The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has spread to dozens of countries, infecting tens of thousands of people (with a mounting number of deaths) and causing significant disruption to public life and business. On 11 March 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, recognized the alarming levels of spread and severity of COVID-19 around the world and called on countries to take urgent and aggressive action. In addition to the humanitarian and public health dimensions of the outbreak, COVID-19 imposes a further layer of risk on major construction and infrastructure projects in Australia that will inevitably impact contractors and principals alike.
Participants in projects in Australia should carefully consider the types of risks posed by COVID-19, the legal and regulatory framework, including the provisions of their major contracts, and implement strategies to mitigate or minimise the potential of COVID-19 to cause significant delay, disruption and cost overrun to their project. This needs to be done on a continuous basis given the escalating impact of COVID-19 and the evolving nature of the responses from the Australian Commonwealth and State governments.
This White Paper provides an overview of some of the COVID-19-related risks that major projects in Australia face, legal and regulatory considerations and key steps that participants should consider in order to proactively manage the risks to protect their commercial positions and the success of their projects.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.