Government

Government

Government

As governments seek to improve public services and secure a brighter future for Australia, robust policy, financial and risk management is critical in areas of state and national priority including infrastructure, health and education.

In our current economic environment, Federal and State departments are under increasing pressure to deliver key projects with greater efficiencies while meeting unique social, economic and political demands. As long-term advisors to government, we understand the challenges and complexities that accompany departmental decision making at every level. We work closely with government agencies across Australia to provide accurate, timely and responsive legal advice from project inception to completion. Corrs brings to bear not only our wealth of experience advising government departments and agencies but also our experience advising private sector clients in their dealings with government. As governments increasingly partner with a wide range of stakeholders to improve service delivery in the public sector, we offer leading strategic advice and expertise in outsourcing and contestability reviews.

Corrs’ team of dedicated government lawyers are intimately familiar with the critical areas of law surrounding the public sector. From administrative law which forms the basis for government decision making to statutory interpretation, taxation, industrial relations or consumer and competition law, Corrs are the experts to turn to. Our vast experience representing government in some of the largest and most complex litigation in its history, combined with our successful handling of large-scale, whole of government procurements, significant infrastructure delivery through Public Private Partnerships and advising on the vast majority of Royal Commissions and inquiries called since the 1990’s, means there is no public sector legal issue beyond our capabilities.

Partnering with individual Departments and Agencies to ensure their policy objectives are met and their political risk is minimised is a hallmark of our approach.

Our Experts

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Airlie Fox

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Andrew Korbel

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Anna Ross

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Brent Lillywhite

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Carol Lee

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Eddie Scuderi

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Helen Clarke

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Henry Prokuda

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James Whittaker

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Jane Hider

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Jared Heath

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Jillian Button

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Jodie Burger

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John Walter

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Julie Cameron

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Leanne O'Brien

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Louise Camenzuli

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Lucy Shea

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Michael do Rozario

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Nicholas Ellery

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Peter Schenk

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Rebecca Field

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Richard Leder

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Robert Regan

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Stuart Clague

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Vanessa Mellis

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Our Experience

2005 Queensland Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry

This Commission of Inquiry investigated the circumstances regarding the appointment of, and the clinical care provided by Dr Jayant Patel at the Bundaberg Hospital following allegations of multiple patient deaths and poor patient outcomes.

Findings resulted in the referral of Dr Patel for criminal charges, a rare outcome of clinical care. In parallel to the Commission of Inquiry, the State established a claims resolution process for aggrieved patients seeking civil compensation.

Corrs assisted Queensland Health with the preparation of material to be provided to the Commission, as well as acting for Queensland Health in responding to 387 civil damages claims by former patients in relation to medical care provided.

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2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission was established following the bushfires which swept through parts of Victoria in late January and February 2009. The fires caused the deaths of 173 Victorians, destroyed more than 2,029 homes and 3,500 structures and damaged thousands more.

Corrs were appointed the Solicitors Instructing Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into the 2009 Victorian Bushfires.

The Royal Commission's terms of reference were very broad, including investigation of the causes of the fires; analysis of what happened leading up to, during and after the fires and recommendations as to what should be done to ensure such a disaster would not occur again.

Corrs’ role in advising the Royal Commission, the first of its kind in Victoria in 10 years, was extensive. Corrs assisted the Commission over 18 months and 155 days of hearings involving 434 witnesses and two panels of expert witnesses. Corrs worked closely with the three Commissioners and six Counsel Assisting to advise in respect of the Commission’s extensive powers. Corrs was integral to the gathering and analysis of documentary and witness evidence, and assisted in drafting submissions and recommendations.

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Adelaide Desalination Plant

When the decision was made to address Adelaide’s water shortages with the building of a desalination plant, it was vital for South Australia Water to lock in a secure, long term supply of competitively priced renewable energy to power it.

Corrs and the South Australian Crown Solicitors Office had to find innovative ways to structure the 20-year deal, believed to be valued at $1.5 billion, in a rapidly-changing legislative environment with ongoing debate about a carbon tax.

A change in Federal Government policy required a redrafting of all documentation part way through the process but the result was a successful environmental outcome.

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Australia’s largest public sector water infrastructure project

Corrs Chambers Westgarth is playing an important role in the future Australia’s water supply – advising on the largest public sector investment in water infrastructure in our nation’s history, the AU$3.5 billion Victorian Desalination Project.

In the lead advisory role, Corrs’ Project team assisted the Victorian Government develop project funding solutions for PPP development of the mammoth seawater desalination plant – fully integrating with the technical, environmental, financial and insurance advisors.

Conducted against the background of the continuing global economic crisis, the team developed real-time solutions as the economy evolved, and still achieved contract close earlier than the announced timetable

Corrs was also involved in developing the project’s commercial structure, key approval public hearings and applications, briefing government decision makers, evaluating and advising on procurement, and negotiating finalised project documentation. Corrs has continued to play a lead role advising the State through the construction delivery phase and the range of complex issues arising from the substantial delays to completion.

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Brisbane Airport Link

Corrs Project team advised BrisConnections on all aspects of its successful bid, including negotiation of the project deed with the State, the design and construction sub-contract, and the operations and maintenance contract with the other project participants.

The project involved a $1.2 billion initial public offering of securities in BrisConnections and a $3 billion debt financing package.

Airport Link, a 6.7km multi-lane electronic free-flow toll road with dual 5.25km tunnels, will be Australia’s largest ever toll road infrastructure project by design and construction cost. The project is a priority transport infrastructure project for Brisbane and is designed to meet the needs of Brisbane’s rapidly rising population.

Corrs are the lead transaction lawyers for the BrisConnections consortium, which will deliver the Airport Link, Northern Busway and Airport Roundabout Upgrade projects. The Consortium, which includes Leighton Holdings, Macquarie Capital Group, Thiess and John Holland, was announced as preferred bidder for the project in May 2008.

Corrs advised on all aspects of its successful bid, including negotiation of the project deed with the State, the design and construction sub-contract, and the operations and maintenance contract with the other project participants.

