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There will be considerable challenges over the next decade as governments and the private sector seek to plan, procure and deliver the projects that the Asia Pacific needs to boost productivity and ensure sustainable growth. Meeting this challenge will require long-term planning, focus, flexibility in delivery methods and funding options, excellent risk management skills, expert project management and experienced advisers.
As leading lawyers in the infrastructure sector, our infrastructure team is respected and engaged on a recurring basis by government, constructors, developers, operators, debt providers and investors alike. We operate across all sectors, including economic infrastructure (transport, communications, power, water and other utilities), municipal facilities and social infrastructure (health, education, housing and justice).
Our key point of difference is our ability to provide a tailored and cross-disciplinary team for the lifecycle of your infrastructure project – from strategic input through to project delivery and dispute resolution. We seamlessly integrate our specialists from areas such as real estate, planning, environment, construction, tax, finance, competition and regulatory, insurance and dispute resolution to manage your risk and achieve the best outcome for your project.
We also have a strong track record in advising on high profile, commercially complex and strategically important public private partnership (PPP) projects. PPPs continue to be recognised as a successful method of delivering infrastructure and we have been at the forefront of the development of Australia's PPP sector and are now exporting those skills into Asia. Our on-the-ground lawyers in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai work on infrastructure projects in many Asian jurisdictions, giving us an acute understanding of the local challenges and opportunities.
China's State Council has issued plans for three new Pilot Free Trade Zones in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian, and the expansion of its Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone. It also updated its foreign investment negative list and announced trial procedures for national security review of foreign investment in all free trade zones. The expansion of China’s free trade zone program is set to advance the country’s financial reform journey and improve its ability to compete with more established rivals in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Home Building Amendment Bill 2014 (NSW) had its second reading in the NSW parliament on 6 May 2014. The Bill proposes to change the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) by ensuring increased levels of consumer protection and facilitating builders in completing their work.
The High Court has refused Agripower Australia Ltd's request for special leave to appeal the Queensland Court of Appeal's decision in J & D Rigging Pty Ltd v Agripower Australia Ltd  QCA 406.
The Federal Government has released the final report of the Productivity Commission's inquiry into the National Access Regime in particular Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. While there are no changes to the regulatory framework or institutional arrangements, the report does recommend a package of reforms designed to ensure the scope of the Regime is confined to those exceptional circumstances.
The Victorian Government (government) has released its long awaited Unsolicited Proposal Guideline (Guideline). The Guideline provides a framework for the government's assessment and implementation of infrastructure proposals that originate directly from the private sector.
The federal government has announced a Productivity Commission inquiry into the funding of public infrastructure signalling its intention to lower costs and drive investment into the construction industry.
A recent decision of the Supreme Court of Western Australia reinforces the need for parties to clearly state what they mean when seeking to exclude liability for 'consequential loss'.
Last week, the Queensland Government took the first steps in its overhaul of building regulation by passing legislation to establish a new governance framework for the construction industry .
A recent decision in the Victorian Supreme Court calls into question the enforceability of dispute resolution clauses in commercial contracts. The case serves as a warning to businesses when relying on the clause in future.
Last week, the Queensland Supreme Court decided the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 does not apply to construction work on mining leases. Construction companies performing work on sites subject to a mining lease can no longer rely on the payment process under the Act and will need to seek relief through alternative processes.
The Victorian Government has introduced legislation into Parliament to streamline the approvals processes for major projects and reduce project delays and costs.
The Queensland Government will set up a new independent Queensland Building & Construction Commission (QBCC) to replace the Queensland Building Services Authority (BSA). The change is in response to an independent review, in consultation with key industry stakeholders, to determine how to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of the BSA.
On 18 April 2013, Treasury issued exposure draft legislation, an explanatory memorandum and draft designation rules to provide a tax loss incentive for nationally significant designated infrastructure projects. To access the tax loss incentive the project vehicle must meet certain requirements to be a designated infrastructure project entity, and the project must be determined a designated infrastructure project by the Infrastructure Coordinator.
The Final Report of the Independent Inquiry into Construction Industry Insolvency in NSW, chaired by Mr Bruce Collins QC, has been made public. The NSW Government set up the inquiry to assess the cause and extent of insolvency in the building and construction industry and recommend measures to better protect subcontractors from the effects of insolvency.
