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Construction contracts for 21st straight month
Australian construction activity has declined for the past 21 months, a report shows.
The Australian Industry Group-Housing Industry Association's performance of construction index (PCI) fell 4.2 points to 35.6 in February.All four construction industry sub-sectors experienced falls in activity, with commercial and apartment building sectors posting the largest decline (07 March 2012) More...

NTC - Ministers approve changes to encourage safer, more efficient heavy vehicles
Changes to the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme will give industry greater certainty of access and operational flexibility and result in a range of benefits to the community. The changes will encourage industry to use safer and more efficient vehicles on Australia’s  roads, and  encourage the use of more innovative and productive heavy vehicles is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3.75 million tonnes (07 March 2012) More...

Formation of COAG Business Forum announced
On 6 March 2012, the Prime Minister announced the formation of a COAG Business Forum to improve the cooperation between the private and public sectors on economic regulation on 06 March 2012. The COAG business advisory forum is a great opportunity to reset the agenda, to get the federation working better (06 March 2012) More…

Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme to finish 30th June 2012
The Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, has announced that on 30 June 2012, the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme will close (07 March 2012) More...

Subsidies under fire as solar rebate axed
Julia Gillard faces calls for a massive overhaul of government subsidy programs after the sudden decision to wind up a $320 million solar hot-water program left the industry reeling and sparked warnings that up to 7200 jobs were in jeopardy (29 February 2012) More...

Joint government investigation targets home insulation fraud
In an extensive joint-agency investigation between the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), across three states, targeted alleged fraudulent activity under the Australian Government’s now-closed Home Insulation Program (03 March 2011) More...

Regional communities urged to bid for development funds
The Federal Government says $1.4 billion for regional development will be available from July.
Minister for Regional Development says local communities can put forward projects they would like funding for. The criteria for funding include social and economic benefits and innovation (03 March 2011) More...

Carbon monoxide detectors to become mandatory
The new regulations will come into force when legislation in all states and territories complies with the new laws. All residential properties with gas appliances will have to be fitted with the detectors, with regular inspections by qualified contractors (03 March 2011) More...

National power, gas industry opposes energy savings scheme
The Energy Supply Association of Australia and other groups representing some of the country's largest electricity and gas companies are lobbying the federal government not to establish a national energy savings scheme that would introduce new obligations for the sector (01 March 2012) More...

GBCA welcomes new rating system for sustainable infrastructure
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has welcomed the introduction of the nation’s first rating scheme for sustainable infrastructure projects, with the launch of the Australian Green Infrastructure Council (AGIC) Infrastructure Sustainability Rating Scheme (29 February 2012) More...

Australian Government releases data on Australia's heaviest emitters
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency has released the annual greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption data for 425 Australian corporations. Oil and gas majors were the largest energy users and the top five emitters were Delta Electricity, Macquarie Generation, the Great Energy Alliance Corporation, Rio Tinto and Alcoa Australia (28 February 2012) More...

Cost of environmental regulations dampens activity
The growing gap between new and old is caused by the raft of regulations imposed on new housing in recent years, including the 6-star energy efficiency rating, compulsory water tanks and local government infrastructure charges, all of which add substantially to the cost of building a new home (27 February 2012) More...

Joint Study on Aviation Capacity for the Sydney Region
The Study was established to inform future infrastructure planning and investment by government and industry, and enable the proper integration of future airport operations with surrounding state land use planning and surface transport networks. The governments will now undertake detailed consideration of the analysis and recommended strategies in the report (02 March 2012) More...

Victorian housing construction 230% more than NSW
The ABS figures for the December 2011 quarter shows that the value of housing construction in Victoria is 230% more  than that of NSW, on a per capita basis, says the Urban Taskforce (28 February 2012)
Victorian housing construction 230% more than NSW

Long Term Transport Master Plan exercise begins
The NSW Government released the discussion paper on the Long Term Transport Master Plan on February 24, kicking off a two month consultation process (29 February 2012)
Long Term Transport Master Plan exercise begins

Hunter Expressway: Bridging the Sugarloaf Range
An important stage of the Hunter Expressway is now under way with significant progress made on the cantilever bridges in the Sugarloaf Range. The $1.7 billion Hunter Expressway project is jointly funded, with the Federal Government providing $1.5 billion and the NSW Government contributing up to $200 million (05 March 2012) More...

