Australia: Construction & Infrastructure News - 8 November 2017

In the media - National

Trade surplus doubles to $1.7bn while building approvals bounce back
Renewed demand from China for iron ore was behind a surprise jump in September's trade surplus, while building approvals defied recent gloom (02 October 2017). More...

Four in ten construction invoices paid late
Four in 10 invoices throughout the building and construction sector in Australia are paid late, a new survey suggests. In its latest analysis of late payments in Australia, debt ratings agency Dunn & Bradstreet said that throughout the second quarter of this year, only around 60 per cent of invoices with the building and construction sector were paid either on or before the due date (01 November 2017). More...

Green Star rises to the decarbonisation challenge
November will see the launch of three radical new innovation challenges in Green Star ratings that will hopefully create the incentive for the building sector to outperform on carbon emission reduction (31 October 2017). More...

Building product manufacturers facing massive energy cost pressures
Spiralling cost in energy intensive categories such as steel, bricks and cement are placing building product manufacturers under enormous pressure to justify ongoing investment in Australia, a leading construction sector economist says (31 October 2017). More...

Maximum penalty against CFMEU for work stoppages at Commonwealth Games site
The Federal Court has imposed a maximum penalty against the CFMEU after it repeatedly stopped work on a $126 million Commonwealth Games project on the Gold Coast. In a penalty decision, Justice Reeves said the cost impact of the ongoing disruptions at the Carrara Sports and Recreation project had been estimated at over $700,000 (30 October 2017). More...

Five year national productivity review released
The report, Shifting the Dial: 5 year productivity review, proposes reforms to improve the functioning of cities, such as better transport infrastructure and improved access to housing which would also improve labour mobility within cities. The review states that despite changes over the last five years, there have been continuing instances of poor, very costly decisions, including the current WestConnex (Sydney) and West Gate Tunnel (Melbourne) projects (27 October 2017). More...

New South Wales

Western Sydney Airport land survey tender opens
The request for tender was released by WSA Co, the company established by the Federal Government to build and operate the $5.3 billion Western Sydney Airport (01 November 2017). More...

More jobs and infrastructure for Greater Sydney
Greater Sydney will become three connected cities over the next 40 years, linked by new public transport, giving more communities access to job opportunities, new homes and services within 30 minutes. Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts, and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance, today launched the Greater Sydney Commission draft regional plan and Transport for NSW's Future Transport strategy for metropolitan Sydney for public comment (01 November 2017). More...


Flammable cladding on government projects banned in Queensland Building Plan
Queensland has become the first state to officially ban the use of flammable polyethylene core aluminium composite panels, with the newly passed Queensland Building Plan legislation explicitly forbidding them on state-funded projects. The government also intends to push for a national ban on the products (02 November 2017). More...

Australia's toughest building product safety laws start
New laws that give the State's building industry watchdog powers to clean up unsafe building sites and rid the supply chain of dodgy building products, have come into effect today. The QBCC Commissioner Brett Bassett said the laws brought the QBCC's powers into line with other regulators and will make more people accountable for safety on our building sites (01 November 2017). More...

Master Builders Queensland say project bank accounts will not work on any level
Master Builders Queensland recently delivered their response to the Queensland Building Plan, which contains some dramatic changes proposed by the state government to shake up the industry.

Innovation sets a precedent for future infrastructure
Cardno, as part of the Logan Water Infrastructure Alliance in South East Queensland, is pleased to be part of the development of a water chlorination facility powered entirely off-grid, in what is believed to be an Australian first (31 October 2017). More...

Queensland Building Plan provides a blueprint for industry confidence,
A bright future is ahead for Queensland's $45 billion building and construction sector with the Palaszczuk Government releasing the new Queensland Building Plan (QBP). The Queensland Building Plan can be found here (30 October 2017). More...


Victoria's building and export sectors surge
New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released today shows Victoria experienced the largest growth in September among all mainland states for non-residential building approvals - more than 35 per cent. That's 7.0 per cent higher over the year (02 November 2017). More...

Pipeline proposal a step closer for Yarra Valley growers
The Andrews Labor Government is supporting a proposal to pipe recycled water to wine makers in the Coldstream and Gruyere area, to secure their water supply and help them produce more wine (27 October 2017). More...


Renewables: Powering Queensland's Future
Petra Stock, Greg Bourne, Karen Hussey; Climate Council: 30 October 2017
This report highlights the significant potential for Queensland's clean energy future, as fourteen clean energy projects, the highest number in Australia, get under construction this year alone.

