Australia: Construction & Infrastructure - Whats News - 1 March 2017

In the media – National

Australia's 100 most important infrastructure proposals
Infrastructure Australia, the nation's independent infrastructure advisor, has identified 100 projects and initiatives as national priorities in a newly revised Infrastructure Priority List (25 February 2017). More...

The 20th century saw a 23-fold increase in natural resources used for building
In Australia, 70 per cent of the buildings and infrastructure that will be used in 2050 have not yet been built. Constructing all of this will require a huge amount of natural resources and will severely impact the environment (21 February 2017). More...

ISCA unveils sustainability rating tool for infrastructure performance
The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia has released a tool to measure the sustainability performance of infrastructure assets. The IS rating scheme now covers planning, design, construction and operation of infrastructure assets. Since launching in 2012, over $82.7 billion in infrastructure and civil works projects or assets across Australia and New Zealand have either been certified or registered for an IS rating (22 February 2017). More...

MBA: Builders Welcome Improvements to ABCC
The community are the winners from the new laws to improve the effectiveness of the ABCC which have passed the passed the Senate, according to the CEO of Master Builders Australia. The new laws reduce the current Code transition period from two years to nine months and mean the community will gain from more schools, hospitals and roads sooner and small building businesses and tradies will be protected from building union bullies (16 February 2017). More...

Unified approach to power system security required
The Australian Energy Market Operator has today released a report on its ongoing investigation of the sequence of events that led to load shedding in South Australia on Wednesday 8 February, and is calling for a united approach to managing the energy transition in Australia (15 February 2017). More...

CEFC finance helps convert Queensland gold mine to solar with pumped hydro storage on the horizon
The CEFC has confirmed another major new investment in North Queensland, with $54 million in finance for an innovative large-scale solar development that also has the potential to spearhead a new pumped hydro storage project (14 February 2017). More...

No room for partisan politics in energy
Representatives of Australian communities, including civil society, households, workers, investors, business energy users and energy suppliers today challenged all political leaders to stop partisan antics and work together to reform Australia's energy systems and markets to deliver the reliable, affordable and clean energy that is critical to wellbeing, employment and prosperity (13 February 2017). More...

Renewables the solution to rising power prices: Energy Australia
One of the country's largest operators of coal-fired power stations warns big bills are on the way after recent extreme weather and says renewables are the key to driving down prices (14 February 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

Australia's largest battery to be built in Victoria
The new 20 megawatt battery will be constructed in Victoria, where the energy market operator has identified opportunities to improve grid reliability. Expressions of interest from utility-scale battery storage businesses are being sought by 1 March 2017 (17 February 2017). More...

Building regulators heading to Geelong and Surf Coast
Builders will have access to a range of construction industry experts when regulators visit Geelong and the Surf Coast next week to examine safety and building compliance. A week of site inspections will be undertaken by representatives from the Victorian Building Authority, WorkSafe Victoria, Consumer Affairs Victoria, Energy Safe Victoria and Environment Protection Authority Victoria (15 February 2017). More...

In the media – New South Wales

Builders Insurance 'Black Hole'
The New South Wales Home Building Act requires licenced builders to provide an insurance certificate to their clients prior to commencement of residential building works when the labour and materials associated with the work exceeds $20,000 in value (24 February 2017). More...

Storm-affected consumers advised to be on the lookout for dodgy traders
New South Wales Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe, is warning Sydney residents with storm damage to be aware of scammers going door-to-door, claiming to be contracted by the State Emergency Service (21 February 2017). More...

Sydney housing completions hit record high
More homes are being delivered in Greater Sydney with the number of dwellings reaching a 44-year record high and more than 33,000 homes built in the 12 months to November 2016 (15 February 2017). More...

In the media – Queensland

Watpac scores contractor role for stadium mega-screens
Queensland's live sport fans and concert goers will soon feel even closer to the on-field action, with Watpac today announced as the project contractor to deliver new screens at the Gabba and Suncorp Stadium (25 February 2017). More...

Green Bond certification to support environmentally responsible projects
Queensland is on its way to boosting investment in environmentally responsible projects through Green Bonds issued by the government's Queensland Treasury Corporation (24 February 2017). More...

Breaking ground on Queensland's solar boom
Work has commenced on the $126 million Kidston Solar Project in North Queensland, the first solar farm to begin construction under the Palaszczuk Government's Solar 150 program (22 February 2017). More... More...

Building and construction industry optimistic for future
Business confidence in the Queensland economy and building industry strengthened during the December 2016 quarter, continuing to rise into positive territory in the latest Master Builders survey (17 February 2017). More...

Work starts on master-planned future for Townsville Port
Work has officially begun on a master plan to drive economic development in and around the Port of Townsville (16 February 2017). More...

Published

State of solar 2016: Globally and in Australia Climate Council; Petra Stock, Andrew Stock, Greg Bourne: 23 February 2017
This new report finds that the solar rollout will continue to go gangbusters this year, with more than twenty industrial-scale installations set to go ahead across the country, and another 3,700 megawatts in the pipeline. More...

Dark side of the boom (NSW)
The Australia Institute; Rod Campbell et al: 16 February 2017
This report examines what we do and don't know about mines, closures and rehabilitation in New South Wales. More...

Australia Bureau of Statistics
23/02/2017 Energy Account, Australia 2014-15 (cat no. 4604.0)
22/02/2017 Construction Work Done, Australia, Preliminary Dec 2016 (cat no. 8755.0)

ACI Construction Briefs
A fortnightly communication highlighting key updates related to Australia's construction industry: 13 February 2017

Practice and courts

Infrastructure Priority List 2017 - Project and Initiative summaries
The Priority List has been refreshed and now identifies 100 major infrastructure proposals including 18 Projects, that are all underpinned by a robust business case that has been approved by Infrastructure Australia (25 February 2017). More...

