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Engineers Australia welcomes the launch of the National Infrastructure Construction Schedule
Engineers Australia welcomes the launch of the National Infrastructure Construction Schedule (NICS) by Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese. Engineers Australia believes that the NICS will be of great benefit to the engineering profession and is a step toward easing the engineering skills shortage by bringing much-needed transparency to the planning and delivery of Australia’s major infrastructure projects (16 May 2012) More...

Australia's Future Gas Resources Assured
The Minister for Resources and Energy has released the Australian Gas Resources Assessment 2012 which finds that Australia has enough identified gas resources, excluding shale gas, to maintain current production rates for 184 years. Gas ranked third behind coal and uranium as Australia's largest energy resource (16 May 2012) More...

Tough Budget Offers Little for Housing
Amid a tight fiscal environment, the 2012/13 Federal Budget offers little for Australia's development industry. However, the Government has refrained from cutting key housing funding commitments such as the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), the Housing Affordability Fund (HAF) and the Building Better Regional Cities (BBRC) program (08 May 2012) More...

Major Infrastructure Projects-  Infrastructure Spending in Budget 2012/13
Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese has announced the funding allocation for each state in the 2012/13 budget, as part of the six-year Nation Building Program that began in 2008/9. The funding allocations for infrastructure spending for each state is as follows: Victoria - $901 million; New South Wales (NSW) - $1.2 billion; Queensland - $879.3 million; Western Australia (WA) - $1 billion; South Australia (SA) - $197.9 million; Tasmania - $102.6 million;  Australian Capital Territory (ACT) - $21.4 million; and Northern Territory (NT) - $100.7 million (08 May 2012) More...  

HIA: Building Approvals Perform Strongly in March
The Housing Industry Association (HIA) termed the results "positive" but noted that the industry as a whole was still in a precarious position. MBA stated the results may help return confidence to the industry but needed to be read in conjunction with the significant drop in building approvals in the previous month (07 May 2012) More...

UTS freezes payments in construction spat
The University of Technology Sydney withheld a payment from the embattled Reed building group, after Reed allegedly lied about having paid subcontractors all money that was due (16 May 2012) More...

Western Sydney Light Rail gets the green light, new CBD development announced
The Parramatta Lord Mayor has announced that a feasibility study into the Western Sydney Light Rail Network will commence early next month, after Parramatta City Council committed to fund the first stage of the proposal. (16 May 2012) More...

Green Retrofit for Government Buildings
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has welcomed the NSW government's announcement that it will spend $6.4 million on improving the energy efficiency on 150 government buildings. According to the GBCA, the retrofit will save an estimated 30,000 megawatt hours and and estimated $5.8 million in utilities bills per year (15 May 2012) GBCA's media release

St Hilliers' construction arm in administration
The construction arm of St Hilliers Group has been placed in voluntary administration, throwing into disarray building projects in regional Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT. The company blames the collapse on problems with its $350 million Ararat prison development in western Victoria (16 May 2012) More...

Major boost for Mildura’s natural gas capacity
Residents of Mildura will soon have greater access to natural gas for domestic and industrial use, with a major upgrade of the city’s gas distribution network announced today by Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan. Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government had reached agreement with Envestra Limited for the $10.1 million Mildura gas capacity expansion project (12 May 2012) More...

Penultimate Regional Rail Link Contract Announced
Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, Federal Member for Gellibrand Nicola Roxon and Victorian Roads Minister Terry Mulder have announced that a consortium has been awarded a $570 million contract for the Regional Rail Link that will deliver new rail infrastructure. The Regional Rail Link is intended to improve reliability and frequency of rail transport in regional Victoria (12 May 2012) Joint media release

Asbestos fears in overpass project
Construction workers were asked to attend an asbestos information session today after tests found the substance at an Ipswich work site. An exclusion zone has been set up and all work has stopped. The overpass was extensively damaged in January when it was struck by a truck. A licensed asbestos removal contractor was overseeing efforts to remove the hazardous material (17 May 2012) More...