On 25 January 2013, Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relation, Bill Shorten, issued the Building Code 2013 (Federal Code) under the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012 (Cth).
On 20 January 2013 Australia's National Rail Safety Regulator commenced operation in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. In those states and territories where the Rail Safety National Law has been adopted, a number of immediate changes have come into effect.
On 28 December 2012, the PRC National People’s Congress passed Amendments to the PRC Labour Contract Law (the Amendments) in relation to the labour dispatch arrangement. The Amendments will come into force on 1 July 2013.
On 31 December 2012, the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), a foreign-related arbitration commission set up by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (also known as the China Chamber of International Commerce) (CCPIT), released its Announcement on Issues Concerning CIETAC Shanghai Sub-Commission and CIETAC South China Sub-Commission" (the Latest Announcement). This is the latest development in a dispute, which has been on foot since April 2012, between CIETAC, the Shanghai Sub-Commission of CIETAC (CIETAC Shanghai), and the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA) (the CIETAC Dispute). SCIA was known as the South China Sub-Commission of CIETAC before 22 October 2012.
What's on the cards for key industry sectors for the coming year? Read what we think:
The Queensland Court of Appeal has endorsed a narrow interpretation of the 'mining exclusion' under the Building and Construction Industry Payment Act 2004 (Qld), particularly in the context of open cut mining.
The differing views expressed by the court on whether certain works are 'construction works' creates significant uncertainty for the industry.
On 24 August 2012, the Queensland State Government Temporary State Planning Policy 2/12 Planning for Prosperity (TSPP) took effect. The State government announced that the TSPP will mean that 'state agencies and council must ensure that economic development considerations are a fundamental planning consideration in this state. Its aim is to speed – not impede – development.'
This alert explains how the TSPP may affect your business or organisation.
A draft ruling issued by the Australian Taxation Office ('Income tax: debt and equity interests: when is a public unit trust in a stapled group a connected entity of a company for the purposes of paragraph 974-80(1)(b) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997) will significantly impact the tax consequences for past and present capital raisings for stapled groups
The PRC's Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court on Application of Laws in the Trial of Cases Involving Sale and Purchase Contracts will take effect from 1 July 2012. Widely regarded as a judicial milestone the promulgation of the Interpretation is expected to contribute to the development of jurisprudence and commerce in China.
The ATO has warned taxpayers that input tax credits for importation GST will be denied if the importation arrangements are not managed in accordance with the statutory requirements. It is likely the ATO will now focus on this area and taxpayers will have no excuse if they fail to comply with the criteria necessary to claim credits.
On 28 April 2012, the China State Council released the Special Provisions on Labour Protection for Female Employees ('the New Provisions'). The New Provisions came into force on that same date, and superseded the Provisions on Labour Protection for Female Employees promulgated on 21 July 1988. The New Provisions provide better protection to female employees and cover prohibited work, maternity leave, maternity insurance and sexual harassment.
As part of the 2011-2012 State Budget, the Victorian Treasurer announced that Victoria will adopt a 'landholder' duty model to replace the 'land rich' duty model from 1 July 2012. The Victorian State Revenue Office has now released an Exposure Draft of the Duties Amendment (Landholder) Bill 2012 (Bill) which contains the proposed landholder duty model. This Alert sets out the key stamp duty changes to be made by the Bill if it is enacted in its current form.
New workplace health and safety laws commence in Queensland on 1 January 2012. The new Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Work Health and Safety Act 2011 will replace the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 and Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 2008, as part of a national harmonisation project. Chapter 6 of the Regulation governs construction work.
On Tuesday, 29 November 2011, as part of its Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2011-12, the Federal Government announced a package of changes intended to raise A$11.5 billion in new revenue and savings.
The Transport Legislation Amendment (Public Transport Development Authority) Bill 2011 was passed by the Victorian parliament on 8 November 2011. It creates a new Public Transport Development Authority which will plan and manage all Victorian train, bus and tram services.
The Queensland Government recently passed the Disaster Readiness Amendment Act 2011 (Qld), which will directly affect dam operators, utilities companies, government and the community, as it implements the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry Interim Report recommendations.
Cameron Charlton examines the varied success of Transport Oriented Developments and explains how creating the right form of urban place can unlock the benefits of high density living and contribute to sustainable development.