Australia: Construction & Infrastructure News – 24 May 2017

In the media – National

MBA: Budget Boost for Housing
New economic modelling commissioned by Master Builders Australia forecasts that the $75 billion infrastructure and housing affordability measures announced in the Budget will deliver a substantial 41% boost to the supply and affordability of housing (19 May 2017). More...

More offshore areas available for oil and gas exploration as price crunch hits east coast
The Federal Government releases new acreage for offshore oil and gas exploration offshore which include areas in old Bass Strait production regions (18 May 2017). More...

Federal Budget Will Help Drive 30% Rise in Public Infrastructure Construction: BIS
The 2017-18 Federal Budget will help deliver a strong boost to Australia's $80 billion civil construction market, offsetting further declines in resources-related work, according to BIS Oxford Economics (BIS) civil construction report, Engineering Construction in Australia 2017 – 2031 (15 May 2017). More...

Developers welcome Budget's $70 billion infrastructure measures
The federal government's new measures to build more infrastructure and make housing more affordable have been welcomed by the development sector. Under the new measures outlined in the 2017-18 Budget released on 9th May, the federal government has allocated $1 billion for critical infrastructure and $70 billion for transport infrastructure (May 2017).   More...

In the media – NSW

Tender open to bring water and jobs to Broken Hill
Broken Hill is one step closer to a secure water future, with short-listed providers today invited to bid for the historic project. The four shortlisted Australian based consortia are Downer Spiecapag Joint Venture, John Holland Joint Venture, McConnell Dowell, and UGL/Veolia (19 May 2017). More...

Fixing Country Rail applications open
The New South Wales Government has announced applications for round one of the Fixing Country Rail program are now open. The $150 million for round one is part of the $400 million New South Wales Restart commitment to deliver a highly functional transport network across the state for moving freight in and out of regional areas (15 May 2017). More...

North Sydney's transport plan revealed
North Sydney Council has released its new draft North Sydney Transport Strategy (NSTS) for public exhibition and feedback. The document's importance is underscored by big New South Wales government transport projects such as Sydney Metro, the Northern Beaches B-Line and Westconnex (May 2017). More...

Department welcomes Auditor-General report into mine rehabilitation
An audit report on mine rehabilitation released today by the NSW Auditor-General has been welcomed by the Department of Planning and Environment, with work already underway that addresses some of the recommendations (11 May 2017). More...

We've pleaded guilty as charged: Coal mine CEO
A mining wastewater dam collapse that sent an "avalanche" of coal reject and slurry into Blue Mountains National Park was a "disaster waiting to happen", the environment court hears (08 May 2017). More...

In the media – Queensland

Queensland Government offers Adani mining group a 'royalties holiday' that could cost state $320 million
The Queensland Government is offering Indian mining company Adani a "royalties holiday" worth hundreds of millions of dollars for its massive Carmichael coal mine in the state's north (18 May 2017). More...

Works begin on transforming the Bruce from Caloundra to Sunshine Motorway
First sod turned on the $929.3 million Caloundra to Sunshine Motorway upgrade. Over 40,000 motorists estimated to use the Sunshine Motorway interchange and the Caloundra Road interchange daily. Upgrade will feature Australia's first Diamond Interchange (18 May 2017). More...

Extra $220M package to assist Queenslanders bounce back from TC Debbie
The Palaszczuk Government has proposed it and the Turnbull Government jointly fund a $220 million package to provide additional assistance for communities, businesses, industries and the environment following the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Debbie and severe flooding (11 May 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

Victoria must lock in location for second port
The Property Council welcomed reports that Infrastructure Victoria has advised the Victorian Government that the location for the future second container port should be in western Victoria ("Bay West"). The Property Council looks forward to the Government releasing the advice (18 May 2017). More...

John Holland to deliver North West Program Alliance
John Holland has been awarded a $170M contract to remove two level crossings in Melbourne in alliance with Kellogg Brown Root (KBR) (16 May 2017). More...

Published

Regions 2030—Unlocking Opportunity
This report outlines the Government's investments, achievements and future direction for rural, regional and remote Australia across five key areas: jobs and economic development; infrastructure; health; education; and communications. To view a copy of Regions 2030—Unlocking Opportunity, visit regional.gov.au/regions2030 (18 May 2017).

Practice and courts

Better Mine Rehabilitation for Queensland
The Queensland Government is proposing a new policy for mine rehabilitation outlined in a discussion paper, Better Mine Rehabilitation for Queensland.
The proposed rehabilitation policy is a key component of an integrated mined land management framework, which also includes six delivery elements. Read the Better Mine Rehabilitation for Queensland discussion paper and complete the survey or provide a submission by 15 June 2017.

Victoria

VBA: Building Interim Regulations 2017
The Building Interim Regulations 2017 come into operation on 4 June 2017, replacing the Building Regulations 2006 in substantially the same form. Minor amendments have been made to update references to legislation, planning schemes, government departments, the National Construction Code, and Australian Standards, and to reflect current drafting practice (19 May 2017). More...

