In the media


The financialisation of infrastructure
An international open letter has called on G20 nations to change its economic model for mega-infrastructure planned to stimulate a sluggish global economy. The group said allowing both public money and outside groups to invest in large scale infrastructure partnerships would enable financial institutions to sell investors new types of financial products consisting of a portfolio of PPPs (24 April 2015).  More...

AGL pledges move away from coal
An internal shake-up has been announced as the energy provider vows to move away from coal fired power stations within 35 years and invest in renewable and near-zero emission technologies (24 April 2015).  More...

Builders Fear New Union Powers to Enter Sites
Master Builders fears the industry will face future turmoil should the government appeal the 24-hour notice period for union official entry to building and construction sites. Master Builders' Director of Construction Policy, John Crittall, said health and safety matters were far too serious to be used to pursue an industrial agenda (23 April 2015).  More...

Court fines CFMEU, Shaun Reardon and Danny Berardi $43,000 for coercion
The Federal Court has fined the CFMEU, its Victorian Assistant Secretary Shaun Reardon and former official Danny Berardi $43,000, for attempting to coerce a head contractor into signing an enterprise agreement with the CFMEU (21 April 2015).  More...

Employment plunges in renewables industry
Amid media reports of a political deal being close on the Renewable Energy Target (RET), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released a report on employment in renewable energy activities showing the industry has lost over 2000 jobs in the past two financial years (17 April 2015).  More...

Construction edges ahead in March: Australian PCI
The national construction industry moved slightly into growth territory in March, with the Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Australian Performance of Construction Index (Australian PCI) increasing by 6.2 points to 50.1 (13 April 2015).  More...


Are your domestic building contracts up to scratch?
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is urging domestic builders to be aware of the requirements for domestic building contracts after five registered building practitioners were fined $18.000.00 for not complying with their contract obligations (22 April 2015).  More...

New South Wales

Metgasco confirms they will seek compensation
METGASCO CEO Peter Henderson has confirmed the company will seeking compensation over the government's now "unlawful" decision to suspend its licence. In a new statement just released to the ASX, Mr Henderson described today's ruling as "a landmark decision for the resources industry in New South Wales" with broader implications (24 April 2015).  More...

NSW Mining Companies Lose Bid in High Court; Licences to Remain Cancelled
The cancellation of these licences was recommended by the ICAC, which found these licences were tainted by corruption involving former Labor ministers Ian Macdonald and Eddie Obeid. All seven judges at the High Court believed that the cancellation of licences by the NSW government was not an exercise of judicial power (17 April 2015).  More...


Brisbane's community infrastructure gets major boost
The Australian Government is improving community infrastructure in Brisbane, with funding delivered for the Brisbane Inner North Sporting Community Upgrade at Hickey Park and the GPS Rugby Club House Refurbishment in Brisbane (21 April 2015).  More...

Supreme Court action over Gina Rinehart's Alpha mine
A Queensland environment group is looking to the Supreme Court to block a massive coal project it says will hurt farmers in the Galilee Basin. The Coast and Country Association of Queensland is opposed to the project on environmental grounds but its legal representatives will be relying on technical arguments to make its case in a judicial review (22 April 2015). More...

Surge in Queensland Building and Construction Activity
The charge in building activity shows that is finally crawling its way back to pre-Global Financial Crisis levels. Recently released ABS data for Building and Construction Activity in the December 2014 quarter  showed there were 9,330 commencements, adding to the 10,782 commencements in the previous quarter (16 April 2015).  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Safe Work Australia: Australia-wide fatalities
As at 14 April 2015, 44 Australian workers have been killed while at work. The 2015 fatalities are the  following industries: six in Construction; five in Mining; three each in Electricity, gas, water & waste services. The latest monthly fatality report remains that for December 2014, during which a total of 20 work-related fatalities were reported. More...  More...

Practice and courts

Australia's transport energy resilience and sustainability
Transcript of Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, Thursday, 9 April 2015 - Australia's transport energy resilience and sustainability (16 April 2015).