The transaction was unusually complex. The design and construction sub-contract, for example, is the largest construction contract for an Australian Public-Private Partnership (PPP). It provides for the simultaneous design and construction of the publicly-financed and owned Northern Busway, the privately-financed and owned Airport Link toll road and publicly-financed and owned Airport Roundabout Upgrade.

Each type of work had its own challenges – the payment, environmental, approval, tenure and access regimes were different for each work package and had to be separately addressed in the subcontract.

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New Zealand’s first major PPP venture gets prison off the ground

With the help of Corrs, a new NZ $840 million, 960-bed prison in Wiri, South Auckland is underway via New Zealand’s first major public-private partnership.

Corrs advised Fletcher Construction, the development and construction contractor, on all phases of the project’s procurement through to financial close and beyond.

Wiri Prison will be designed, financed, built, operated and maintained by the private sector and, unusually, includes the full provision of prison services it as well.

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Gold Coast Rapid Transit

The Gold Coast Rapid Transit Project, a light rail linking key centres on the Gold Coast, is a landmark infrastructure project in Queensland. Corrs was involved from the outset of the project and advised the Queensland Government on all tax related issues associated with the project including income tax, GST, stamp duty, land tax and council rates.

The team worked closely with Corrs’ projects lawyers to help Government develop the required level of certainty needed in this critical area of the project.

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Gold Coast University Hospital and Private Hospital - Queensland Health

The $1.76 billion, 750 bed Gold Coast University Hospital remains the largest public health infrastructure project in Australia. Corrs advised on all components of this major work, established to meet growing demand for complex care and health services in Queensland.

Working closely with Queensland Health and government representatives, Corrs advised on land acquisition, shared occupancy arrangements, public works legislation and is currently advising in relation to procurement matters for the provision of services.

Corrs advised on the relocation of the medical school for Griffith University to establish the complementary and adjacent $136 million Griffith Centre for Medicine and Oral Health. The firm is currently facilitating arrangements between Queensland Health and Healthscope to secure a co-located 350 bed private hospital.

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Mundaring Water Treatment Project

Corrs was key adviser to the Water Corporation of Western Australia on the A$306 million Mundaring Water Treatment Plant (MWTP). This critical infrastructure asset ensures the long term supply of water to the agricultural and the goldfield areas of Western Australia.

The development was the Water Corporation’s first privately financed infrastructure project, awarded the ‘Government Partnership Excellence Award’ by Infrastructure Partners Australia.

Corrs advised on all aspects of the project, which contributes to the State’s wider objective of diversifying financing sources for the development of infrastructure in WA.

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Pan Pharmaceuticals

Corrs acted for the Commonwealth of Australia in the defence of the Pan Pharmaceuticals class action. The class action was one of the largest claims ever brought against the Commonwealth and centred on alleged negligence by a Federal Regulator as well as alleged misfeasance in public office by individuals employed by the Regulator.

The legal principles were complex and their application to a Federal Regulator, and its staff, were largely untested in Australia. Corrs developed and implemented a strategy that led to a commercially successful settlement of the class action at a private out-of-court mediation without any admissions as to liability.

The class action, which comprised 162 members seeking economic loss and aggravated damages, stemmed from the corporate collapse of Pan Pharmaceuticals in April 2003 after the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) ordered a recall of its products and suspended its licence to manufacture therapeutic goods.

The Commonwealth was alleged to have been negligent because of the manner in which the TGA performed its regulatory functions, a number of TGA officers were alleged to have engaged in misfeasance in public office (a personal tort centred on willful misconduct, or reckless indifference, in the exercise of government powers) and the Commonwealth was alleged to have been vicariously liable for the officers conduct. The case was legally and factually complex, requiring management of Government obligations and individual sensitivities.

Corrs worked quickly and efficiently, ahead of a private out-of-court mediation, to limit the scope of the claims against the Commonwealth (successfully striking out large parts of the class action claim), to ensure that the remaining causes of action were appropriately particularised (given the extremely serious nature of the claim – especially as against the individual officers) and to successfully challenge, and have withdrawn, the key expert evidence that the class was seeking to rely upon.

The settlement reached at the mediation was without any admissions as to liability and involved the payment of $67.5m into a distribution fund from which payments could be made to each of the 162 class members. The settlement was formally approved by the Federal Court (a necessary legal requirement for any Federal Court class action settlement) and the approval judgment is one of the most recent judicial decisions in Australia on the factors that are required to be established to obtain Federal Court approval of a class action settlement.

The total quantum of the claims made by the 162 members of the class remains subject to confidentiality, although the Australian Financial Review noted the following in respect of the class action settlement (after it had been approved by the Federal Court):

“It [referring to the class action] was not a lay down misere. The pleadings of the lead applicant and two sample members show each claimed between $1 million and $8.5 million, suggesting the settlement was a small fraction of the total claimed.”

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Queensland Department of Health - ICT

Corrs is a long term adviser to the Queensland Department of Health and Hospital and Health Services across the State. We assist in a wide range of strategic ICT procurement projects including software licensing and services, hardware acquisition and maintenance, systems implementations, data hosting and managed services.

Corrs has worked with the Department of Health and Hospital and Health Services to procure a number of critical ICT systems, including a central financial management system, a clinical costing system, a picture archiving and communications and medical imaging transfer system, a pharmaceuticals robotics system, a maternal and foetal medicine information system, an emergency and operating room information system, intensive care unit clinical information system, food services information system, remote diagnostic units and medical equipment support services.

These ICT systems are essential to the State’s ability to effectively coordinate and provide health services across Queensland.

Our work with the Department of Health and Hospital and Health Services in the ICT contracts area extends to contract and risk management, disputes, termination, transition out arrangements and compliance with the Queensland Government procurement framework.

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Queensland Schools Project

Corrs supports the Queensland Government (Projects Queensland) to engage the private sector to deliver 10 new state schools across rapidly developing areas in South East Queensland.

First schools are set for delivery in 2015. Corrs aids government decision-making by providing experienced insight into the management of a complex consortium of private companies being contracted by the state to design, construct, commission, finance and maintain the new schools. During the project’s procurement and delivery phases Corrs advises on all major issues, including PPP structure, contractual issues and native title issues.