NSW signs up to coal seam gas agreement
All environmental approvals and licensing developments for coal seam gas and large coal mining developments in New South Wales will be based on rigorous scientific evidence. NSW will be entitled to a significant portion of this $150 million in funding as it is expected to have a considerable number of future coal seam gas developments (07 March 2012)More...

Gateway plan 'to protect NSW farms from mining'
The New South Wales Government has released draft guidelines which it says protect agricultural land in the Hunter Valley and New England regions from mining.  The Draft Strategic Land Use Plan for the Hunter Valley says horse breeding land around Scone and vineyards near Cessnock have been mapped and protected (06 March 2012)
Protecting our farmland

NSW Finance Minister says it would cost billions of dollars to revoke CSG licences
The New South Wales Finance Minister says it would cost billions of dollars in compensation to shut down coal seam gas operations in the Illawarra and across the state (02 March 2012) More…

Ashton Coal appeals PAC decision on open cut mine
A mine in the New South Wales Hunter Valley is appealing the Planning Assessment Commission's decision to reject the company's plan for a new open cut operation (02 March 2012) More…

Claims BER builder Reed Construction owes millions
One of the biggest contractors to the federal government's Building the Education Revolution scheme,  will be investigated by the NSW government amid claims it owes thousands of sub-contractors up to $80 million (01 March 2012) More...

Desalination water flow turned down but the costs spill on unchecked
The taps have been turned down at Sydney's desalination plant but ratepayers will continue to pay the operators for unnecessary water under terms of the contract signed in 2007 (01 March 2012) More...

Meeting the Future Aviation Needs of Sydney
An independent report initiated by the Federal and NSW Governments into the future aviation needs of Sydney has been released. The Joint Study considered the short, medium and long-term aviation infrastructure and supporting surface transport requirements of the Sydney region, and identifies strategies and locations to meet future needs (02 March 2012) More…

Pacific Highway upgrade approved
The NSW Government has given planning approval for a $105 million Pacific Highway upgrade
to build 6.4km of dual lane carriageway located some 70km north of Grafton. To deal with the loss of native vegetation as a result of the project, the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) has agreed to permanently protect some 152 hectares of compensatory vegetation (28 February 2011)
Pacific Highway upgrade approved

Contract for $85 Million Yeppen North Upgrade Awarded
The $85 million Yeppen North project will be constructed by Fulton Hogan, Premier Anna Bligh and Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese announced today.  Ms Bligh said the project was scheduled to begin within months for completion in early 2014 (05 March 2012) More...

Major Projects Office
In response to requests from the Property Council and other industry groups, the Queensland Government announced that the Major Projects Office’s (MPO) mandate has been expanded to include major residential projects (02 March 2012) More…

Kingston projects given contractors
The projects worth $7.1 million will be based in the suburb of Mordialloc, including the second stage of dredging at Mordialloc Creek, sheet pile installations at Lambert Island and Mordialloc Shopping Centre streetscape works (06 March 2012) More...

Victoria’s first intermodal project is good to go
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Victorian Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder today welcomed the completion of the $40 million Altona Intermodal Enhancement project as another important step towards growing freight on rail (02 March 2012)
Victoria’s first intermodal project is good to go

$2.19 million for Wangaratta wastewater project
The Victorian Coalition Government today announced support for a substantial investment by Bruck Textiles in an innovative wastewater management system at the company's textile plant in Wangaratta (24 February 2012)
$2.19 million for Wangaratta wastewater project

Reliable water supply from East Loddon Pipeline
Water Minister Peter Walsh today launched a pipeline providing reliable water supply for 105 land owners and 65 rural houses covering an area the size of 37,000 hectares (24 February 2012)
Reliable water supply from East Loddon Pipeline


