New housing among most taxed sectors in economy
New housing is one of the most heavily taxed sectors of the Australian economy and its hurting the building industry as well as consumers, according to a new report from Centre for International Economics (CIE) (04 October 2011). More...

Companies fined for cover pricing
Queensland-based construction companies have been fined a total of $1.3 million after the Federal Court in Brisbane found them guilty of price fixing when bidding for several government tenders (02 November 2011). More...

New home sales hit 11-year low, as building approvals drop
New home sales declined in September with detached house sales posting their lowest monthly level since December 2000, according to the latest HIA - JELD-WEN New Home Sales Report (03 November 2011). More...

ABCC declares replacement Bill poor policy
Master Builders Australia today declared the Government’s moves in introducing the Bill to abolish the ABCC and repeal industry specific workplace laws as not in the best interest of the economy and the community. The Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill 2011 introduced into Parliament allegedly gives a green light to building unions to take even more unlawful industrial action (03 November 2011). More...

MBA: Building and Construction Industry loser from Government’s Carbon Tax
New independent modelling confirms the building and construction industry will suffer large losses as a result of the Federal Government’s carbon tax, according to Master Builders Australia (03 November 2011). More...

Changes in green standards for buildings
‘’Green building’’ regulations commence on 01 November, with building owners and even tenants facing potentially massive fines if their office space does not meet environmental standards when leased or sold (31 October 2011). More...

Government encourages more investment in infrastructure
The Hon Bill Shorten has released a discussion paper on the design and implementation details of the new infrastructure tax loss incentive. The purpose of the discussion paper is to provide interested parties with an opportunity to comment on the design and implementation details of the proposal (27 October 2011). More...

Australian Government encourages transparency In Oil, Gas, and Mining
The Foreign Minister and Resources Minister announced at the CHOGM 2011 Australia-Africa Foreign Ministers’ Mining Breakfast that Australia will further support, at home and abroad, global efforts to improve governance and financial transparency in the resources sector. The Australian Government also announces it will undertake a pilot of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) (27 October 2011). More...

ABCC annual report card released for 2010-2011
The 2010-11 annual report shows a marked increase in the number of investigations the ABCC is undertaking across the spectrum of our regulatory functions. The ABCC is active in enforcing the rule of law through civil litigation activities, conducting 58 proceedings before the courts resulting in $2.57 million in penalties (October 2011). More...

Perfect match between super and infrastructure would liberate $18 billion per year for new projects
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia says the Ernst & Young/Financial Services Council report into superannuation and infrastructure strengthens the call for a deeper, wider project pipeline and better long-term planning by governments (24 October 2011). More...

NSW electricity: privatisation the only way to lower prices, better infrastructure
The full privatisation of the NSW electricity sector, recommended by Justice Tamberlin, is the only option to fund a radical increase in infrastructure investment and drive down retail energy costs, says Infrastructure Partnerships Australia. The full privatisation of the NSW electricity sector is the one option available to fund a radical increase in infrastructure investment and drive down retail electricity prices (03 November 2011). More...

NSW lagging behind all states on housing approvals
The building home approvals figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today for September, have NSW’s approvals at half that of Victoria which has a lower population. For every 10,000 people NSW has 47 approvals to Victoria’s 109 approvals and Queensland’s 73. NSW was the lowest in Australia on a per capita basis (02 November 2011). More...

New era in NSW transport
A new era in transport planning and customer service has started with the formal establishment of the new integrated transport agency - Transport for NSW. All planning and policy functions have been consolidated into the one authority, signalling the end of silos and the removal of duplication (01 November 2011). More...

Electronic Housing Code (EHC) launched
The Electronic Housing Code is a pilot project focused on the development of an online system for the electronic lodgement of complying development applications under the NSW Housing Code for lots 200m2 and above. This system will also allow the user to determine if they are able to proceed with their development without further approvals, as an exempt development (28 October 2011). More...

Builders drive up complaints on home front
Complaints against home builders for shoddy or incomplete work have risen 43 per cent in the past five years, with more than $400,000 in fines imposed in the past year alone. In the most serious cases, 35 builders have had their licence cancelled in that time, usually for ignoring tribunal orders for rectification work or to repay consumers (October 2011). More...

Bligh Government plans 306 projects for South East Queensland - QIP
The Bligh Government has mapped out 306 projects crucial to the future of South East Queensland, which are projects are in the Queensland Infrastructure Plan. Premier Anna Bligh launched the document setting out the state’s infrastructure needs for the next 20 years. It will be updated annually. The list is outlined here (03 November 2011). More...

Caval Ridge mine project moves forward
BHP Billiton’s announces it would move ahead with the Caval Ridge mine project and an expansion of the Peak Downs mine in the northern Bowen Basin. The step forward comes following conditional approval from the Coordinator-General in August 2010, after 18 months of rigorous environmental impact assessment (01 November 2011). More...