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Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital & Queensland Children’s Hospital

Corrs advises Queensland Health during the construction phase of a major 738 bed Public Hospital in Kawana, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The precinct meets increased health care and health education needs, incorporating a cooperative medical research facility, a health campus and adjacent retail and residential developments.

The Corrs’ team has also advised on contractual, employment and regulatory issues arising out of the contestability review for the contracted delivery of services to the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital and Queensland Children’s Hospital.

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Translational Research Institute (TRI) Project

The TRI Project brings together four of the country’s pinnacle research institutions in a ground-breaking R&D collaboration in biopharmaceuticals treatments.

With leading experience in health and education joint ventures, Corrs was key legal adviser for Queensland Health for the project, a joint initiative between Queensland Health, The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and the Mater Medical Research Institute.

Corrs advised the Queensland Government on all elements of its shareholder agreement as well as negotiating tenure, funding and construction arrangements. The project incorporated an adjacent biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility, built in partnership between the Queensland Government owned BioPharmaceuticals Australia and DSM Biologics.

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Victorian Schools PPP

The Victorian Schools Public Private Partnership (PPP) was the first undertaken in the State’s education sector. Under the arrangement the Victorian Government engaged the private sector to deliver 11 new schools which now operate in growth areas of Melbourne. Corrs worked closely with the Victorian Government on all aspects of the project including bidding and bid evaluation, contract development, contract negotiation and the provision of general legal and commercial advice.

Water Corporation of Australia - IT outsourcing

For more than 15 years Corrs has provided key strategic and legal advice around IT outsourcing for The Water Corporation of Western Australia, one of the country’s largest utilities.

The Water Corporation has outsourced its Information Technology function since 1996 and now operates under a selective sourcing model which separates infrastructure and applications service providers.

Corrs advises on all aspects of outsourcing including drafting of contracts, normalisation of bids, negotiation of terms with multiple third party suppliers and implementation.

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Our Thinking

How Australia is combatting worker exploitation

Three State Inquiries over the last 12 months into labour hire point to widespread exploitation. The time has come for a regulatory response to protect vulnerable workers.

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The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation: solid foundations or a house of cards?

A new Budget initiative aims to increase dramatically the supply of affordable housing for lower income Australians by linking the scale and tenor of the debt capital markets with the community housing sector.

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Playing catch up on Energy Security

How do we manage the balance between energy security and long-term economic development?

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We’re all in this together: some of us more than others

Hamburg shines further light on the divide in global politics.

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Tendering with the Commonwealth Government: what does the proposed new procurement legislation mean for you?

Proposed Commonwealth legislation will give prospective suppliers the right to compensation and injunctions for breaches of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

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Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017: A new era of regulation in Australia

Australia’s chemical industry is about to undergo widespread reform. Most notably the changes include the first move away from cosmetics testing on animals.

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Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017: A new era of regulation in Australia

Australia’s chemical industry is about to undergo widespread reform. Most notably the changes include the first move away from cosmetics testing on animals.

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Queensland Supreme Court dismisses challenge to differential rate

A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Queensland has reaffirmed the broad power of local governments to levy differential general rates.

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Forget Terminator: Cyborgs have rights too (Part Two)

In the second of our two-part look at cyborg technology, we consider how Australia might navigate the potential social and legal tensions arising from human and machine integration.

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Forget Terminator: Cyborgs have rights too (Part One)

Cyborgs are no longer a sci-fi curiosity. In the first of our two-part look at this technology, we consider how Australia might navigate surveillance and privacy issues that will inevitably arise.

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Laying the foundations: a brighter global future

Governments talk a lot about infrastructure but are slow to act. So, how do we ensure infrastructure meets the world’s future challenges?

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Victoria’s Value Creation and Capture Framework: A first step in the right direction

Victoria’s Value Creation and Capture Framework should be seen as the start of the journey, not the final destination.

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What’s Next for Market-led Proposals In Australia?

Governments face challenges in ensuring their MLP policies are accountable, transparent and represent value for money.

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Preparing for life with robots: How will they be regulated in Australia?

As robots become more complex, capable and autonomous, there are serious liability, safety and privacy issues to address. How should Australia regulate these issues?

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A new focus on genetically modified organisms in Queensland: changes to gene technology laws aim for consistency and flexibility

How have Queensland’s gene technology laws changed?

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The future of correction centres – does virtual reality have a place?

Augmented and virtual reality technology is fast becoming more pervasive and affordable. But what does it offer for correctional services?

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The Drone Age: not even the sky is the limit for this changing regulatory landscape

The regulatory framework for drones is complex and is under review. Where to next for these flights of fancy?

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Mandatory data breach notification: how will the new laws in Australia impact your business?

The new mandatory data breach notification laws in Australia are likely to take effect in the next 12 months. So, it’s time for organisations to start preparing.

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The cost of an inaccurate planning certificate

Councils can be held liable for providing misleading planning information – even if an entity did not request that guidance.

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Disrupting procurement: the process contract and other avenues

Commonwealth legislation is being proposed to allow judicial review for government procurement decisions. What will this mean for the tender process?

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Review of Queensland Privacy and Right to Information Legislation

Do Queensland’s Privacy and Right to Information laws need to change? Government agencies and service providers can have their say – but they’ll need to move quickly.

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Time to speak up: improve access and drive reform for public hospitals

A look at the potential public sector health reform that lies ahead in 2017.

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Opportunities hiding amongst the issues in youth detention

How can service delivery in youth detention be improved to achieve better outcomes including reduced recidivism?

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Will a focus on ‘economic benefit’ in new government rules affect the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement?

What does ‘economic benefit’ really mean in the government’s new Commonwealth Procurement Rules?

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Public Health Reform: What does the future look like for patients?

The Productivity Commission continues its extensive consultation as part of public health reform, focusing on user oriented information and government stewardship.

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A Trump Administration is a reality. So, now what?

We can still make intelligent decisions despite US policy under Donald Trump being so unclear.