Geothermal energy and water use
Source: National Water Commission
This report explores the policy implications of the large-scale development of geothermal energy resources and their impact on water quality and availability (01 March 2012)
Geothermal energy and water use

Practice Notes

National Contract Law Masterclass
To be held in Brisbane 4 June 2012; Sydney 6 June 2012; Melbourne 8 June 2012
The Contract Law masterclass is a must attend event for every legal practitioner across the board at the in-house legal and commercial firms as a means to get essential updates in a vital area.
Note: sessions on the impact of the Personal Property Securities Act on business contracts and The contract as an instrument of risk management and liability limitation are included More...

Green Star Restrictions on 'Design' ratings
The GBCA’s Executive Director of Green Star, announces that from 1 January 2013, a Green Star – Design rating will only be valid for 24 months after a building’s practical completion  (06 March 2012) More...

Infrastructure Sustainability Rating Scheme:  Australian Green Infrastructure Council
The scheme is comprised of a rating tool, assessment process, education and training programs. AGIC’s scheme can be applied to a broad range of infrastructure types, including roads, bridges, ports, harbours, airports, energy infrastructure, water storage and supply, communication transmission and distribution. The rating tool uses a 100 point scale to measure performance (05 March 2012) More...

Key Facts Sheet: Home Building and Home Contents Insurance Policies Discussion Paper
The Discussion Paper seeks public comment on the content, format, structure and provision of the Key Facts Sheet that will become mandatory for all home building and home contents insurance policies (combined and individual). The deadline for submissions is 23 March 2012  (29 February 2012) More...

QLD: Major Projects Office
Under the new criteria, proposed residential developments will have a minimum value of $50 million in South East Queensland and $10 million value for projects in regional centres) To find out more about the MPO and endorsed projects, click here. (March 2012)



Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill 2011 [2012]
The Bill would create a strong but fair set of compliance arrangements for the building and construction industry. The Bill does not affect the provisions that establish the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner and its related OHS Accreditation Scheme.

28/02/2012 Intro Senate and Second Reading Speech


Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union [2012] FCA 189
INDUSTRIAL LAW – penalty hearing – admitted contraventions of s 38 of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (Cth) – agreed penalty – relevant considerations in assessing appropriateness of agreed penalty
Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (Cth) ss 38, 69 More...

McCoy v Sloss and Anor [2012] QCAT 060
Building – where contractor unlicensed –Prohibition on unlicensed More...

Papallo v Queensland Building Services Authority [2012] QCAT 059
Applicant to be categorised as a permitted individual – refusal – review More...

Smith v Queensland Building Services Authority [2012] QCAT 058
Permitted individual
Application to review a decision of the Queensland Building Services Authority to refuse to categorise the applicant as a permitted individual pursuant to section 56AD of the Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991 More…

Delonga v Queensland Building Services Authority [2012] QCAT 057
Permitted individual – duties of a sole director – prudent management of a company – onus of proof – nature of the hearing
Younan and Queensland Building Services Authority [2010] QDC 158 More…

Comiskey Group (a firm) v Moreton Bay Regional Council & Ors (No 2) [2012] QPEC 010
To permit the traffic engineers to reconvene, whether Mr an experienced traffic engineer well-known to this Court, should be allowed to participate in the joint experts' reports by way of, providing some sort of peer review of the input of the other traffic engineers. More...

Christie v Seventh Day Adventist Schools (South Queensland) Ltd [2012] QDC 032
BUILDING AND ENGINEERING CONTRACTS – Recovery of monies – statutory entitlement to payment – unlicensed contractor – progress claim valid only so far as it did not involve building work More...

Contact details


Chris Edquist, Partner
T: +61 (0)3 9321 9919


Troy Lewis, Partner
T: +61 (0)7 3135 0614


The material contained in this publication is no more than general comment. Readers should not act on the basis of the material without taking professional advice relating to their particular circumstances

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