Queensland business investment charges to new high
The latest DAE Investment Monitor released today shows Queensland has soared to an historic high in the value of projects committed or under construction totalling $100.3 billion for the September quarter 2011. The surge in the value of definite projects has been underpinned by private sector resource projects (31 October 2011). More...

New neighbourhood disputes legislation in effect
Attorney General Paul Lucas announces the Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act, which replaces the Dividing Fences Act that has been been in effect since 1953. These new laws set the ground rules and also either party to refer the matter to the QCAT agreement can’t be reached. The new legislation also includes a clear definition of a sufficient dividing fence and how cost should be apportioned (01 October 2011). More...

Coordinator-General declares significant state projects
The Coordinator-General has declared BHP Billiton MetCoal Holdings’ proposed Goonyella rail project and the Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal significant projects. The declarations were not approvals, but rather recognition of the size, scale and economic impact the projects could potentially have(27 October 2011). More...

State Government invests $20 million in sport infrastructure
The Bligh Government is investing $20 million in new and upgraded infrastructure projects, Sport Minister Phil Reeves announced this is underpinned by our Toward Q2: Tomorrow’s Queensland initiative to help Queenslanders become the healthiest people in Australia. For more information about sport and recreation funding visit (26 October 2011). More...

Queensland attracts record $1 billion mining exploration investment
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show $1.126 billion was invested in mineral and petroleum exploration expenditure in Queensland during the 12 months to 30 June 2011.  This includes $463.1 million for petroleum and gas exploration, $456.4 million for coal, and $207.1 million for mineral exploration (26 October 2011). More...

Modern resources sector reforms
In a move to drive more investment and jobs in Queensland’s booming resources sector, the Bligh Government will modernise and streamline its resource approval processes for industry, with the Release of the Government–Industry Implementation Group (GIIG) report On the right track — Progress on the Streamlining Mining and Petroleum Approvals Project (27 October 2011). More...

Mt Alexander Road to be revamped at Travancore
The Minister for Roads Terry Mulder today announced the first stage of an $8.7 million transport improvement project at Travancore will start this week (27 November 2011). More...

RRL: Builders shortlisted for West Werribee Junction work
In another step forward for the Regional Rail Link – currently the nation’s biggest public transport infrastructure project – three consortiums interested in delivering the West Werribee Junction section have been shortlisted (26 October 2011). More...

Anglesea mine agreement supports regional jobs
The Victorian Coalition Government has today introduced legislation to modernise the Agreement for Alcoa’s Anglesea coal mine to support regional jobs and strengthen environmental protections (25 October 2011). More...

Doncaster Rail planning study underway with contract awarded
Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder today announced that the $6.5 million planning work would start immediately for Doncaster rail (26 October 2011). More...


On the right track: Progress on the Streamlining Mining and Petroleum Approvals Project
Department of Employment, Economic Development ; Innovation–Mines The State of Queensland (Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation)
GIIG working groups focused on five key areas: environment, legislation, native title, small-scale mining and tenures (October 2011). More...

Tendering for government business: process contracts, good faith, fair dealing, and probity
Author: Lindsey Alford and Eden Bird
Australian Law Journal, 2011, Vol 85, No 10, pp678
Outlines for government lawyers, private practitioners advising government, or advising commercial entities tendering to government with some of the material relevant to private commercial tenders. The conclusion also makes “best practice” suggestions for governments involved in tendering

The trillion dollar question: Can superannuation boost investment in Australia’s infrastructure
Ernst & Young (commissioned by the Financial Services Council)
The report confirms that Australian super funds are willing to channel more of the nation’s $1.3 trillion super nest egg into infrastructure projects (24 October 2011). More...

Practice Notes

Discussion Paper: Investment in infrastructure
The discussion paper provides interested parties with an opportunity to comment on the design and implementation details of the proposal. Consultation on the discussion paper closes on 9 December 2011. Copies of the Discussion Paper are on the Treasury website at (27 October 2011)

Current Draft Policies and Plans, Announcements

VIC: Bushfire Mapping under new Building Amendments
On 8 September 2011, the Building Amendment (Bushfire Construction) Regulations 2011 came into effect, replacing the interim regulations which were introduced after the Black Saturday bushfires of February 2009. More information on the mapping is available here. . (02 November 2011). More...

NSW: Home approvals fast-tracked online
The Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Brad Hazzard has launched an online tool to revolutionise the housing approval process. The Electronic Housing Code is operational in ten council areas, at Bankstown, Blacktown, Lake Macquarie, Port Macquarie, Rockdale, Shellharbour, Sutherland, Tamworth, The Hills and Tweed Councils (28 October 2011). More...

NSW: Home Building Amendment Act 2011
The NSW Parliament passed a package of reforms to the Home Building Act 1989 which includes changes to: home warranty insurance, statutory warranty , contract requirements which apply to all residential building work. The changes will commence in two stages, the first took effect on 25 October 2011, while second will begin on 1 February 2012 are now outlined on the webpage (25 October 2011). More...