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Delivering Impact for the Asia Pacific: Challenges for Trade and Investment

On 21 October 2016, Corrs Partner and CEO John W.H. Denton AO participated in a panel discussion at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Conference, Asia-Pacific: Transforming the Future. John is also the First Vice Chairman of the ICC.

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Queensland Planning and Environment Court provides guidance on when historical development approval conditions attach to land

A recent decision by the Queensland Planning and Environment Court has provided much-needed guidance on the vexed issue of when, and how, development conditions attach to land.

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Why clinical excellence is not enough: The age of patient experience

Public Hospitals can actually shape reform amid increased competition, contestability and user choice.

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Why Biosecurity is now a planning, construction and procurement matter

Local governments, developers and contractors in South-East Queensland need to be aware of how the recently commenced Biosecurity Act 2014 has affected the way they should deal with pest issues and manage construction sites.

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Can an enforcement notice be challenged during a prosecution?

Two recent decisions by the District Court and the Court of Appeal have helped to clarify whether a recipient of an enforcement notice has the right to challenge the validity of that notice at trial in Queensland.

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Clearer skies for drone regulation in Australia

In response to growing interest in the commercial use of drones or remotely piloted aircrafts in a range of industries in Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has developed new regulations that will take effect from 29 September 2016.

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Outcomes Focus: Environmental Impact Bonds are all about results

There is an alternative to Green Bonds – Environmental Impact Bonds tie financial returns to the success of a green project.

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Corrs CEO and ICC First Vice Chairman John W. H. Denton AO addresses B20 Summit in Hangzhou, China

Corrs CEO John Denton this week reinforced the importance of the international business community playing a part in shaping the G20 agenda ahead of the 2016 summit in Hangzhou.

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Financial inclusion: what “social licence” means for Australia’s big banks

Big profits bring big responsibilities. So what does a social licence really mean for our banking industry?

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Leaving nothing to the imagination

Discriminatory practices are outpacing liberalisation efforts by more than two-to-one around the globe. As world leaders gather for g20 in Hangzhou, Corrs CEO John Denton asks what role can business play in this landscape?

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WA government announces proposed measures to protect subcontractors

Following calls in the lead up to the March 2017 state election to “give small businesses a fair go”, the WA government has announced that it will be implementing measures to provide greater protections to subcontractors.

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Doubling Australia’s trade with China will take a bold approach

Corrs CEO John Denton says this week’s Partnership for Change Report can maximise opportunities between Australia and China for the long term.

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Hung or hung out to dry? What fewer than 76 seats could mean for Australian business

How would a minority government address the key issues for business? Ask Corrs CEO John Denton and Partner Andrew Lumsden.

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Breaking Brexit Down: So what happens now? (VIDEO)

Corrs’ Breaking Brexit Down video series considers how the UK’s momentous decision will affect your business. Over the coming weeks we’ll bring you insight from Corrs Partners who’ll examine diverse areas ranging from international arbitration throug

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Challenging unlawful local government rates: What are the options for landowners?

WIth the end of the financial year approaching, Queensland’s local governments are finalising their 2016/2017 budgets, including setting rates for land. Landowners should be aware of their options for challenging unlawful rates.

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So what does Brexit really mean for Australia?

One thing seems certain following Brexit: economic uncertainty. But how long will it last and how will Australia be affected? Corrs’ CEO John Denton, Senior Adviser, International Business Engagement Peter Grey and Special Counsel James Shirbin consi

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When the rubber hits the road: Opportunities and challenges for Australia’s first rubber-tyred train system

Rapid transit metros using trains with a rubber-tyred guided system could soon be on the cards for Australian cities.

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Trump, Brexit and Protectionism: Navigating cross-border disputes and international arbitration in a more connected world

The rise in global protectionism will lead to more disputes in an increasingly connected world. As trust is eroded, businesses must adopt active mitigation strategies to navigate the risks of global trade and commerce.

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The Brexit Vote: Potential implications for Australian businesses

This month’s referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership to the European Union – and the prospect it raises of a British exit (or “Brexit”) from the EU – has understandably attracted much attention worldwide.

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Why trade matters: If jade is not carved, it doesn’t turn into jewellery 笑一笑,十年少

The powerful opportunities presented by Australia’s trade agreements.

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Clean energy: ARENA’s grant funding and the new Clean Energy Innovation Fund

On 23 March 2016, the Turnbull Government announced the establishment of a $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF) to provide debt and equity funding for clean energy projects.

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Executive officers - be warned – your right to silence under the Environmental Protection Act has been removed

Recent amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, assented to on 27 April 2016, now compel an individual to answer a question put to them under s476 of the Act even if answering might tend to incriminate the individual.

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Public Stadium projects – can they be made into economic champions or will they always be wooden spooners?

Developing stadiums has numerous social and economic benefits that can be long-term and wide-ranging. But how can stadiums be developed given the current uncertainty of funding?

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The Safeguard Mechanism commences on 1 July 2016: what does it mean for business?

The Safeguard Mechanism is the final, critical component of the Emissions Reduction Fund, the centrepiece of the current Government’s climate change and emissions reduction policy.

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Making a political donation for the 2016 Federal Election: A quick refresher on the key issues for business

With the Budget announced and the 2016 Federal Election imminent it is the ideal time for business to refresh their knowledge on Commonwealth political donation laws.

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Will the year of the fire monkey burn corporate Australia’s ambitions in 2016?

Our key predictions on what Australia can expect from the Chinese year of the fire monkey.

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Smart Cities: Making Australian Precinct Energy Networks a Reality

In this second article of our Smart Cities series, we look at how technologies that combine heating, cooling and electricity can transform Australia’s urban energy networks.

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Court of Appeal clarifies when development application material can be used in interpreting a development approval

A recent decision of the Queensland Court of Appeal has clarified when a development application can be referred to in order to resolve uncertainty around the scope of a development approval.

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Small business, consumer protection, agriculture and excessive credit card surcharges: the ACCC’s enforcement priorities for 2016

On 23 February 2016, Rod Sims launched the 2016 ACCC Compliance and Enforcement Policy. The ACCC has identified new enforcement priorities that include enforcement actions against large businesses, consumer guarantees and agriculture.