Building Regulations Sunset Review
DELWP has released the proposed Building Regulations 2017 for consultation. Have your say on the proposed Regulations until 5pm 18 July 2017.  More...

Cases

Colin R Price Associates Pty Ltd v Four Oaks Pty Ltd [2017] FCAFC 75
TRADE PRACTICES – unconscionable conduct – director of unit holder under significant financial and emotional pressure – where document in effect required unitholder to give up its right to share in the proceeds of the project to pay for cost overruns – whether finding of unconscionable conduct should have been made – whether a claim of accessorial liability was sufficiently made and pressed – whether appropriate to make findings of accessorial liability on appeal.
TRADE PRACTICES – misleading or deceptive conduct – alleged representation that builder would be paid the cost of all materials and labour plus a margin of 15% – whether finding of misleading or deceptive conduct should have been made.
TRUSTS AND TRUSTEES – unit trust for property development project – whether claims against other beneficiaries sufficiently pleaded – whether beneficiary may bring proceedings in its own right – avoiding a multiplicity of proceedings – proper operation of s 22 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) – whether orders should have been made against all respondents – whether there was sufficient evidence of an amount paid by the trustee – whether any such amount was a proper payment for the purposes of the trust.
CORPORATIONS – agency – authority of single director to bind a company which has more than one director – whether finding that director did not have implied or ostensible authority should have been made.
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – evidence – whether it was appropriate to permit the parties to adduce further evidence after judgment on separate questions.

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (Perth Children's' Hospital Contraventions Case) [2017] FCA 491
INDUSTRIAL LAW – admitted contraventions of ss 340, 346 and 348 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – where respondents engaged in blockade of site and strike action – assessment of penalties – factors considered - Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (Cth).

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council v Diveva Pty Limited [2017] NSWCA 97
CONTRACTS – contract between Council and successful tenderer - proper construction of option DAMAGES – calculation of damages for breach of contract – assessment of damages for loss of chance to renew the contract – future-looking damages - contract for the for the supply and laying of asphalt.

Civil Mining Construction Pty Ltd v Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal Pty Ltd [2017] QSC 085
CONTRACTS – BUILDING ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – THE CONTRACT – CONSTRUCTION OF PARTICULAR CONTRACTS AND IMPLIED CONDITIONS – VARIATIONS – where the plaintiff was a Queensland-based construction company – where the defendant was involved in the business of constructing coal and export facilities – where the plaintiff was a contractor of the defendant – where the plaintiff and defendant entered into a bulk earthworks contract for a package of construction works – where the plaintiff engaged subcontractors to carry out certain construction works – where variations and directions affected the contract works – where practical completion was delayed – where the contract works were varied – whether the plaintiff was overpaid as a result of variations and delay to the contract works.
CONTRACTS – BUILDING ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – THE CONTRACT – CONSTRUCTION OF PARTICULAR CONTRACTS AND IMPLIED CONDITIONS – SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES – where dispute arose in relation to a bulk earthworks project – where certain claims were already the subject of statutory adjudication process – whether the plaintiff was required to repay the defendant any amount that the defendant already paid to the plaintiff – where the defendant counterclaimed.
CONTRACTS – BUILDING ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – THE CONTRACT – CONSTRUCTION OF PARTICULAR CONTRACTS AND IMPLIED CONDITIONS – DETERMINATION OF COSTS where variations and directions affected the contract works – where the defendant counterclaimed – where the defendant alleged overpayments to the plaintiff under the contract works – where the defendant claimed liquidated damages – whether terms of contractual construction entitle the plaintiff to additional payments for delay – whether the plaintiff was entitled to additional payments for variations to the contract works – whether the defendant was entitled to claw back any amounts already paid under the contract.
CONTRACTS – BUILDING ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – PERFORMANCE OF WORK – GENERAL – where variations and directions affected the contract works – where the contract works were ultimately different to those contemplated under the contract– where the contract works were varied – whether the plaintiff was entitled to amounts already paid for works which the plaintiff did not complete – whether the plaintiff was entitled to additional amounts to those initially contemplated under the contract - whether the defendant was entitled to claw back any amounts already paid under the contract as a result of the variations.
CONTRACTS – BUILDING ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – REMUNERATION – CERTIFICATES – FINALITY OF CERTIFICATE - Construction and effect of final certificates issued under General Conditions of AS2124 – where the parties issued its final certificate, obliging the plaintiff to pay the defendant $12,269,507.88 with respect to its claimed progress payment — where the defendant claims the amount of the final certificate less the items otherwise the subject of these proceedings – where the plaintiff served notice of dispute under contract with respect to final certificate – whether the plaintiff was overpaid under the contract as a result of amounts re-valued in the final certificate.
CONTRACTS – BUILDING ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – REMUNERATION – STATUTORY REGULATION OF ENTITLEMENT TO AND RECOVERY OF PROGRESS PAYMENTS – ADJUDICATION OF PAYMENT CLAIMS – where adjudication decision made in favour of the plaintiff under Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) — whether the defendant is entitled to recover amounts the plaintiff successfully claimed through statutory adjudication.

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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