Australia: Inside track: Construction & Infrastructure - In the media, reports, practice and courts, and cases

Last Updated: 5 September 2019

In the media

Calls for improved business cases to inform infrastructure investment
Consult Australia, an association for consulting firms in the built environment sector, has identified ten factors for a successful business case for infrastructure projects. These have been outlined in Consult Australia's Business Case Development in Australia report (23 August 2019). More...

MBA: Transport infrastructure investment will be a boost but construction activity must be fast tracked
Investment in transport infrastructure will help bridge the troubled waters of a declining housing market and softening commercial construction sector but there is little doubt that more needs to be done to fast-track construction activity and ignite economic growth (13 August 2019). More...

Infrastructure critical to city transformation: Audit
The Property Council of Australia welcomed the release of Infrastructure Australia's 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit and its recognition of the critical infrastructure needs of our growing cities, especially the big four of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth (13 August 2019). More...

Significant building reform' needed to restore insurers' confidence
Insurers won't consider offering unrestricted products in the building industry professional indemnity market until confidence in the sector is restored, Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says (12 August 2019). More...

New South Wales

Mascot Towers repair bill hits $20m as engineers close in on cause of cracking
Unit owners in Sydney's evacuated Mascot Towers building have learnt the repair bill could blow out to $20 million as construction engineers zero in on what caused the complex to crack (23 August 2019). More...

First modular hospital delivered to remote New South Wales
Wood & Grieve Engineers now part of Stantec (WGE) have shaped the healthcare industry by delivering New South Wales' first modular hospital for the Broken Hill Community Health Centre (23 August 2019). More...

Gas import terminal gets Critical State Significant status
The New South Wales government has declared a terminal for the importation of liquified natural gas (LNG) in Newcastle to be Critical State Significant Infrastructure (19 August 2019). More...

Statement on Barangaroo sight lines resolution
The New South Wales Government has reached a settlement with Lendlease and Crown Resorts regarding the Barangaroo sight lines dispute. Infrastructure NSW has been leading negotiations on behalf of the New South Wales Government since the former Barangaroo Delivery Authority was abolished on 1 July 2019 (19 August 2019). More...


Engineering firm walks away from Adani
Aurecon has announced that it would cease working with Adani once its current contract (port operations at its Abbott Point Coal Terminal) winds up in six to nine months, citing the group's commitments to sustainability (20 August 2019) . More...

Solutions to the State's infrastructure needs
The Queensland Government's key independent infrastructure advisor, Building Queensland, has published its 2019 Infrastructure Pipeline Report (21 August 2019). More...

Building watchdog unites with the ATO and ASIC
Queensland's building industry watchdog, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and ASIC have joined forces in an educational offensive against illegal phoenixing in the building industry, a practice which causes significant harm to industry members (19 August 2019). More...


VBA supports decision to remove residents from apartments
The VBA has supported the decision by the City of Kingston to remove remaining residents from an apartment complex, after the building was deemed no longer safe for occupation. The VBA's Statewide Cladding Audit convened a panel made up of fire safety experts to assess the building (24 August 2019). More...

Victoria national leader on infrastructure management
Victoria is leading the nation in planning and managing infrastructure projects by heading up the development of an Australian Building Information Modelling (BIM) Strategic Framework. The framework will standardise approaches to using BIM in the delivery and operation of major buildings and infrastructure (23 August 2019). More...

VBA: High Court decision on the application of the Mutual Recognition Act 1992
The VBA is disappointed with the outcome of its appeal to the High Court of Australia and its possible ramifications for Victorian consumers. The High Court dismissed the VBA's challenge to a Federal Court decision that precluded the VBA from considering the character of applicants for registration under the Commonwealth Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (12 August 2019). More...

Published - articles, papers, reports

An assessment of Australia's future infrastructure needs
Infrastructure Australia: 13 August 2019
The 2019 audit covers transport, energy, water, telecommunications and – for the first time – social infrastructure, and looks at the major challenges and opportunities facing Australia's infrastructure over the next 15 years and beyond. More...

Community perceptions of Australia's infrastructure
JWS Research; Infrastructure Australia: 13 August 2019
The aim of this research was to ascertain an understanding of community sentiment relating to infrastructure and associated sectors, as well as organisational perceptions and awareness relating to Infrastructure Australia the organisation. More...

Practice and courts

Infrastructure Priority List - Call for submissions
Infrastructure Australia is seeking submissions for the next update of the Infrastructure Priority List (IPL), which will be published in February 2020. Submissions must be received before 31 August 2019. More...

New South Wales

New South Wales Fair Trading: Security of Payment laws start soon
The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Amendment Act 2018 (the Amendment Act) and the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Amendment Regulation 2019 (the amending Regulation) will commence on 21 October 2019. More...