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The challenge of building Australia’s gateway to the Indo-Pacific

The development of Northern Australia is attracting renewed investor interest and government support. What are the key challenges to developing Australia’s northern frontier?

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New Australian Biomedical Translation Fund: Crossing the “Valley of Death” from Research to Market

The new $250 million fund will invest in promising biomedical discoveries and accelerate their commercialisation.

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High Court allows agreed civil penalty submissions with regulators

The High Court has set aside the Full Court decision and reinstates in excess of twenty years of authorities relating to the ability of parties that are the subject of civil prosecutions to make joint submissions about the appropriate pecuniary penal

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The North's time has come: Why Business should be looking at Northern Australia for new opportunities

Food security concerns in Asia and the Middle East will drive demand for what the north can produce.

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5 key actions your business can take to manage data breach risk

There are a variety of reasons why you should take data breach risk management seriously, not the least of which is the Federal Government’s recent draft bill to introduce mandatory data breach notification requirements.

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Tax incentives to stimulate the “Ideas Boom”

Will the proposed tax incentives be effective in realising the Government’s Innovation Agenda?

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Ideas boom full steam ahead - The Australian Government commits over $1 billion to science and innovation

The key measures that are front and centre of the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

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General Counsels’ top priority for 2016: Managing cyber security

Data security is top of the “worry” list for general counsel and directors.

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What it takes to be a sustainable, smart city: Urban innovation

How are cities responding to issues of congestion, aging infrastructure and pollution?

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Regional China rises: Australian businesses should venture beyond Shanghai and Shenzhen to ride the Project of the Century

The central Chinese city of Xi’an offers a wealth of business opportunity.

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Local governments will have more confidence in differential rating after new Court decision

A decision of Queensland’s Supreme Court dismissing a landowner’s challenge to a differential rate has important implications for local governments and ratepayers.

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The WTO Agreement on Government Procurement: A world of opportunity or a threat to local business?

Australian businesses will have legally-binding access to government procurement markets worth some USD1.7 trillion if Australia accedes to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.

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Liquidated damages post Andrews - A double-edged sword

New guidance on the potential for liquidated damages clauses to be struck out as penalties.

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Email negotiations - Beware, you might already be bound!

Courts are ruling that email negotiations create binding contracts and businesses are finding themselves caught.

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A stitch in time saves nine: How excluding consequential loss could save you millions

Now is the time to ensure consequential loss is excluded from your contracts.

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What Queensland’s new government will mean for the resources sector

Tough market conditions means government policy will be increasingly critical to the industry.

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Political donations for the March 2015 New South Wales State Election: Know the rules before digging deep

What you should know before making a political donation in NSW.

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School chaplaincy decision threatens Commonwealth funding of local government

Local government programs may be left high and dry.

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Want to sell your idea to Government? An unsolicited proposal could be your answer

Unsolicited proposals are a means by which the private sector can propose new ideas to the State to deliver capital requirements outside normal procurement processes.

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Opportunity for junior explorers as Queensland Government releases land for petroleum and gas exploration via a non-cash competitive tender

The Queensland Government has announced that six parcels of land have been released for petroleum and gas exploration through a non-cash competitive tender.

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Yeats Consulting Pty Ltd v Logan City Council

Yeats Consulting Pty Ltd v Logan City Council: When a Chief Executive Officer of a local government personally makes a decision for the purposes of establishing appeal rights.

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Proposed changes to BASIX targets

In December 2013, the NSW Government announced proposed changes to Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) targets.

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The “finalised” CSG reforms: What it means for the CSG and agricultural industries

On 28 January 2014, the NSW Government announced that it “has finalised landmark” coal seam gas reforms which aim to safeguard homes and high quality farmland in NSW.

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The role of weighting when relying on “far from perfect” comparable sales

Recently, the NSW Land and Environment Court handed down its decision in Marrickville Council v Sydney Water Corporation [2013] NSWLEC 222.

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Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper

On 20 December 2013, the Australian Government released the Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper, inviting public comment and written submissions until 21 February 2014.

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Expanded categories of exempt and complying development

More development in NSW is to be code assessed or exempt from requiring approval, as the categories of exempt and complying development have been expanded through amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy.

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CSG explorer convicted and fined: The first prosecution for breaches of conditions of an exploration licence

On 10 January 2014, the NSW Land and Environment Court convicted Santos NSW Pty Ltdof four offences for failing, without reasonable excuse, to comply with conditions of its petroleum exploration licence.

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Impact of council de-amalgamation on development applications and legal proceedings - Practical advice

The de-amalgamation process will invariably present some practical challenges for councils. Two key issues are the impact of de-amalgamation on development applications and legal proceedings.

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State Planning Policy 2 December 2013

The 2nd of December 2013 is a big day in Queensland for State planning.

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The standard required of a written statement of reasons

The High Court of Australia recently considered the standard required of a written statement of reasons in making a statutory decision.

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Infrastructure in Indonesia: Building the framework for effective PPPs

What needs to be done for public private partnerships to succeed in Indonesia?

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Employment and industrial relations implications arising out of Queensland’s contestability reforms

The scene is set in Queensland for greater competition in public health services.

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Buzzacott v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities [2013] FCAFC 111

The Full Court of the Federal Court recently handed down its decision in Buzzacott v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

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Save Little Beach Manly Foreshore Incorporated v Manly Council [2013] NSWLEC 155

Save Little Manly Beach Foreshore Incorporated brought judicial review proceedings against Manly Council to prevent Council from disposing of its land on the Little Manly Beach foreshore.

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Queensland’s de-amalgamating councils: Employment issues to consider

On 1 January 2014 up to 1,315 employees will transfer from continuing to new local governments.

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Impact of de-amalgamation on contracts - How will it work?

The new local governments of Douglas, Livingstone, Noosa and Mareeba (and their respective “new local government areas”) will come into existence on 1 January 2014.