MoU for mining services contract extension at Isaac Plains coal mine for John Holland
John Holland has signed a memorandum of understanding with Isaac Plains Coal Management to negotiate final contract terms on a one-year mining services contract extension, and begin negotiations on an additional three year agreement (17 May 2012) More...

Expert panel to review Cross River Rail
The Newman Government has announced an expert panel will review the Cross River Rail project to ensure the next major investment in rail is affordable and meets the future needs of South-East Queensland. The panel will deliver a report on 13 June 2012 (16 May 2012) More...

$170,000 in fines for building offences in Toowoomba
Convictions and fines of $170,000 have been handed down in Toowoomba Magistrates Court to the directors of the Rethink Kitchens and Bathrooms company and related entities, for defective and unlicensed building work. The convictions follow fines of $235,000 to the same entity in 2011, for similar offences (11 May 2012) $170,000 in fines for defective building work

Conviction for Simply Bathrooms and its executive officers
Simply Bathrooms Australia Pty Ltd and its executive officers have been convicted of carrying out building work and undertaking to carry out building work while not holding an appropriate licence with the Building Services Authority. The BSA’s previous efforts saw Mr Butler and his affiliated companies convicted and penalised about $350,000 for breaches of the Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991 (QBSAA) and Domestic Building Contracts Act 2000 (DBCA). (11 May 2012) Brenton Butler - Simply Bathrooms Convictions


Building Approvals March 2012
The ABS has released Building Approvals, Australia, March 2012 (7 May 2012), which shows that the total number of dwelling units approved increased by 7.4% in SAT in March 2012 compared with February 2012. Approvals of both public sector houses and private sector dwellings excluding housing, rose by 3.9% and 15.5% respectively in SAT over the same period. Dwelling approvals increased in New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia but fell in Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria. ABS's media release (7 May 2012)     

Victoria - Market Figures and Trends 2012
The Building Council of Victoria (BCV) has released pulse today: Issue 97 (May 2012), which publishes data on consumer confidence in registered building professionals (RBPs), the value of RBP status and plumbing compliance certificates.

Impact of fly-in fly-out/ drive-in drive-out work practices on local government
Source: Robyn Morris, Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government
This study provides a summary of key issues raised in prior reviews of the literature and research on the impacts of fly-in/fly-out, driveIn/drive-out work practices on mining communities in Western Australia (11 May 2012)
Impact of fly-in fly-out/ drive-in drive-out work practices on local government

The Offshore Health and Safety Performance Report 2011
Source: National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA),
The report identifies design, procedures and preventive maintenance as the top three root causes of accidents and dangerous occurrences (released 11 May 2012) More...

Practice Notes

New online resource for investors in Australian infrastructure
International investors can now access a comprehensive register of Australia's major infrastructure projects, including public-private partnerships (PPPs), with the release of the National Infrastructure Construction Schedule (NICS) this month (15 May 2012) New online resource for investors in Australian infrastructure

New Green Star Concrete credit  
The Green Star 'Concrete' credit was released on 15 May 2012, following the Concrete Credit Review process.  All Green Star projects registered before 1 July 2012 can use either the old Green Star Concrete credit or the new Green Star Concrete credit. Any projects registered after 1 July 2012 must use the new Green Star Concrete credit.   Download the Stakeholder Feedback Report Revised Concrete Credit.

Federal government opens up petroleum acreages: Resources Minister
The 2012 acreage release included large frontier basins suited to exploration programs with numerous targets, along with smaller blocks of high prospective acreage in mature areas. The acreages are in waters off Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania (14 May 2012) More...

