose 2.0%; seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of total building work done rose 3.7% to $23,619.7m ; trend estimate of the value of new residential building work done rose 3.6%; value of work done on new houses rose 3.9% while new other residential building rose 3.1%. Construction Activity: Chain Volume Measures, Australia, Mar 2015 (cat no. 8782.0.65.001) (13 July 2015).

Corporate Plan 2015–2016
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development's first Corporate Plan, covering the years 2015–16 to 2018–19, has been published. The Corporate Plan sets out the Department's key priorities, activities and strategic agenda for the next four years (16 July 2015). More...

Queensland State Budget 2015-16
Budget Paper No. 4 - Budget Measures (undated) sets out the budget expenses for the Department of Justice and Attorney-General. More...

Key Budget Infrastructure plans

Palaszczuk Budget reaches out to regions with $200 million program. The Palaszczuk Government's first Budget will deliver $200 million to regional Queensland for crucial infrastructure and jobs.

Big transport budget to deliver better, safer roads and generate jobs. More than $18.8 billion will be invested in Queensland's overall transport infrastructure in the next four years under Queensland Transport and Road Investment Program (QTRIP) - the state's program of planned works.

Funding for local councils to boost community infrastructure - Councils across Queensland will be better prepared to face natural disasters and build and upgrade vital infrastructure with $63 million allocated in the 2015-16 State Budget.

Practice and courts

Infrastructure Australia: Australian Infrastructure Audit—feedback reminder
The landmark Australian Infrastructure Audit (the Audit) was publically released on 22 May 2015. Infrastructure Australia is also seeking public feedback on how to solve the challenges raised in the Audit. Public submissions close 14 August 2015. More...

Bridges Renewal Programme
The Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development has launched round two of the BRP. Round two is open to Local Governments only, with up to $100 million in funding available. Proposals will be called for from 1 July 2015 with the closing date being 31 August 2015. More...

Cases

Architecture HQ Pty Ltd v Propertylinc Pty Ltd [2015] FCA 686
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE — application for freezing order under r 7.35 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) — application for ancillary order under r 7.33 of the Rules — identification of appropriate test — whether good arguable case — whether real risk of dissipation of assets — whether mere possibility of dissipation suffices — absence of solid evidence in support of finding of real risk — application dismissed. Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) ss 36(1), 115(2). More...

J Cummins Pty Ltd v F & D Bonaccorso [2015] NSWCA 200
CONTRACT – option agreement – rectification – whether contract gave effect to common intention EVIDENCE – appeal against credit findings – where adverse credit findings alleged to be inconsistent with objective commercial circumstances - other evidence was inconsistent with there being any common intention that the deposit was to have been taken to have been paid by way of according to the appellant a credit in the amount of $1.4 million for work done on improvements on the property. More...

Re Venture Capital Group Pty Ltd (No 2) [2015] VSC 319
CONTRACT – Repudiation – Parties entered into a dispute resolution agreement for the plaintiff to sell to the defendants the plaintiff's interest in a business run by the plaintiff and the defendants – Under the dispute resolution agreement an independent expert was appointed to resolve differences between two valuers of the business, appointed respectively by each party – The plaintiff unilaterally terminated the appointment of the independent expert on the basis that the independent expert breached the terms of his appointment – Whether independent expert had breached the terms of his appointment – Whether plaintiff had repudiated the dispute resolution agreement in unilaterally terminating the appointment of the independent expert – Whether defendant entitled to accept the termination of the appointment of the valuer by the plaintiff as a termination of the dispute resolution agreement – Held the dispute resolution agreement was validly terminated. - plaintiff, Alphater Consulting Engineers Pty Ltd (Alphater). More...

Maples Winterview Pty Ltd v Liu and Li [2015] ACTSC 58
CONTRACT – standard form building contract – floor slab stage of construction not completed – claim for progress payment from owners dependent on completion of the relevant and any preceding stages of construction – test for completion of stage – failure by owners to make payment found not in breach of contract – termination of contract by builder found wrongful – no alternative basis for liability of owners pleaded by builder. CONTRACT – implied duty to cooperate – failure to obtain bank loan – no breach of duty where no obligation under contract to obtain the loan. More...

Legislation

Commonwealth

Australian Renewable Energy Agency Determination No. 1 of 2015
This determination sets out the General Funding Strategy for 2015/16 - 2017/18 pursuant to subsection 20(2) of the Act (17 July 2015). More...

Queensland

Bills

State Development and Public Works Organisation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015. Introduced on 15/07/2015 Stage reached: 2nd reading to be moved on 15/07/2015. The objective of the Bill is to restore community objection rights in relation to mining. Activities which was a key government election commitment in 2015. More...

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