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Quick guide to establishing a presence in Indonesia

Indonesia is a vast emerging market. What are the choices for establishing a presence there?

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Queensland’s de-amalgamating councils: Making the most of a fresh start

Four local councils in Queensland are separating from their regional councils following a March referendum in which their communities overwhelmingly voted for de-amalgamation.

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Outsourcing, common sense and good faith - Some lessons from a hospital services outsource

Don’t let poor cooperation and a confrontational attitude wreck your outsourcing relationship.

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Australia-Indonesia: Time for a closer future

Indonesia’s potential is vast and now is the time for genuine engagement.

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Striking the balance: Financing PPPs with government contributions

How can governments maximise cost savings while retaining the risk transfer and performance incentives associated with private finance?

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Constitutional recognition of local government a much-needed reform

Local governments must be recognised in the Constitution to ensure their ongoing financial security. But don’t bet on a successful referendum.

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Will a single state planning policy change anything in Queensland?

Queensland’s new state planning policy promises simplicity, but can it deliver?

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Can the NSW planning system change its spots?

The NSW Government has released the White Paper on its proposed new planning system.

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Productivity Commission review a ray of hope for major projects

Could reform be on the way for Australia’s infamous major projects approval regime?

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New environmental assessment reforms are controversial, but ultimately sensible

Industry and environmental groups are polarised over reforms to streamline approvals for large projects. Who’s right?

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Joint ventures are a smart way for local governments to beat funding constraints

Queensland local governments have an ace up their sleeve when it comes to raising funds for critical infrastructure.

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The Local Government and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012

The Local Government and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 was introduced by the Minister for Local Government on 13 September 2012.

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Social benefit bonds: Make a difference and a profit

Can a program to reduce the number of children in foster care ever be an appealing investment proposition for the private sector? The NSW government thinks so.

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NSW Planning Reforms: Green Paper - Significant reform or more of the same?

The NSW Government’s Green Paper, ‘A new planning system for NSW’ released on 14 July 2012 lays out a blueprint for fundamental planning reform in NSW.

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Greentape Reduction Bill: Will it strip local governments’ power to regulate environmental impacts?

Queensland’s Greentape Reduction Bill may make it more difficult for local governments to regulate environmental impacts.

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Contractor beware: ICT contracting for PPPs

Governments are increasingly looking to public private partnerships to solve the ever growing demand for new hospitals in Australia.

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Strict interpretation of Local Government Act will lead to practical difficulties for local government prosecutions - Recent important Court of Appeal Decision

This In Brief examines the recent case of Ipswich City Council v Dixonbuild [2012] QCA 98.

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Overhaul of planning legislation in NSW

The NSW State Government is undertaking the most significant overhaul of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (NSW) since its introduction in 1979.

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Solving the infrastructure dilemma - It’s all about sharing

Australia’s pressing need for infrastructure is well known. Government has less money and private enterprise has less appetite for risk. With these two factors a certainty, infrastructure experts at Corrs Chambers Westgarth agree change must come.

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Our Experience

2005 Queensland Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry

This Commission of Inquiry investigated the circumstances regarding the appointment of, and the clinical care provided by Dr Jayant Patel at the Bundaberg Hospital following allegations of multiple patient deaths and poor patient outcomes.

Findings resulted in the referral of Dr Patel for criminal charges, a rare outcome of clinical care. In parallel to the Commission of Inquiry, the State established a claims resolution process for aggrieved patients seeking civil compensation.

Corrs assisted Queensland Health with the preparation of material to be provided to the Commission, as well as acting for Queensland Health in responding to 387 civil damages claims by former patients in relation to medical care provided.

2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission was established following the bushfires which swept through parts of Victoria in late January and February 2009. The fires caused the deaths of 173 Victorians, destroyed more than 2,029 homes and 3,500 structures and damaged thousands more.

Corrs were appointed the Solicitors Instructing Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into the 2009 Victorian Bushfires.

The Royal Commission's terms of reference were very broad, including investigation of the causes of the fires; analysis of what happened leading up to, during and after the fires and recommendations as to what should be done to ensure such a disaster would not occur again.

Corrs’ role in advising the Royal Commission, the first of its kind in Victoria in 10 years, was extensive. Corrs assisted the Commission over 18 months and 155 days of hearings involving 434 witnesses and two panels of expert witnesses. Corrs worked closely with the three Commissioners and six Counsel Assisting to advise in respect of the Commission’s extensive powers. Corrs was integral to the gathering and analysis of documentary and witness evidence, and assisted in drafting submissions and recommendations.

Adelaide Desalination Plant

When the decision was made to address Adelaide’s water shortages with the building of a desalination plant, it was vital for South Australia Water to lock in a secure, long term supply of competitively priced renewable energy to power it.

Corrs and the South Australian Crown Solicitors Office had to find innovative ways to structure the 20-year deal, believed to be valued at $1.5 billion, in a rapidly-changing legislative environment with ongoing debate about a carbon tax.

A change in Federal Government policy required a redrafting of all documentation part way through the process but the result was a successful environmental outcome.

Australia’s largest public sector water infrastructure project

Corrs Chambers Westgarth is playing an important role in the future Australia’s water supply – advising on the largest public sector investment in water infrastructure in our nation’s history, the AU$3.5 billion Victorian Desalination Project.

In the lead advisory role, Corrs’ Project team assisted the Victorian Government develop project funding solutions for PPP development of the mammoth seawater desalination plant – fully integrating with the technical, environmental, financial and insurance advisors.

Conducted against the background of the continuing global economic crisis, the team developed real-time solutions as the economy evolved, and still achieved contract close earlier than the announced timetable

Corrs was also involved in developing the project’s commercial structure, key approval public hearings and applications, briefing government decision makers, evaluating and advising on procurement, and negotiating finalised project documentation. Corrs has continued to play a lead role advising the State through the construction delivery phase and the range of complex issues arising from the substantial delays to completion.

Brisbane Airport Link

Corrs Project team advised BrisConnections on all aspects of its successful bid, including negotiation of the project deed with the State, the design and construction sub-contract, and the operations and maintenance contract with the other project participants.