EPBC Act Public notices - Public Notifications and Referrals – Projects
2012/6388 Wyong Coal Pty Ltd (T/A Wyong Areas Coal Joint Venture)/Mining/Northwest of Wyong/NSW/Wallarah 2 Coal Project Invitation for Public Comment on Referral 17 May 2012
2012/6378 Bengalla Mining Company Pty Ltd/Mining/Muswellbrook/NSW/Continuation of Bengalla Mine Invitation for Public Comment on Referral 09 May 2012
2012/6389 The Coporation of the Trustees of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane/Tourism and recreation/Jimboomba/QLD/Construction and Operation of Sport and Recreation Fields Emmaus College Invitation for Public Comment on Referral 17 May 2012
2012/6385 Ergon Energy/Energy generation and supply (non-renewable)/Springsure Creek/QLD/Springsure Creek 132kV powerline and switchyards Invitation for Public Comment on Referral 15 May 2012
2012/6377 Arrow Energy Pty Ltd/Mining/Bowen Basin/QLD/Bowen Gas Project Invitation for Public Comment on Referral 09 May 2012
2012/6375 Townsville City Council/Transport - water/Townsville/QLD/Townsville Recreational Boating Park Invitation for Public Comment on Referral 07 May 2012
2012/6376 Department of Defence/Commonwealth/Port Phillip Bay/VIC/Point Wilson Explosives Area Waterside Infrastructure Remediation Invitation for Public Comment on Referral 08 May 2012

QLD: Building and plumbing newsflash, Issue 490, 17 May 2012-  New versions to the Fire hydrant and sprinkler system commissioning and periodic test - Form 70 and Fire hydrant and sprinkler system commissioning and periodic maintenance procedure
New versions of the Fire hydrant and sprinkler system commissioning and periodic test - Form 70, and Fire hydrant and sprinkler system commissioning and periodic maintenance procedure have been developed following industry feedback and are now available online.

QLD Mines Safety Alert No 286 - Coal mine worker hit by loose discharge hose
Poor design, including hose layout and hose retention design, are  major contributing factors in recent incidents (08 May 2012) More...

QLD Mines safety Bulletin 118  - Working safely with tyres: highway-style trailer haulage
The premature failure of radial construction tyres - this safety bulletin examines what actions to take to avoid incidents and possible fatalities (15 May 2012) Mines Safety Bulletin 118 - Working safely with tyres: highway-style trailer haulage (PDF, 119 kB)

NSW: Port Waratah Coal Services terminal 4 submissions - Response to Newcastle Herald 
The department is currently reviewing the submissions received. The main issues raised in submissions included dust and health related impacts, ecological impacts, greenhouse gas/climate change, opposition to expansion of the mining industry and increased train movements (17 May 2012)
Port Waratah Coal Services terminal 4 submissions - Response to Newcastle Herald

VIC: Submissions - Safety of Advanced Metering Infrastructure in Victoria: Draft Report
A copy of the report was available from the ESV website at, and submissions would be received until 15 June. They should be forwarded to After assessing any comments and information received, ESV will release a final report by the end of July.
click here to read the report

VIC: Metropolitan Planning Strategy
The Victorian Government is preparing a new metropolitan planning strategy to manage Melbourne’s growth and change over the next 30-40 years. The strategy will contribute to the overall vision for the State including links with regional Victoria and will be informed by stakeholder and community engagement, research and evaluation (10 May 2012)


United Group Resources Pty Ltd v Calabro (No 7) [2012] FCA 432
INDUSTRIAL LAW – proceedings instituted by 13 applicants against 1,336 respondents in relation to several days of unlawful industrial action – penalty agreement ultimately reached between applicants and represented respondents - factors the Court should take into account in assessing penalty and exercising its discretion whether to adopt a penalty agreement reached between the parties
INDUSTRIAL LAW - sentencing - whether the represented and unrepresented respondents should be penalised equally – whether penalties should be suspended where an intervening industry regulator opposes suspension of penalties – whether an injunction to restrain from breaches for a seven year period should be imposed and if so, whether that should be considered in the context of penalties and suspension of them
INDUSTRIAL LAW – penalty – civil double jeopardy – whether two separate pecuniary penalties should be paid by individual respondents for multiple contraventions of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (Cth) (BCII Act) and Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) in respect of the same conduct – held that s 38(1) of the BCII Act allows the Court to impose a single penalty taking into account overall conduct of each individual respondent
COSTS – intervener – intervention of Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) – whether ABCC entitled to recover costs from respondents who admitted contraventions of the FW Act and BCII Act – held that in light of settlement reached between the applicants and respondents, costs order in favour of the ABCC would be punitive and undermine settlement reached, contrary to the objectives of industrial legislation and Federal Court Act 1976 (Cth) s 37M and s 37NMore...