Renewables: powering Queensland's future

Australian Bureau of Statistics
02/11/2017: Building Approvals, Australia, Sep 2017 (cat no. 8731.0)

ACI Construction Briefs
23 October 2017: ACI Construction Brief: Another Energy Policy

Practice and courts


Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Bill 2017, Project Bank Account Bill Passes
The State Parliament has passed the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Bill 2017, giving effect to the Government's Project Bank Accounts policy. Changes contained in the Bill also aim to clamp down on shadow directors and phoenixing activities.
A two-stage adoption process will see the requirement for mandatory PBAs rolled-out across Queensland. An initial stage, to being on 1 January 2018, will see the requirement applied to government building and construction projects. A second stage, to begin 1 January 2019, will expand the application of the mandatory PBA to all building and construction projects over $1 million.
Late amendments to the Bill adopted the Property Council's call to legislate for a full review of the operation and effectiveness of the PBA model prior to its application to non-government projects. This proposal had been accepted by the Public Works and Utilities Committee in their report into the legislation.

Master Builders Queensland: BA White Card changes - what you need to know
Changes to the national unit of competency for White Card courses will take effect in Queensland from 20 October 2017. Given the course is mandatory for anyone who works, or wants to work, in the construction industry, you need to be across them. More...


VBA: Clarification - Changes to registration requirements for domestic builders and draftspersons
Some practitioners have requested a clarification about the change to the registration threshold that was posted on 22 August 2017. From 1 August 2017, the registration threshold requiring registration with the VBA was raised (by regulation), from $5,000 to $10,000 (construction costs including labour and materials) for draftspersons engaged solely in the business of preparing plans and preparing documents related to permits or permit applications for domestic building work (30 October 2017). More...


REW08 Projects Pty Ltd v PNC Lifestyle Investments Pty Ltd [2017] NSWCA 269
CONTRACTS - illegality - contracts contrary to public policy - whether contract was one to commit an unlawful act, namely to delay the payment of stamp duty - consideration of the circumstances in which a court may enforce a contract even if its formation or performance is associated with illegal purposes - Fitzgerald v FJ Leonhardt Pty Ltd (1997) 189 CLR 215 - Nelson v Nelson (1995) 184 CLR 538. EQUITY - equitable remedies - specific performance - whether respondent should be denied an order for specific performance of a contract for sale on the ground of illegality of the contract. EQUITY - defences - unclean hands - whether conduct disentitling respondent to relief - Dewhirst v Edwards [1983] 1 NSWLR 34 - respondent's supposed impropriety was incidental or collateral to the contract - respondent's impugned conduct had ceased - primary judge was correct in rejecting the defence.

McQueen v Mount Isa Mines Ltd [2017] QCA 259
LIMITATION OF ACTIONS - GENERAL MATTERS - AMENDMENT OF ORIGINATING PROCESSES AND PLEADINGS OUTSIDE LIMITATION PERIOD - AMENDMENTS INTRODUCING NEW CAUSE OF ACTION OR PARTICULARISING CAUSE OF ACTION - where Mount Isa Mines Ltd (MIM) brought an action against various defendants (the appellants) alleging breaches of contract and negligence - where MIM filed and served an amended statement of claim without first seeking leave to do so - where the appellants allege that the amended statement of claim added new causes of action which were out of time and for which leave was required - where the appellants applied to have various paragraphs of the amended statement of claim struck out with no liberty to re-plead - where the primary judge refused the application - whether the primary judge erred - whether the amended statement of claim pleaded new causes of action - whether "cause of action" has a different meaning under the Limitations of Actions Act 1974 (Qld) than under the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld).
LIMITATION OF ACTIONS - LIMITATION OF PARTICULAR ACTIONS - SIMPLE CONTRACTS, QUASI-CONTRACTS AND TORTS - ACCRUAL OF CAUSE OF ACTION AND WHEN TIME BEGINS TO RUN - TORTS - GENERALLY - where the amended statement of claim pleaded additional loss - where the appellants contend that the causal link between the alleged tortious breach and the consequential loss was first pleaded in the amended statement of claim - where the appellants contend that the amended statement of claim added a new cause of action by pleading a different case on causation - whether the statement of claim pleaded material facts of the causal connection between the alleged negligence and the consequential damage - whether the additional facts pleaded in the amended statement of claim constitute new causes of action - whether the primary judge erred in finding that the amendments were particulars of causes of action already pleaded by the statement of claim.

Westbourne Grammar School v Gemcan Constructions Pty Ltd & Ors [2017] VSC 645
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION - Application for certiorari by the principal under a building contract - Determination by an adjudicator in favour of builder under an adjudication under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (Vic) - Whether "show cause" validly given to builder - Whether s 48 of the Building and Construction Security of Payment Act 2002 (Vic) rendered void a clause entitling the principal to take over the balance of the works and to suspend builder's entitlement to payment under the contract - Section 48 of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (Vic) not enlivened - Southern Han Breakfast Points Pty Ltd v Lewence Constructions Pty Ltd [2016] HCA 52 applied - Whether show cause notice validly specified the date and time in which the builder was to show cause - Application granted.

Legislation - Queensland

Bills Updated

Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Bill 2017
Introduced by: Hon M de Brenni MP on 22/08/2017 Stage reached: 2nd reading adjourned on 25/10/2017.

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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