The project involved a $1.2 billion initial public offering of securities in BrisConnections and a $3 billion debt financing package.

Airport Link, a 6.7km multi-lane electronic free-flow toll road with dual 5.25km tunnels, will be Australia’s largest ever toll road infrastructure project by design and construction cost. The project is a priority transport infrastructure project for Brisbane and is designed to meet the needs of Brisbane’s rapidly rising population.

Corrs are the lead transaction lawyers for the BrisConnections consortium, which will deliver the Airport Link, Northern Busway and Airport Roundabout Upgrade projects. The Consortium, which includes Leighton Holdings, Macquarie Capital Group, Thiess and John Holland, was announced as preferred bidder for the project in May 2008.

Corrs advised on all aspects of its successful bid, including negotiation of the project deed with the State, the design and construction sub-contract, and the operations and maintenance contract with the other project participants.

The transaction was unusually complex. The design and construction sub-contract, for example, is the largest construction contract for an Australian Public-Private Partnership (PPP). It provides for the simultaneous design and construction of the publicly-financed and owned Northern Busway, the privately-financed and owned Airport Link toll road and publicly-financed and owned Airport Roundabout Upgrade.

Each type of work had its own challenges – the payment, environmental, approval, tenure and access regimes were different for each work package and had to be separately addressed in the subcontract.

New Zealand’s first major PPP venture gets prison off the ground

With the help of Corrs, a new NZ $840 million, 960-bed prison in Wiri, South Auckland is underway via New Zealand’s first major public-private partnership.

Corrs advised Fletcher Construction, the development and construction contractor, on all phases of the project’s procurement through to financial close and beyond.

Wiri Prison will be designed, financed, built, operated and maintained by the private sector and, unusually, includes the full provision of prison services it as well.

Gold Coast Rapid Transit

The Gold Coast Rapid Transit Project, a light rail linking key centres on the Gold Coast, is a landmark infrastructure project in Queensland. Corrs was involved from the outset of the project and advised the Queensland Government on all tax related issues associated with the project including income tax, GST, stamp duty, land tax and council rates.

The team worked closely with Corrs’ projects lawyers to help Government develop the required level of certainty needed in this critical area of the project.

Gold Coast University Hospital and Private Hospital - Queensland Health

The $1.76 billion, 750 bed Gold Coast University Hospital remains the largest public health infrastructure project in Australia. Corrs advised on all components of this major work, established to meet growing demand for complex care and health services in Queensland.

Working closely with Queensland Health and government representatives, Corrs advised on land acquisition, shared occupancy arrangements, public works legislation and is currently advising in relation to procurement matters for the provision of services.

Corrs advised on the relocation of the medical school for Griffith University to establish the complementary and adjacent $136 million Griffith Centre for Medicine and Oral Health. The firm is currently facilitating arrangements between Queensland Health and Healthscope to secure a co-located 350 bed private hospital.

Mundaring Water Treatment Project

Corrs was key adviser to the Water Corporation of Western Australia on the A$306 million Mundaring Water Treatment Plant (MWTP). This critical infrastructure asset ensures the long term supply of water to the agricultural and the goldfield areas of Western Australia.

The development was the Water Corporation’s first privately financed infrastructure project, awarded the ‘Government Partnership Excellence Award’ by Infrastructure Partners Australia.

Corrs advised on all aspects of the project, which contributes to the State’s wider objective of diversifying financing sources for the development of infrastructure in WA.

Pan Pharmaceuticals

Corrs acted for the Commonwealth of Australia in the defence of the Pan Pharmaceuticals class action. The class action was one of the largest claims ever brought against the Commonwealth and centred on alleged negligence by a Federal Regulator as well as alleged misfeasance in public office by individuals employed by the Regulator.

The legal principles were complex and their application to a Federal Regulator, and its staff, were largely untested in Australia. Corrs developed and implemented a strategy that led to a commercially successful settlement of the class action at a private out-of-court mediation without any admissions as to liability.

The class action, which comprised 162 members seeking economic loss and aggravated damages, stemmed from the corporate collapse of Pan Pharmaceuticals in April 2003 after the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) ordered a recall of its products and suspended its licence to manufacture therapeutic goods.

The Commonwealth was alleged to have been negligent because of the manner in which the TGA performed its regulatory functions, a number of TGA officers were alleged to have engaged in misfeasance in public office (a personal tort centred on willful misconduct, or reckless indifference, in the exercise of government powers) and the Commonwealth was alleged to have been vicariously liable for the officers conduct. The case was legally and factually complex, requiring management of Government obligations and individual sensitivities.

Corrs worked quickly and efficiently, ahead of a private out-of-court mediation, to limit the scope of the claims against the Commonwealth (successfully striking out large parts of the class action claim), to ensure that the remaining causes of action were appropriately particularised (given the extremely serious nature of the claim – especially as against the individual officers) and to successfully challenge, and have withdrawn, the key expert evidence that the class was seeking to rely upon.

The settlement reached at the mediation was without any admissions as to liability and involved the payment of $67.5m into a distribution fund from which payments could be made to each of the 162 class members. The settlement was formally approved by the Federal Court (a necessary legal requirement for any Federal Court class action settlement) and the approval judgment is one of the most recent judicial decisions in Australia on the factors that are required to be established to obtain Federal Court approval of a class action settlement.

The total quantum of the claims made by the 162 members of the class remains subject to confidentiality, although the Australian Financial Review noted the following in respect of the class action settlement (after it had been approved by the Federal Court):

“It [referring to the class action] was not a lay down misere. The pleadings of the lead applicant and two sample members show each claimed between $1 million and $8.5 million, suggesting the settlement was a small fraction of the total claimed.”

Queensland Department of Health - ICT

Corrs is a long term adviser to the Queensland Department of Health and Hospital and Health Services across the State. We assist in a wide range of strategic ICT procurement projects including software licensing and services, hardware acquisition and maintenance, systems implementations, data hosting and managed services.

