Australia: Construction & Infrastructure News – 5 July 2017

In the media – National

Major construction on road to recovery
The latest Australian Industry Group/Australian Constructors Association Construction Outlook survey released recently has reported some positive news for the engineering and construction industry (29 June 2017). More...

CFMEU warns it will slow down Victorian projects
The CFMEU has threatened to disrupt major Victorian government projects as tens of thousands of workers rallied around the country to protest proposed building laws, stating people might have to wait for Skyrail longer than they think because they need the cooperation of the construction unions to finish all this stuff on time (20 June 2017). More...

In the media – Victoria

Victoria's $1.4b infrastructure win
Victoria has won its $1.4 billion with Canberra over its reward for selling the Port of Melbourne lease, with money now flowing to regional rail upgrades. The mammoth project will revamp the Ballarat and Gippsland lines and provide small upgrades to six other regional lines (28 June 2017). More...

Construction momentum continues in Victoria as Aurecon and Jacobs West Gate Tunnel design gets the go-ahead
The Victorian Government and Transurban's recent announcement naming the CPB Contractors and John Holland consortium, together with global engineering and infrastructure firms Aurecon and Jacobs in joint venture, as the preferred contractors to design and build the multibillion dollar West Gate Tunnel ensures Victoria's construction momentum will continue (27 June 2017). More...

VicRoads responds to VAGO audit findings
The Victorian Auditor General has tabled his report, Maintaining State Controlled Roadways, examining how VicRoads maintains the arterial road network. The report looks at VicRoads' historical approach to maintaining roads, concluding that there were shortcomings in planning and prioritising investment, managing data and measuring performance under the approach that is now being phased out (26 June 2017). More...

Is Victoria's new domestic building dispute resolution service a game changer?
Building approvals, at least in Victoria, have been strong, the crane index has remained high and although economic storm clouds are gathering momentum, there seemed to be nothing to explain the uncharacteristic plummet in domestic building dispute instructions for members of the legal fraternity (26 June 2017). More...

In the media – New South Wales

SafeWork announces construction industry safety crackdown
SafeWork New South Wales has today announced a safety crackdown on the construction industry, following a recent spike in serious injuries to workers on Sydney building sites (28 June 2017). More...

$12.1 billion public transport budget
A staggering $12.1 billion is budgeted for public transport infrastructure and services so the New South Wales Government can continue to deliver transformational mega projects, boost services, and provide the best experience for commuters (29 June 2017). More...

CPB Contractors wins $2.81 billion Sydney Metro works
CPB Contractors, with its joint venture partners, has been selected to deliver a new metro railway crossing deep under the world-famous Sydney Harbour. The New South Wales Government today awarded a $2.81 billion contract to deliver twin 15.5km tunnels and associated civil works on Stage 2 of the Sydney Metro project – Australia's biggest public transport project (26 June 2017). More...

In the media – Queensland

Cairns Port prepares for the arrival of thirty storey high wind turbines
Eight cargo vessels containing enormous blades, wind towers and more than 450 components for Queensland's largest wind farm project, RATCH Australia's Mount Emerald Wind Farm, will soon transit through the Port of Cairns in a boost to local economies (29 June 2017). More...

Construction begins on Australia's tallest timber tower
Construction has begun on Impact Investment Group's 25 King development, set to become Australia's tallest cross-laminated timber building and one of the tallest in the world (22 June 2017). More...

$400 million works for Queensland program to continue to create regional jobs
Regional Queensland has been delivered a major budget windfall with an extra $200 million over two years allocated to councils through the Palaszczuk Government's successful Works for Queensland Program. Current projects in construction range from roadworks to upgrading parks and playgrounds and even delivering renewable energy infrastructure (19 June 2017). More...


The Economic (non)viability of the Adani Galilee Basin Project
The Australia Institute; Professor John Quiggin, School of Economics, University of Queensland: 29 June 2017 As the Adani mine proposal becomes a central issue in Australian politics, Prof John Quiggin looks in detail at the economic (non)viability of the mine, which has driven the company's appeals for subsidies and government support. More...

New South Wales Budget 2017-18: Budget paper no. 2 - infrastructure statement
New South Wales Treasury: 20 June 2017
Budget Paper No. 2 Infrastructure Statement provides information on the Government's infrastructure investment program. More...

Practice and courts

New South Wales

Strata building bond scheme now commences 1 January 2018
The new strata building bond and inspection scheme will now commence on 1 January 2018. It was originally scheduled to commence on 1 July 2017 (23 June 2017). More...

New application form: initial fire safety report
Fire and Rescue New South Wales has updated the application form for an initial fire safety report (20 June 2017). More...

New BASIX energy targets
On 1 July, new Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) energy targets will come into effect, as part of the government's initiative to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. For more detailed information, view the frequently asked questions. To find out more about BASIX or apply for a BASIX certificate, visit the BASIX website.


QBCC: Certifier legislative obligations
Certifiers must meet their legislative obligations by providing mandatory documentation to Queensland Fire & Emergency Services (30 June 2017). More...

