Australia: Construction & Infrastructure - What's News - 7 December 2016

In the media – National

New Commonwealth procurement rules from next year
The Government has been forced to concede its position on the rules in order to get its ABCC bill through the Senate. Under the new rules Government officials would also need to consider whether bidders are ethical employers, and are in compliance with occupational health and safety and environmental standards (01 December 2016). More...

MBA: Senate passes Bill to re-establish the ABCC
The Senate's decision to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is a win for the community, taxpayers and people who work in the building and construction industry, Wilhelm Harnsich, according to the CEO of Master Builders Australia (30 November 2016). More...

Fall in building approvals a wake-up call
The worst housing approvals numbers in two years should serve as a wake-up call to governments on the need to fix housing markets and planning systems, according to the Property Council (30 November 2016). More...

WICET deeper in the red as net liabilities blow out to over $1b
The Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal at Gladstone in Queensland has taken a financial hit with the port disclosing its "equity deficiency" rose to $1.06 billion in 2015-16. WICET said it was in litigation with contractors for compensation on variations on construction contracts at the end of June, and that it had "sound basis" for disputing the entitlement and size of the claims (01 December 2016). More...

BCA report on major project approvals is a vital contribution to the infrastructure debate
A new report by the Business Council of Australia into streamlining major project approvals is a vital reminder to policy makers about the costs of unnecessary delays on major projects across Australia and the need to develop best-practice to get job creating projects moving (25 November 2016). More...

In the media – Victoria

Building infrastructure quicker and smarter
The Andrews Labor Government is set to reduce the time and costs for industry as it delivers Victoria's strong infrastructure pipeline. Treasurer Tim Pallas today released a short paper, Reforming Public Construction, which identifies reforms to deliver projects quicker and more efficiently, boosting jobs and Victoria's competitiveness (29 November 2016). More...

Banning fracking for good
The Andrews Labor Government has introduced legislation to permanently ban fracking in Victoria, protecting the agricultural sector and giving certainty to regional communities. The Resources Legislation Amendment (Fracking Ban) Bill 2016 amends the Petroleum Act 1998 and the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 to implement the Government's decision (22 November 2016). More...

In the media – New South Wales

Longest housing boom in New South Wales history
New South Wales is in the midst of the longest housing construction boom in its history, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data. Data released today shows 74,577 homes were approved in the 12 months to October 2016. This is a record 33rd consecutive month with a yearly approval figure of more than 50,000 (30 November 2016). More...

Safety blitz targets demolition sites
WorkSafe inspectors have begun a month-long blitz targeting dangerous and sub-standard demolition work. Inspectors expect to visit more than 800 demolition and construction sites across the state to ensure work is carried out as safely as possible (23 November 2016). More...

184300 homes over five years with new infrastructure
A strong New South Wales economy and new public transport links have opened the way for an expected 184,300 new dwellings over the next five years – easily surpassing previous records (21 November 2016). More...

In the media – Queensland

Adani coal mine rail line and camp approved
The $22 billion Carmichael coal and rail project secures Queensland Government approval for a permanent rail line and a temporary construction camp (05 December 2016). More...

Queensland Government to ink deal over Cross River Rail
The Palaszczuk Government will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth today formalising their collaboration on Brisbane's Cross River Rail (02 December 2016). More...

Solar farm brings renewable energy and jobs to North Queensland
North Queensland's electricity grid and its economy is another step closer to being powered by more renewable energy and more renewable jobs with a major solar project reaching a finance milestone (02 December 2016). More...

Project bank accounts to secure payments for subcontractors
The Queensland building and construction industry is set for historic reform, as the Palaszczuk Government prepares new laws to introduce a suite of measures to ensure security of payment for subcontractors, including project bank accounts (30 November 2016). More...

Queenslanders encouraged to have their say on new state building plan
Queenslanders will have the opportunity to run their rulers over the state's building and construction industry with the release of a discussion paper for a new Queensland Building Plan. The Queensland Building Plan looks at a number of reforms designed to bring increased confidence to the sector, including our government's historic reforms on security of payment for subcontractors (30 November 2016). More...

Practice and courts

Infrastructure Priority List – 23 November 2016
The Infrastructure Priority List is a prioritised list of nationally significant investments. It provides decision makers with advice and guidance on specific infrastructure investments that will underpin Australia's continued prosperity. The latest list is outlined here. More...

GBCA: New Green Star certification process
A new streamlined process for the registration of applications for Green Star certification is effective 1 December 2016, and freshened up the Green Star Certification Agreement. Clauses and processes have been clarified, particularly, the appointment of Applicant Agents and Change of Ownership process and Limitation of Trustee Liability clause. The Agreement remains substantially the same (16 November 2016). More...

ABCB's 2017 NCC Information Seminars Registrations Now Open
Registrations are NOW OPEN for the Australian Building Codes Board's (ABCB) 2017 NCC Information Seminars. The series will include presentations from the ABCB, Standards Australia and local Building Control Administrations.


Hastie Group Limited (In Liquidation) v Moore [2016] NSWSC 1682
The 2014 Proceeding be dismissed with costs; The 2015 Proceeding be dismissed with costs. PROCEDURE – extension of time for service of statement of claim – whether to discharge extension under UCPR r.12.11(1)(e) - litigation funding.

