Australia: Construction & Infrastructure News – 7 June 2017

In the media – National

Australia housing construction boom shows signs of slowing down
Australia is witnessing a cooling off in its biggest-ever home-building boom as approvals for new projects sank 17.2 percent in April, a turnaround that could undermine policymakers' hopes for solid economic growth over the next two years (02 June 2017). More...

Low emissions roadmap looks to a clean tech future
The released CSIRO Low Emissions Technology Roadmap which strongly reinforces the Government's technology neutral approach to emissions reductions and our focus on energy security and energy productivity. The Roadmap explores major shifts in electricity generation and energy use in buildings, industry and transport out to 2050 (02 June 2017). More...

Plans to build Australia's first offshore wind farm revealed
Plans for an Australian-first offshore wind farm off Victoria's south-east coast, which could provide almost a fifth of the state's energy, wins cautious government support (02 June 2017). More...

Court rules on site bans for top CFMEU officials
Victoria's powerful construction union has suffered a major blow in a landmark court ruling that will see most of its senior officials barred from entering building sites without an invitation from management (02 June 2017). More...

MBA: Days lost to industrial disputes still too high but trending in right direction
The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that building union strikes cost the industry 10,200 days in the March quarter, which was 40% of the National total and the highest of any sector in the economy (01 June 2017). More...

WGBC: All buildings must be net zero carbon by 2050
Businesses should commit to only owning or leasing space in buildings that will be net zero carbon by 2050, the World Green Building Council has urged. The call comes in a just-released report which sets out the pathways and requirements for the built environment to pull its weight in achieving the below 2°C target set by the Paris Agreement (01 June 2017). More...

Unprecedented class action launched against Victoria's building regulator
An unprecedented class action is being levelled against Victoria's building regulator for failing to protect dozens of home owners from shoddy and dangerous building work (31 May 2017). More...

Here's where the construction boom is in Australia
Australia has been on an epic residential building boom in recent years, constructing more homes than ever before in the 2015/16 financial year, with the Housing Industry Association (HIA) showing Australia's top 20 residential building "hotspots" for the 2015/16 financial year (29 May 2017). More...

Australia rises in renewable energy attractiveness
Australia had moved up to 5th place on Ernst Young's Renewable Energy Attractiveness index following the investment of over $7.5 billion in wind, solar and rooftop installations in 2016-17 (29 May 2017). More...

Building company accused of owing workers millions fails to get hijacked website shut down
A building company that allegedly owes money to underworld figure Mick Gatto fails in its initial attempt to silence two subcontractors who have waged an online war against the builder over claims of unpaid debts (26 May 2017). More...

Infrastructure Australia: Outsourcing passenger transport brings down costs, brings up quality
As governments around the country look for ways to fund infrastructure, Infrastructure Australia has today provided the blueprint for better public transport at better value to taxpayers, said Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (26 May 2017). More...

Construction data hints at GDP slowdown: ABS
The chances of Australia posting solid first-quarter economic growth are getting slimmer, thanks to weaker-than-expected construction data (25 May 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

Independent advice on future of second port received
Existing Victorian ports have capacity for almost another 40 years according to advice released today by Infrastructure Victoria. The Andrews Labor Government welcomes the Advice on Securing Victoria's Ports Capacity report from Infrastructure Victoria (23 May 2017). More...
See Infrastructure Victoria's Advice on Securing Victoria's Ports Capacity report here.

Heavier penalties introduced for reckless builders
The Victorian Building Authority now has greater enforcement powers over people who knowingly oversee or carry out building work that is not in accordance with the building permits, the Building Act (1993) (the Act) or the building regulations (24 May 2017). More...

In the media – New South Wales

Housing approvals remain at record levels
Housing approvals continue at near-record levels with more than 72,000 residential building approvals over the past year, latest data from the ABS shows (30 May 2017). More...

In the media – Queensland

Jobs to flow as North Queensland Stadium trade packages released today
Local jobs will flow from the first trade packages being released today for the $250 million North Queensland Stadium, with managing contractor Watpac is releasing the first 27 trade packages for demolition, temporary fencing and other early stage works on the ICN gateway (02 June 2017). More...

Government welcomes Rockhampton contract, jobs for Adani project
The Palaszczuk Government has welcomed the announcement by Adani Australia to grant a contract of more than $82 million to supply concrete sleepers from Rockhampton for the Carmichael Coal mine project's rail line (02 June 2017). More...

Palaszczuk Government welcomes royalties agreement with Adani
The Palaszczuk Government has welcomed the first agreement under its royalties framework to open investment and create jobs in the Galilee and Surat Basins and the North West Minerals Province (30 May 2017). More...

Queensland building approvals up 3.4 % in April
Building approvals in Queensland weathered the anticipated decline in approvals for units with a sharp, unexpected monthly rise in April (30 May 2017). More...

Queensland leads country in tackling dodgy building products
After years of federal government inquiries, reports, hand-wringing and head-shaking over dodgy building products, the Queensland government has leapt over the competition with a new set of building product safety rules. They are designed to be comprehensive and catch everyone in the net – from tradies to designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers (29 May 2017). More... (Government media) More...

Eagle Farm construction deaths spark tough new building licensing laws
The Queensland Government introduces proposed laws that gives the construction watchdog stronger powers to refuse or cancel licences to builders with a poor safety record (25 May 2017). More...