Building Queensland Infrastructure Pipeline Report
The report is presented in two parts. Part 1 –proposals that are unfunded for delivery with a minimum capital cost of $50 million. These are the proposals Building Queensland recommends are further analysed, or are ready for consideration by government. Part 2 – Funded Proposals provides information on the detailed business cases Building Queensland is leading that have funding commitments for delivery from the Queensland Government. View the Infrastructure Pipeline Report 2019 (21 August 2019).


Grocon Constructors (Vic) Pty Ltd v Dexus Funds Management Limited as Trustee for the Dexus 480Q Trust (No 2) [2019] FCA 1283
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – appeals – application for leave to appeal from decision of single judge of the Court – consideration of interlocutory nature of decision not to set aside statutory demand – whether the decision of primary judge was attended by sufficient doubt to warrant reconsideration by Full Court – whether substantial injustice would result if leave were refused, supposing the primary judge's decision to be wrong
CORPORATIONS – appeal from decision not to set aside statutory demand – whether statutory demand should have been set aside rather than varied – whether statutory demand should be set aside on basis that it was issued for a collateral and improper purpose – whether statutory demand was issued as a means of testing solvency of the company – whether testing solvency is a proper use of the statutory demand procedure
Held: Leave to appeal granted

New South Wales

Hurford Hardwood Kempsey Pty Ltd v Kempsey Timbers (Sawmilling) Pty Ltd [2019] NSWSC 1069
CONTRACTS – breach of contract – consequences of breach – right to damages – contract for sale of timber mill – warranty about volume of unprocessed stock – provision for adjustment of purchase price if volume less than warranted – whether contract varied to postpone date on which such adjustment to be made – what volume of unprocessed stock was present – purchaser to assume liability for long service leave entitlements of mill employees – asserted understatement of those liabilities – whether vendor agreed to account for the difference – agreement that vendor had access to information on server at the mill after completion – where effective access to that server denied for a week – whether vendor thereby suffered damage

BH Australia Constructions Pty Ltd v Kapeller [2019] NSWSC 1086
CONTRACT – wholly written contract – dispute as to identity of builder to perform residential building – whether regard may be had to post-contractual conduct – where contract identified one company as builder but gave another company's licence and insurance details – parties taken to have agreed to a contract which was lawful and enforceable.

Harris for and on behalf of the estate of Harris and Harris v Rapisarda [2019] NSWSC 1088
ESTOPPEL – Anshun estoppel – where proprietors commenced earlier proceedings against builder alleging defective workmanship – where defendant architects prepared the building contract and supervised builder's work but were not joined in earlier proceedings – where earlier proceedings referred out and referee's report adopted – where proprietors do not in these proceedings seek findings inconsistent with those of referee in earlier proceedings – whether unreasonable for proprietors not to have joined architects in the earlier proceedings so that they are now estopped from bringing these proceedings CIVIL PROCEDURE – pleadings – striking out – abuse of process


Sanrus Pty Ltd & Ors v Monto Coal 2 Pty Ltd & Ors [2019] QCA 160
APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL - GENERAL PRINCIPLES – INTERFERENCE WITH DISCRETION OF COURT BELOW – PARTICULAR CASES – CONTROL OVER PROCEEDINGS – ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE – where the appeal concerns a decision made during the course of a long, complex and ongoing trial – where the appellants as plaintiffs sought, but failed to obtain, leave from the trial judge to adduce new expert evidence – where the trial concerns complaints made by a junior joint venture partner about the conduct of a senior joint venture partner in relation to decisions made in the course of performing a joint venture for the exploitation of a coal deposit – where a pre-trial case management regime imposed deadlines on the parties for filing and serving expert reports, and on experts from each side to attend joint conclaves – where that regime did not provide the appellants a right to submit expert evidence in reply but did provide them an opportunity to contest the respondents' expert evidence through the provision of joint reports resulting from joint conclaves of experts – where the evidence sought to be adduced rebuts evidence from two of the respondents' experts and does not reveal any new case – where the appellants' prosecution of the case has warranted strong criticism – whether the trial judge's assessment of the relevant likely prejudice to the respondents was incorrect in principle – whether the trial judge erred by not granting leave to rely on additional expert evidence at trial – whether the Court of Appeal should re-exercise the discretion by allowing the appellants to tender the additional expert evidence


Re Eliana Construction and Developing Group Pty Ltd (No 2) [2019] VSC 546
CORPORATIONS – Appeal from decision of associate justice finding that payment of debt by an associated company of the debtor to the creditor constituted an unfair preference payment to the creditor – Consideration of circumstances where a debt of company A paid by company B constitutes a preference payment received by the creditor – Consideration of what constitutes a payment made by or received from the debtor – Consideration of whether creditor received payment in good faith – Held no unfair preference – Held good faith defence established – Appeal allowed – Sections 9, 588FA, 588FE, 588FF and 588FG of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – Re Evolvebuilt Pty Ltd [2017] NSWSC 901 applied.

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