Infrastructure plan comment: Strengthening the National Security of Australia's Critical Infrastructure
The Attorney-General's Department has released a discussion paper on managing the national security risks to Australia's critical infrastructure. The paper is open to comment from stakeholders in relation to the operation of the Government's new Critical Infrastructure Centre (24 February 2017). The discussion paper can be accessed at this PS News link and submissions close on 21 March.

Public Consultation Paper released outlining plans to modernise airspace protection
National airspace protection is the focus of a new consultation paper released today, with stakeholder feedback being sought on a range of proposals to modernise airspace regulatory arrangements. Submissions on the paper were accepted until 28 February 2017. To view the Paper visit here.

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2017

Queensland

Queensland Building Plan: discussion paper
The government would be rolling out a comprehensive consultation program through early 2017 with public consultation sessions right across the state. The Queensland Building Plan discussion paper and information about the consultation can be found at www.hpw.qld.gov.au. Have your say on the Queensland Building Plan Closes: 31 March 2017.

Victoria

Plumbing regulations sunset review
The Plumbing Regulations 2008 will expire in November 2018. The Department is in the process of reviewing the current regulations and will develop options for new regulations to replace them. Public submissions on the operation and effectiveness of the current regulations can be made at engage.vic.gov.au/plumbing-regulations-sunset-review. For further information on this project please email: plumbing.review@delwp.vic.gov.au. Submissions close 17 March 2017.

Cases

Save Beeliar Wetlands (Inc) v Commissioner of Main Roads (No 2) [2017] FCA 88
COSTS – interlocutory injunction – public interest litigation – applicant failed to establish that there was a serious question to be tried – whether the unsuccessful applicant should pay the respondents' costs of the application for an interlocutory injunction. The applicant is to pay the costs of the first and third respondents to be taxed, if not agreed.
The first and third respondents seek orders that the applicant, Save Beeliar Wetlands (Inc), pay their costs in resisting the applicant's application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain the Commissioner of Main Roads from recommencing work in respect of the construction of the extension to the Roe Highway until trial or further order.

Cobar Shire Council v Castlereagh Construction Group Pty Ltd [2017] NSWSC 86
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – challenge to adjudication determination – money paid into court as price for interlocutory injunction – application not pursued – proceedings to be instituted in District Court – whether funds in court should be paid to party with benefit of determination; PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – funds in court – whether should be paid out to defendant; COSTS – Calderbank offer – whether unreasonable of plaintiff to not accept offer.

Wilson's Plant Hire Pty Ltd v The Pipe King (Aust) Pty Ltd [2017] QDC 029
BUILDING AND ENGINEERING CONTRACTS – Remuneration – whether work within scope of contract – whether extra payable for latent conditions – whether additional work requested – delay – whether damage caused by actions of defendant.

Roo Roofing Pty Ltd v Commonwealth [2017] VSC 31
PRACTICE and PROCEDURE – Application for summary dismissal – Negligent misrepresentation and misleading and deceptive conduct alleged against Commonwealth – Whether conduct of the Commonwealth in promoting and administering Home Insulation Program carrying on a business or in trade or commerce – Whether no real prospect of success – Application for summary judgment dismissed.
PRACTICE and PROCEDURE – Application for summary dismissal – Unconscionable conduct alleged against Commonwealth – Whether plaintiffs at a special disability – Not possible to discern basis for alleged disability or how it was taken advantage of – Pleading deficient – Plaintiffs' claim struck out with leave to re-plead.
GROUP PROCEEDINGS – Class action – Whether claims of potential group members who already entered into deed with regard to loss substantially the subject of this proceeding can be maintained – No evidence that any such potential plaintiff seeks to set deed aside – Whether 'just and convenient' – Group re-defined.

Woolcorp Pty Ltd v Rodger Constructions Pty Ltd [2017] VSCA 21
CONTRACT – Developers of adjoining land – Alleged agreement for one developer to contribute to the other's construction costs of a public road – Whether agreement reached – Whether 'offer' capable of acceptance – Whether agreement could be inferred – No agreement – Appeal allowed.
RESTITUTION – Work and labour done claim – Causation – Whether works performed at the request of the applicant – Relevance of benefit received – No proper basis for claim – Lumbers v W Cook Builders Pty Ltd (in liquidation) [2008] HCA 27; (2008) 232 CLR 635, applied – Appeal allowed.

Other

Maxcon Constructions Pty Ltd v Vadasz (No 2) [2017] SASCFC 2
CONTRACTS - BUILDING, ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS - REMUNERATION - STATUTORY REGULATION OF ENTITLEMENT TO AND RECOVERY OF PROGRESS PAYMENTS - ADJUDICATION OF PAYMENT CLAIMS.
CONTRACTS - GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES - ILLEGAL AND VOID CONTRACTS - CONTRACTS ILLEGAL BY STATUTE.
CONTRACTS - GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES - ILLEGAL AND VOID CONTRACTS - EFFECT OF ILLEGALITY OR INVALIDITY – SEVERANCE.
BANKRUPTCY - OFFENCES - PARTICULAR OFFENCES - FAILURE TO DISCLOSE. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - JUDICIAL REVIEW - PRIVATIVE CLAUSES – CERTIORARI.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - PREROGATIVE WRITS AND ORDERS - CERTIORARI - GROUNDS FOR CERTIORARI TO QUASH - ERROR OF LAW ON THE FACE OF THE RECORD.
Appeal against dismissal of action for judicial review.

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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Authors
Christine Jones
Scott Alden
 
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