The ABC of the BCA, 15 June 2015
This one-day seminar provides participants with a general overview and understanding in using and Navigating around the Housing Provisions – Volume  Two of  the  Building  Code  Australia (BCA) The interactive training program will help those with a limited understanding gain an appreciation of the basics of the  BCA and develop skills to navigate through the Housing Provisions. More...

Reminder: ABCB Building Code of Australia online
From 1 May 2015, the ABCB (Australian Building Codes Board) will only be providing a PDF version of the Building Code Australia.  More...

AS ISO 7240.24:2015
Fire detection and alarm systems - Sound-system loudspeakers Standards Australia.  More...

Amendments to the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure regime
Under the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010, energy efficiency information must be disclosed to a lessee/purchaser when commercial office space of 2,000 sq m or more is offered for sale or lease.  Changes to this disclosure regime will commence on 1 July 2015 as a result of amendments made to the Act by the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Amendment Act 2015. These amendments are intended to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses.  More...  More...

NSW: The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Amendment (Retention Money Trust Account) Regulation 2015 (NSW)
This introduces new requirements for head contractors to hold retention money under subcontracts in a trust account. The Regulation commences on 1 May 2015.  More...

NSW: Loose-fill asbestos weekly update
As of 13 April, 2015, no additional properties containing loose fill asbestos insulation over the past week.  2,293 premises in the 26 local government areas have registered for the free sampling service. Testing is ongoing with licensed asbestos assessors currently undertaking inspections of properties.  More...


Gibson v Swan Hardware & Staff Pty Ltd [2015] FCA 387
[Discovery – documents] - claim loss and damage alleged to have been suffered to their premises in July 2011 when black plastic water pipe bearing the trademark “Pex Plus” (“Pex Plus Pipe”), which had been supplied by Swan Hardware to a plumber for installation at the applicants’ premises, spontaneously ruptured which resulted in water escaping and flowing into and through the premises.  More...

Mir Bros Trading Co Pty Ltd v Cavasinni Constructions Pty Ltd [2015] NSWSC 421
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - pleadings - application to file and serve a further amended statement of claim – whether there was a mistake in the name of the parties – whether new causes of action arise from substantially the same facts – whether the justice of the case requires leave to amend – whether the amendments would be futile.  More...

Solarus Projects Pty Ltd (Receivers and Managers appointed) (in Liquidation) v AAI Limited Trading as Vero Insurance (No 8) [2015] NSWSC 412
INSURANCE – contracts or policies – damage to commercial project due to flooding – interpretation of the meaning of “Insured” under the insurance policy –– whether the plaintiff as owner of the land comes under the extended definition of “Insured” and therefore is an un-named insured under the policy INSURANCE – contracts or policies – commercial purpose or object of insurance policy – where the parties involved in the project are part of a corporate family tree – whether the plaintiff is associated or affiliated with the named “Insured”.  More...

Grocon Constructors (Qld) Pty Ltd v Juniper Developer No. 2 Pty Ltd & Anor [2015] QSC 102
CONTRACTS – BUILDING, ENGINEERING AND RELATED CONTRACTS – PERFORMANCE OF WORK – REMEDIES FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT – DISTINCTION BETWEEN PENALTY AND LIQUIDATED DAMAGES – where the first defendant contracted the plaintiff to design and construct a development – where the contract defined Practical Completion so that it might not be achieved if minor contractual obligations were not complied with – where a liquidated damages clause made liquidated damages payable if the plaintiff failed to achieve Practical Completion by the Date for Practical Completion – where the contract contemplated the first defendant’s sale of residential units – whether delay of Practical Completion by reason of minor matters would prevent completion of sale of residential units – whether the liquidated damages clause was subject to the penalty doctrine and unenforceable – whether the liquidated damages clause stipulated a single sum for several events – whether the liquidated damages clause stipulated a sum that was extravagant and unconscionable in comparison with the greatest loss that could flow from a failure to achieve Practical Completion. INTERPRETATION – ADMISSIBILITY OF EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE IN RELATION TO INSTRUMENTS – WHEN EVIDENCE IS ADMISSIBLE – TO PROVE INTENTION OF PARTIES – OTHER CASES – where the parties led evidence regarding the negotiation of the liquidated damages clause including how the liquidated damages were to be calculated – whether extrinsic evidence is admissible in determining whether a liquidated damages clause is subject to the penalty doctrine. More...