Australian Building & Construction Commissioner v Inner Strength Steel Fixing Pty Ltd [2012] FCA 499
INDUSTRIAL LAW – penalties – sham contracting - admitted contraventions of ss 900 and 902 of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth) and s 357 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – agreed penalty – relevant considerations in assessing the appropriateness of the agreed penalty More...

The Hills Shire Council v Kinnarney Civil & Earthworks Pty Ltd & Kinnarney (No 2) [2012] NSWLEC 95
The corporate defendant is fined $50,000 and ordered to pay the prosecutor's costs. (2) The individual defendant is fined $30,000 and ordered to pay the prosecutor's costs.
SENTENCING:- for offence by a company of transporting waste to a place that could not be lawfully used as a waste facility for that waste contrary to s 143(1) of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and offence by individual of being director of a company which contravened s 143(1) - corporate defendant a one man company of which the other defendant was the sole shareholder - avoiding double punishment. More...

Ballard v Multiplex [2012] NSWSC 426
[PROCEDURE] - plaintiff's application to reopen case - whether interests of justice favour reopening for purpose of admitting new material - whether finding by a commissioner as to the credibility of a witness is admissible in other proceedings for the purpose of proving that witness's credibility - whether plaintiff made a tactical decision not to tender an expert's report - whether expert's report, obtained on subpoena, is tendered for the purpose of responding to a submission put by the defendants as to plaintiff's alleged depression.[EVIDENCE] - proof - standard of proof - civil - approach to assessment of credibility - burden of proof to the Briginshaw v Briginshaw standard - whether onus of proof in civil litigation is any different where the fact involves criminal conduct, fraud or serious misconduct - whether evidence of each witness should be assessed, on its own merits, for credibility - whether court can defer resolution of the question of credibility until all the facts have been found. [TORTS] - intentional - conspiracy - harm by lawful means - harm by unlawful means - whether there existed a conspiratorial agreement between the first, second, either the third and fourth or both, or the fifth defendant and others to ensure that the plaintiff and his company were removed from the construction industry - whether defendants' intent and purpose of agreement was to injure the plaintiff - whether first and second defendants had an evil intention of the kind contemplated by Evatt J in McKernan v Fraser - whether purpose of the fifth defendant entering into agreement (if it did) was to injure the plaintiff - whether agreement becomes tainted and all participants are liable for harm if one, or all of the defendants had an evil motive and countenanced this purpose by giving assistance - whether any such conspiracy agreement was carried into execution.[TORTS] - intentional - tort of intimidation - whether third, fourth and fifth defendants coerced the first and second defendants by way of threat and intimidation to terminate the construction contract - whether threats by defendant were unlawful as to induce, procure or engage in unlawful industrial action - whether third and fourth defendants threatened to use unlawful means to compel the first and second defendants to obey the defendant's demands - whether the third and fourth defendants intended that by making the threat, the first and second defendants would be persuaded to accede to the other defendants' will, being to deprive the plaintiff of the opportunity to provide demolition services. [TORTS] - intentional - wrongful interference - whether tort of unlawful interference exists - whether third, fourth and fifth defendants illegally interfered with the contract between the first and second defendants and the plaintiffs - whether a contractual relationship existed between the first and second defendants - whether the third and fourth defendants knew of that relationship - whether the third and fourth defendants unjustifiably and intentionally interfered with the contract between the first and second defendants and the plaintiffs - whether that interference caused termination of the contract.[LIMITATION OF ACTIONS] - limitation defence - fraudulent concealment - whether plaintiff's cause of action is statue barred - whether plaintiff proved, on the balance of probabilities, that he discovered fraudulent concealment to enliven the operation of section 55 of the Limitation Act (NSW) - whether defendants fraudulently concealed causes of action from the plaintiff.[BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION] - contract - building - performance - whether subcontract was terminated lawfully - whether first and second defendants paid all that was contractually due - whether notice of default and notice of termination was ineffective - whether first and second defendants unlawfully locked out plaintiff from the work site - whether first and second defendants unlawfully and without authority or cause, seized and converted the plaintiff's plant and equipment.[DAMAGES] - torts - negligence - financial loss - pure economic loss - recoverability - damages for psychological and psychiatric impairment - aggravated and exemplary damages - whether experts report in relation to damages were based on assumptions made good in evidence - whether plaintiff can claim damages for lost earnings that would have been made but for the conspiracy - whether plaintiff can claim damages for the loss of opportunity - whether calculation of damages by expert was calculated with flawed assumptions. More...