QLD: Fixing of concrete and terracotta tiles on roofs in cyclonic regions
To provide advice on fixing concrete and terracotta tiles to roofs of buildings located in categories 2 (C2) and 3 (C3) cyclonic wind regions (27 October 2011). More...
See also Guidance note on fixing of concrete and terracotta tiles in regions with wind category rating of C2 and C3.

QLD: Building newsflash number 484 - New laws for pool fences on common boundaries
Amendments to the Building Act 1975 (BA) relating to pool fences on common boundaries commence on 1 November 2011.The amendments provide that all rules relating to pool fences on common boundaries are now found in the BA (01 November 2011). More...

For more information about the changes to the BA, refer to the New rules for dividing fences which also serve as a pool barrier fact sheet. More...




Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Legislation Amendment Regulations 2011 (No. 1) (SLI 198/2011)
These Regulations commence on the commencement of Schedule 1 to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (National Regulator) Act 2011.
Commencement 01 November 2011


Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Legislation Amendment Regulations 2011 (No. 1) SLI 2011 No. 198
These Regulations amend the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2011 and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Annual Fees) Regulations 1994 to increase the non-registration fees by 13.7 per cent to ensure that the states and the NT recover their costs of administering the day-to-day activities in Commonwealth waters, pending the commencement of NOPTA and NOPSEMA (24 October 2011). More...

Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Legislation Amendment Bill 2011
Author: Steve O’Neill, Economics Section, Parliament of Australia, Bills Digest
The primary purpose of the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 (the Bill) is to provide a minimum long service leave entitlement for all eligible employees in the black coal mining industry based on the pre modern award standard (01 November 2011). More...

Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Universal Service Reform) Bill 2011
The Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency Bill 2011 (the Bill) forms part of a package of legislation to achieve continuity of key telecommunications safeguards in the transition to the National Broadband Network (NBN )
Intro Reps and Second Reading Speech 02 November 2011


Acts assented to

Home Building Amendment Act 2011 No 52 — Assented to 25 October 2011
This Act is to amend (a) the Home Building Act 1989 to make further provision in respect of home warranty insurance, statutory warranties, developers, building disputes and administrative arrangements; (b) the Civil Liability Act 2002



Environmental Protection (Greentape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011
A Bill for An Act to amend the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003, the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995, the Environmental Protection Act 1994, the Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2011, the Geothermal Energy Act 2010, the Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2009, the Mineral Resources Act 1989, the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability Act 2011, the Petroleum Act 1923, the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004, the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971, the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, the Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Act 2003, the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994, the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011, the Water Act 2000 and the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 for particular purposes (25 October 2011).


CFMEU v Mammoet Australia Pty Ltd [2011] FMCA 802
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Alleged breach of collective agreement – failure to provide accommodation – whether obligation to provide accommodation – Greenfields agreement.
INDUSTRIAL LAW – Alleged contravention of general protection – adverse action – protected industrial action – withdrawal of accommodation – whether withdrawal of accommodation authorised under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether payment in relation to industrial action.
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – No case to answer submission – whether election required – factors for consideration. More...

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v TF Woollam & Son Pty Ltd (No 2) [2011] FCA 1216
TRADE PRACTICES – pecuniary penalty – consideration of principles in case law and in s 76 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (TPA) – where respondents engaged in price-controlling behaviour – where such behaviour contravened s 45 of the TPA – where no monetary loss occurred as a result of behaviour – where conduct ad hoc and opportunistic – where financial position of respondents relevant – where no significant mitigating behaviour

TRADE PRACTICES – injunctive relief under s 80 of the TPA – circumstances where such relief will be granted – where likelihood that respondents would not commit contravening conduct again – where injunctive relief would not add anything to deterrence created by imposition of pecuniary penalties – injunctive relief not granted
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – declarations – whether to name non-party in declarations – where no pending proceedings against non-party - declarations should name non-party – recorded that non-party has not contravened the TPA
The Court declares that:
The Callemondah Project - should Kelly decide to submit a tender for the construction of an underfloor wheel lathe facility at Callemondah in the State of Queensland for Queensland Rail (the Callemondah Project), its tender price would be no less than a cover price given by Woollam to Kellly and Woollam’s tender price for the Callemondah Project would be less than the Callemondah Cover Price. More...

Wright v Foresight Constructions Pty Ltd [2011] NSWCA 327
CONTRACT - building - oral variation of specification - contract unenforceable by builder but oral variation relied upon in defence of claim by owner - construction of contract - Home Building Act 1989 (NSW), ss 7, 7A, 7E, 10
JUDICIAL REVIEW - variation of costs order - order set aside as against party wrongly made subject to order
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION - reliance by builder on oral variation to written agreement - statute prescribing consequences of breach - Home Building Act 1989 (NSW), ss 7, 7A, 7E, 10. More...

Bennett v Building Professionals Board (No 2) [2011] NSWADT 238
Accredited certifier - unsatisfactory professional conduct - interpretation of development consent. More...

Auscoast Builders Pty Ltd v All State Waterproofing [2011] QCAT 491
Summary determination and assessment of damages for rectification – water proofing. More...

Contact details


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


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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