Matton Developments Pty Ltd v CGU Insurance Limited (No 2) [2015] QSC 072
CONTRACTS – GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES – DISCHARGE, BREACH AND DEFENCES TO ACTION FOR BREACH – REPUDIATION AND NON-PERFORMANCE – REPUDIATION – WHAT AMOUNTS TO REPUDIATION – where the defendant provided Contractors and Plant Insurance to the plaintiff in respect of a crane – where the crane was rendered a total loss when the crane’s boom collapsed – where the plaintiff sought indemnity under the insurance policy – where the defendant denied indemnity claiming the crane was operated on a slope in contravention of Australian standards and manufacturer’s guidelines and was therefore excluded from the policy – where the plaintiff denied any contravention and asserted the crane was operated on level ground and the collapse was due to an inherent defect – where the plaintiff alleged the defendant failed to properly investigate the claim and sought only to prove its own version of events – whether a wrongful denial of indemnity pursuant to an insurance policy amounts to a repudiation of the policy – whether the defendant’s alleged conduct amounted to a repudiation of the policy – whether the plaintiff accepted any alleged repudiation. DAMAGES – MEASURE AND REMOTENESS OF DAMAGES IN ACTIONS FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT – REMOTENESS AND CAUSATION – where the defendant provided Contractors and Plant Insurance to the plaintiff in respect of a crane – where the crane was rendered a total loss when the crane’s boom. INSURANCE – CLAIMS GENERALLY – REFUSAL – GENERALLY. INSURANCE – THE POLICY – CONDITIONS, WARRANTIES AND EXCEPTIONS – EXCLUSION CLAUSES – INSURANCE – THE POLICY – OBLIGATION OF UTMOST GOOD FAITH -  PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION – STATUTES – ACTS OF PARLIAMENT – ENFORCEMENT OF STATUTORY RIGHTS AND REMEDIES – BREACH OF STATUTORY DUTY – GENERALLY.  More...

Bridge and Marine Engineering Pty Ltd v Sharvine Pty Ltd [2015] VSC 127
APPEAL – PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Pleadings – Application to amend statement of claim – Court’s discretion – Amendment to introduce new cause of action – Breach of contract – asset sale -  Delay – Amendment to introduce new head of loss – Issues already raised – Whether leave ought to be granted – Appeal allowed in part – Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 (Vic), rr 36.01(1)(a), (b) and (c), 77.06, 77.06.9(2)(b) and (c).  More...

CES Queen (Vic) Pty Ltd v Thomas & Ors (No 2) [2015] VSC 120
BUILDING – Effect of determination of the Building Appeals Board – Demolition work proposed – Risk to adjoining owner and the public – Whether risk to public relevant in determining appropriate protection works - Appeal to Building Appeals Board from determination of relevant building surveyor - Building Act 1993 ss 84; 85; 87; 141(a); 149; 166; and Schedule 3 - Building Regulations 2006 regs 101; 602; 604 and 607 – Construction of determination of Building Appeals Board – Uncertainty – Ancillary or incidental orders possible under s 149(4) Building Act 1993 – Correction of errors possible under clause 18 of Schedule 3 Building Act 1993.  More...



Troy Lewis, Partner
T: +61 7 3135 0614

Stephen Burton, Partner
T: +61 7 3135 0604

Suzy Cairney, Partner
T: T: +61 7 3135 0684



Stephen Natoli, Partner
T: +61 3 9321 9796


Tony Britt, Partner
T: +61 2 8083 0497


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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