Benarid Pty Ltd v Sarina Consulting Engineers Pty Ltd [2016] QDC 307
APPEAL BY WAY OF RE-HEARING – CROSS-APPEAL – CONTRACT – IMPLIED TERMS - ORAL VARIATION TO CONTRACT - Where plaintiff claims breach of contract – Where plaintiff claims damages for work rendered –Whether there was an agreement to pay for future work – Whether there was an implied term in the contract that there should be payment for the part services already performed – Whether there was an implied term in the contract that the services performed be assessed at an hourly rate – Whether the delay was caused by the plaintiff or defendant.

Annie Street JV Pty Ltd v MCC Pty Ltd & Ors [2016] QSC 268
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – DECLARATIONS – EXCESS OR WANT OF JURISDICTION – PARTICULAR INSTANCES OF JURISDICTIONAL ERROR – where the applicant and the first respondent were parties to construction contract – where the first respondent served a payment claim under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) (the Act) – where the second respondent made an adjudication decision under the Act – where the second respondent determined, as part of the adjudication, that the applicant was not entitled to set-off an amount for liquidated damages – where the applicant alleges that this part of the second respondent's decision is affected by jurisdictional error – whether the second respondent's decision that the applicant was not entitled to set-off an amount for liquidated damages was without foundation and illogical, with a deficient reasoning process – whether the second respondent's decision that the applicant was not entitled to set-off an amount for liquidated damages involved a failure to provide reasons or adequate reasons in accordance with s.26(3)(b) of the Act – whether the second respondent's decision that the applicant was not entitled to set-off an amount for liquidated damages involved a denial, to the applicants, of natural justice.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – DECLARATIONS – EXCESS OR WANT OF JURISDICTION – PARTICULAR INSTANCES OF JURISDICTIONAL ERROR – where the applicant and the first respondent were parties to construction contract – where the first respondent served a payment claim under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) (the Act) – where the applicant served a payment schedule under the Act – where the payment schedule did not raise contractual time limitations as a basis for withholding payment – where the second respondent did not consider contractual time limitations in the adjudication – whether, in not considering contractual time limitations, the second respondent committed jurisdictional error.

McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust) Pty Ltd v Santam Ltd & Ors (No 1) [2016] VSC 734
PRACTICE & PROCEDURE – Appointment of Special Referee – Questions as to discovery of documents and inspection of documents in a large document case referred to Special Referee – Reference conducted as a facilitation process rather than an adversarial process - Adoption of Special Referees' Report –Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Vic) O 50. PRACTICE & PROCEDURE – Discovery in a large document case– Use of predictive coding technology (TAR or Technology Assisted Review) – Orders for TAR made in accordance with the recommendations of the Special Referee following a facilitation process conducted with the parties in a reference conducted under O 50 Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Vic). This proceeding involves a large claim involving tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars arising from the design and construction of a natural gas pipeline in Queensland.

Fulconstruction Pty Ltd v. ABP Consultants Pty Ltd [2016] VCC 1732
Building Contract – Payment claim under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payments Act 2002 (Vic) – Project management services – Whether "" – Dispute as to whether the arrangement was a joint venture agreement or a "construction contract" – Payment to be made at the end of project of 50% share of profits – Whether consideration for construction work to be "calculated otherwise than by reference to the value of supplied" (section 7(2)(c)) – Sufficiency of the identification of the "services to which the progress payment relates".
Practice and procedure – Nature of the process for determining a proceeding for judgment pursuant to section 16(4) of the Act.

Legislation – Commonwealth


Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013
Finally passed both Houses 30/11/16 Assent 01/12/16 Act no: 87 Year: 2016.
Introduced with the Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013, the bill re-establishes the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABC Commissioner) and the Australian Building and Construction Commission; enables the minister to issue a Building Code; provides for the appointment and functions of the Federal Safety Commissioner; prohibits certain unlawful industrial action; prohibits coercion, discrimination and unenforceable agreements; provides the ABC Commissioner with powers to obtain information; provides for orders for contraventions of civil remedy provisions and other enforcement powers; and makes miscellaneous amendments in relation to self-incrimination, protection of liability against officials, admissible records and documents, protection and disclosure of information, powers of the Commissioner in certain proceedings, and jurisdiction of courts.

Renew Australia Bill 2016
Registered 21 November 2016; Introduced HR 21 November 2016
The Bill establishes Renew Australia, an authority to plan and drive the transition to a new clean energy system. The objects of the Bill are to help reduce Australia's greenhouse gas pollution by transforming Australia's electricity system.


Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act No 88 of 2016
Registered 02/12/2016; Date of Assent 01/11/2016 - An Act to deal with consequential and transitional matters arising from the enactment of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016.

Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act No 87 of 2016
Registered 02/12/2016; Date of Assent 01/11/2016 - An Act to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner.

Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Rules 2016
02/12/2016 - This instrument deals with transitional and consequential matters relating to the transition from the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012 to the new arrangements created under the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016. This includes continuing the application of the Building Code 2013 to particular building work to which that Code applied immediately before the repeal of the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012.

Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016
02/12/2016 - This code of practice sets out the Australian Government's expected standards of conduct for all building contractors or building industry participants that seek to be, or are, involved in Commonwealth funded building work.

Legislation – Queensland

Subordinate legislation as made

No 222: Queensland Building and Construction Commission (Calculation of Insurable Value) Amendment Regulation 2016 - Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 – 02 December 2016 - to amend the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Regulation 2003 (QBCC Regulation) to change the way in which the notional pricing provisions of the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme (Scheme) apply to work relating to common property in multiple dwellings and duplexes.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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