Reynolds v Jaydoug Constructions Pty Ltd (Home Building) [2012] NSWCTTT 149
Defects-  dismissed -  in connection with the applicants’ claim for damages of $63,000.00 in relation to the verandah slab, on or before 30 April 2012 both parties are to file and serve on each other evidence of the costs involved to demolish or rectify the verandah in order to comply with the requirements of the building contract. More...

Jaydoug Construction Pty Ltd v Reynolds (Home Building) [2012] NSWCTTT 148
Repudiation of Contracts-  John Charles Reynolds and Prudence Anne Reynolds by their refusal to provide Jaydoug Construction Pty Ltd with access to the site in accordance with clause 8(a) of the building contract, repudiated the contract entitling Jaydoug Construction Pty Ltd to damages.
John Charles Reynolds and Prudence Anne Reynolds are ordered to pay Jaydoug Construction Pty Ltd damages in the sum of $100,332.60. More...

Orbit Drilling Pty Ltd v The Queen; Smith v The Queen [2012] VSCA 82
CRIMINAL LAW – Appeal – Sentence – Occupational health and safety - Recklessly engaging in conduct placing a person at a workplace in danger of serious injury – Employer fined $750,000 – Foresight of probable danger of serious injury – Judge erred in attributing to defendant foresight of probability of serious injury – Crown concession – High culpability offence – Defendant’s culpability very high – Liability and offences of company and director separate and distinct – No double punishment – No different sentence should be imposed – Appeal dismissed – Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) s 32, Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) s 281(1).
CRIMINAL LAW – Appeal – Sentence – Occupational health and safety – Company breached duty to provide and maintain safe workplace – Failure to provide and maintain safe system of work – Company’s breaches attributable to director’s failure to take reasonable care – Director fined $120,000 – Very serious example of offence – Sentence not manifestly excessive – Appeal dismissed – Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) ss 21(1), 21(2)(a), 144(1).
CRIMINAL LAW – Appeal – Sentence – Guilty plea – Adequacy of discount – Discount not examinable for specific error – Relevant only to manifest excess ground – Discounts in other cases of no assistance – R v Burke [2009] VSCA 60; (2009) 21 VR 471, Scerri v The Queen [2010] VSCA 287 applied. More...

TCM Builders Pty Ltd v Nikou & Ors (Domestic Building) [2012] VCAT 578
COSTS – s.109 and s.112 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998; whether costs to be awarded to successful party; settlement offers; where payment made by one party during the course of litigation; what constitutes a ‘successful party’. More...

Contact details


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


Anne Davis, Partner
T: +61 (0)2 8083 0436


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


The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this publication is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources.  

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