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


Proposed Building Regulations 2017
The Victorian Government is now undertaking public consultation on the proposed Building Regulations 2017 (the proposed Regulations) (30 June 2017). More...

Refined requirements for owner-builder applications
The key change is the VBA will now accept construction induction cards issued by interstate regulators as set out in WorkSafe Victoria's Guidance Notes (26 June 2017). More...


Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union of Australia [2017] FCA 704
INDUSTRIAL LAW – whether threats made with the intent of coercing entry into an enterprise agreement – whether contravention of s 343(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth); Evidence Act 1995 (Cth), s 140; Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), ss 343(1), 363 and 793.

Watpac Constructions (NSW) Pty Limited v Charter Hall Funds Management Limited [2017] NSWSC 865
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – validity of payment claim – object and application of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW), s 13 – where construction work identifiable – where there was an available reference date – BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – whether estoppel defence available – where plaintiff did not influence defendant's understanding or actions – BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – CONSUMER LAW – whether misleading and deceptive conduct defence available – where plaintiff did not influence defendant's understanding or actions.

Probuild Constructions (Aust) Pty Ltd v DDI Group Pty Ltd [2017] NSWCA 151
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – subcontract for renovation works – payment claim under Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) – where variations directed by principal after Date for Practical Completion – where Date of Practical Completion 114 days late – where principal sought to reduce payment claim to nil by way of set-off based on liquidated damages claim for delayed completion. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – procedural fairness – where adjudicator rejected liquidated damages claim – whether adjudicator applied prevention principle – whether application of prevention principle denial of procedural fairness. Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW).

Imerva Corporation Pty Ltd v Kuna [2017] VSCA 168
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – Major domestic building contract – Whether progress payments governed by schedule in contract or by schedule prescribed by the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 – Statute permits parties to depart from prescribed schedule where parties agree and 'do so in the manner set out in the regulations' –Regulations require warning of change to legal rights to be signed by building owner – Requirement has objective of consumer protection – Signature must demonstrate clearly that owners understand effect on legal rights – Initials at foot of page insufficient – Estoppel unavailable to preclude owners from relying on builders' contravention – Tudor Developments Pty Ltd v Makeig [2008] NSWCA 263; (2008) 72 NSWLR 624 considered – R v Moore; ex parte Myers (1884) 10 VLR 322, Campbell v DPP (Cth) [1995] VicRp 82; [1995] 2 VR 654, Waugh v Kippen [1986] HCA 12; (1986) 160 CLR 156, Nelson v Nelson (1995) 184 CLR 538 discussed – Re Brunswick NL; Blossomtree Pty Ltd v Brunswick NL (1990) 2 ACSR 625 distinguished – Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 ss 40, 132, 133 – Domestic Building Contracts Regulations 2007 regs 12(a) and (b), Forms 1 and 2 – Leave to appeal granted – Appeal dismissed.

Colonial Range v CES-Queen (BAB4 - Protection Works) [2017] VSC 317
JUDICIAL REVIEW – Appeal from the Building Appeals Board – Certiorari sought to quash Building Appeals Board determinations upholding a Building Surveyor's determinations under s 87 of the Building Act 1993 in relation to protection works proposals – Jurisdictional error – Remitter sought under s 149(1) of Building Act 1993 – Protection works notices under s 84 of the Building Act 1993, invalidated by reason of an earlier notice under s 84 being in train – Error as a consequence of a misconception by the Building Surveyor of his statutory function – Building Regulations 2006 – Building Regulation 607 – Failure by the Building Appeals Board to seriously consider submissions – Alternatively failure to give adequate reasons for rejection of submissions.

John Holland Pty Ltd v Chidambara [2017] WASC 179
Construction contracts - Adjudication determination - Procedural fairness - Determination on basis not contended for by either party - Unreasonable or irrational decision - Determination on basis of contract in different terms from that on which application based - Whether money paid pursuant to determination should be repaid when determination quashed; Construction Contracts Act 2004 (WA), s 15, s 25, s 32, s 38, s 39, s 42, s 43, s 45.

CPB Contractors Pty Ltd v JKC Australia LNG Pty Ltd [No 2] [2017] WASCA 123
Building and construction - Provision for performance bonds - Party entitled to have recourse to performance bonds to recover amounts that are payable by other party - Whether recourse not permitted when other party disputes that it is obliged to pay the amount - Proper construction of contract - Whether injunction should be granted restraining recourse. Under the terms of the Subcontract the subcontractor was obliged to procure performance bonds in favour of the contractor in total amounts of about $26.1 million, that being 10% of the Subcontract price.

Legislation - Queensland

Building and Construction Legislation (Non-conforming Building Products - Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2017
Introduced on 25/05/2017 Stage reached: Referred to Committee on 25/05/2017 – the Bill will require designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers to ensure building products are safe and fit for purpose; The Bill will seek to amend the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 to enable QBCC to inspect sites, take samples for testing and direct rectifications. Provisions within the Bill will place additional duties on building supply chain participants and widen grounds for the QBCC to take disciplinary action against a licensee. The Government aims to have the legislation in effect by the end of the year.

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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