Queenslanders demand better
The poll of 1,000 Queenslanders, commissioned by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, Infrastructure Association of Queensland, and the Property Council, has uncovered deep public concern that the State's infrastructure needs are not being adequately met by all levels of government (24 May 2017). More...

Solar now Queensland's largest power station
Queensland has officially become the Solar State with new figures confirming that combined solar rooftops are now Queensland's largest power station - surpassing the 1,680 megawatt Gladstone Power Station (24 May 2017). More...


Australian Bureau of Statistics
30/05/2017 Building Approvals, Australia, Apr 2017 (cat no. 8731.0)
24/05/2017 Construction Work Done, Australia, Preliminary, Mar 2017 (cat no. 8755.0)

Renewable energy and jobs: Annual Review 2017
International Renewable Energy Agency: 24 May 2017
Presents the status of renewable energy employment, both by technology and in selected countries, over the past year. More...

Practice and courts – National

ABCC Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016
The Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016 applies to companies who wish to undertake Commonwealth-funded building work. Building industry participants covered by agreements made prior 2 December 2016 have until 29 November 2018 to ensure their agreements are Code compliant.

National Infrastructure Summit, Sydney, 28 – 29 June
This year the focus is on driving growth through smarter, more efficient cities. Over 300 of Australia's top investors, planners, contractors, advisers and policy-makers will be in attendance – at what is the nation's premier infrastructure event. Learn more and register your place here.

Practice and courts – Victoria

VBA: New Residential Zones
Planning Scheme amendment VC110. New residential zones and impact on Part 4 of the Building Regulations. Click here to read the fact sheet (02 June 2017).

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 (24 May 2017).

Practice and courts – New South Wales

A Fair Go for First Home Buyers – Factsheet
The New South Wales Government has developed a comprehensive package of measures designed to improve housing affordability across NSW (01 June 2017). More...

Practice and courts – Queensland

Queensland Master Builders: Queensland's new planning system
New planning legislation set to replace the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 will come into effect from 3 July 2017. QMB have outlined some changes that have been made to the existing legislation and planning system, and the resulting benefits (02 June 2017). More...

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.


470 St Kilda Road Pty Ltd v Robinson [2017] FCA 597
CONSUMER LAW – where statutory declaration made in trade and commerce – where statutory declaration deposed to reasonable inquiries undertaken – whether representations with respect to reasonable inquiries untrue – whether statutory declaration misleading and deceptive – whether applicant relied on untrue representations – whether apportionable claims under the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic).
NEGLIGENCE – whether statutory declaration contained negligent misstatements.
Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), Sch 2 ("Australian Consumer Law") s 18. Statutory Declarations Act 1959 (Cth), s 8. Statutory Declarations Regulations 1993 (Cth), Sch 1. Building and Construction Industry Security Payment Act 2002 (Vic), s 14.

SMLXL Projects Pty Limited v RIIS Retail A/S [2017] NSWDC 131
Building and construction – summary judgment application - Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 – whether proper detail of work included in a payment claim to comply with section 13(2)(a) - relevance of background knowledge of the recipient of a payment claim - whether need to show contract or agreement to a sum for the building works or a mechanism to establish a sum before the issue of a payment claim –– whether agreement to alleged variations established.

Abergeldie Contractors Pty Ltd v Fairfield City Council [2017] NSWCA 113
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) – progress payments scheme – requirement of valid reference date under contract – date of practical completion – whether payment claim valid. CONTRACTS – construction of contract – meaning of "date of practical completion" – whether practical completion dependent on building superintendent's opinion, or objective existence of state of facts – whether "date of practical completion" is the date of certificate of completion.

Boral Limited v Foley Bear Pty Ltd trading as J R Industries (No 2) [2017] NSWCA 108
APPEAL – RESTITUTION - where appeal successful – notice of appeal did not seek restitution - application for order of restitution – slip rule - whether appropriate to order interest payable on the repayment amount.

Stuart v Queensland Building and Construction Commission [2017] QCA 115
APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL – GENERAL PRINCIPLES – RIGHT OF APPEAL – WHEN APPEAL LIES – GENERALLY – where the applicant seeks leave to appeal against a decision of the Appeal Tribunal of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal dismissing an application for costs – where ss 149 and 150 of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 allow appeals against the "final decision" of the Tribunal – whether an order as to costs is a "final decision".

Bundaberg Regional Council v Bailey [2017] QPEC 031
Pursuant to section 439 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, a judge of this court has the same power to punish a person for contempt of the court as the judge has to punish that person for contempt of the District Court - finalisation of all works- respondent sought an extension for the timeframe - commence and complete the building works authorised by the building development approval.

Medussa Enterprises Pty Ltd v Nationwide Concrete Pumping Pty Ltd [2017] VSC 275
CORPORATIONS – Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), s 459G – application to set aside statutory demand by reason of alleged genuine dispute in respect of the debt – alleged dispute found to be spurious and implausible - application dismissed.

ImageBuild Group Pty Ltd v. Cidec Pty Ltd Ors CI-17-02147 (16 May 2017) [2017] VCC 615
Practice and procedure – Interlocutory injunction – Plaintiffs' website "taken over" by disgruntled creditors – Statements published on website alleging criminal behaviour and serious misconduct by the plaintiffs, its director and others associated with them – Tort of injurious falsehood alleged – Whether sufficient evidence to establish a serious question to be tried as to the falsity of the statements on the website.

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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Scott Alden
Christine Jones
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