Corrs has worked with the Department of Health and Hospital and Health Services to procure a number of critical ICT systems, including a central financial management system, a clinical costing system, a picture archiving and communications and medical imaging transfer system, a pharmaceuticals robotics system, a maternal and foetal medicine information system, an emergency and operating room information system, intensive care unit clinical information system, food services information system, remote diagnostic units and medical equipment support services.

These ICT systems are essential to the State’s ability to effectively coordinate and provide health services across Queensland.

Our work with the Department of Health and Hospital and Health Services in the ICT contracts area extends to contract and risk management, disputes, termination, transition out arrangements and compliance with the Queensland Government procurement framework.

Queensland Schools Project

Corrs supports the Queensland Government (Projects Queensland) to engage the private sector to deliver 10 new state schools across rapidly developing areas in South East Queensland.

First schools are set for delivery in 2015. Corrs aids government decision-making by providing experienced insight into the management of a complex consortium of private companies being contracted by the state to design, construct, commission, finance and maintain the new schools. During the project’s procurement and delivery phases Corrs advises on all major issues, including PPP structure, contractual issues and native title issues.

Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital & Queensland Children’s Hospital

Corrs advises Queensland Health during the construction phase of a major 738 bed Public Hospital in Kawana, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The precinct meets increased health care and health education needs, incorporating a cooperative medical research facility, a health campus and adjacent retail and residential developments.

The Corrs’ team has also advised on contractual, employment and regulatory issues arising out of the contestability review for the contracted delivery of services to the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital and Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Translational Research Institute (TRI) Project

The TRI Project brings together four of the country’s pinnacle research institutions in a ground-breaking R&D collaboration in biopharmaceuticals treatments.

With leading experience in health and education joint ventures, Corrs was key legal adviser for Queensland Health for the project, a joint initiative between Queensland Health, The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and the Mater Medical Research Institute.

Corrs advised the Queensland Government on all elements of its shareholder agreement as well as negotiating tenure, funding and construction arrangements. The project incorporated an adjacent biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility, built in partnership between the Queensland Government owned BioPharmaceuticals Australia and DSM Biologics.

Victorian Schools PPP

The Victorian Schools Public Private Partnership (PPP) was the first undertaken in the State’s education sector. Under the arrangement the Victorian Government engaged the private sector to deliver 11 new schools which now operate in growth areas of Melbourne. Corrs worked closely with the Victorian Government on all aspects of the project including bidding and bid evaluation, contract development, contract negotiation and the provision of general legal and commercial advice.

Water Corporation of Australia - IT outsourcing

For more than 15 years Corrs has provided key strategic and legal advice around IT outsourcing for The Water Corporation of Western Australia, one of the country’s largest utilities.

The Water Corporation has outsourced its Information Technology function since 1996 and now operates under a selective sourcing model which separates infrastructure and applications service providers.

Corrs advises on all aspects of outsourcing including drafting of contracts, normalisation of bids, negotiation of terms with multiple third party suppliers and implementation.

Our Thinking

How Australia is combatting worker exploitation

Three State Inquiries over the last 12 months into labour hire point to widespread exploitation. The time has come for a regulatory response to protect vulnerable workers.

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation: solid foundations or a house of cards?

A new Budget initiative aims to increase dramatically the supply of affordable housing for lower income Australians by linking the scale and tenor of the debt capital markets with the community housing sector.

Playing catch up on Energy Security

How do we manage the balance between energy security and long-term economic development?

We’re all in this together: some of us more than others

Hamburg shines further light on the divide in global politics.

Tendering with the Commonwealth Government: what does the proposed new procurement legislation mean for you?

Proposed Commonwealth legislation will give prospective suppliers the right to compensation and injunctions for breaches of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017: A new era of regulation in Australia

Australia’s chemical industry is about to undergo widespread reform. Most notably the changes include the first move away from cosmetics testing on animals.

Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017: A new era of regulation in Australia

Australia’s chemical industry is about to undergo widespread reform. Most notably the changes include the first move away from cosmetics testing on animals.

Queensland Supreme Court dismisses challenge to differential rate

A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Queensland has reaffirmed the broad power of local governments to levy differential general rates.

Forget Terminator: Cyborgs have rights too (Part Two)

In the second of our two-part look at cyborg technology, we consider how Australia might navigate the potential social and legal tensions arising from human and machine integration.

Forget Terminator: Cyborgs have rights too (Part One)

Cyborgs are no longer a sci-fi curiosity. In the first of our two-part look at this technology, we consider how Australia might navigate surveillance and privacy issues that will inevitably arise.

Laying the foundations: a brighter global future

Governments talk a lot about infrastructure but are slow to act. So, how do we ensure infrastructure meets the world’s future challenges?

Victoria’s Value Creation and Capture Framework: A first step in the right direction

Victoria’s Value Creation and Capture Framework should be seen as the start of the journey, not the final destination.

What’s Next for Market-led Proposals In Australia?

Governments face challenges in ensuring their MLP policies are accountable, transparent and represent value for money.

Preparing for life with robots: How will they be regulated in Australia?

As robots become more complex, capable and autonomous, there are serious liability, safety and privacy issues to address. How should Australia regulate these issues?

A new focus on genetically modified organisms in Queensland: changes to gene technology laws aim for consistency and flexibility

How have Queensland’s gene technology laws changed?

The future of correction centres – does virtual reality have a place?

Augmented and virtual reality technology is fast becoming more pervasive and affordable. But what does it offer for correctional services?

The Drone Age: not even the sky is the limit for this changing regulatory landscape

The regulatory framework for drones is complex and is under review. Where to next for these flights of fancy?

Mandatory data breach notification: how will the new laws in Australia impact your business?

The new mandatory data breach notification laws in Australia are likely to take effect in the next 12 months. So, it’s time for organisations to start preparing.

The cost of an inaccurate planning certificate

Councils can be held liable for providing misleading planning information – even if an entity did not request that guidance.

Disrupting procurement: the process contract and other avenues

Commonwealth legislation is being proposed to allow judicial review for government procurement decisions. What will this mean for the tender process?

Review of Queensland Privacy and Right to Information Legislation

Do Queensland’s Privacy and Right to Information laws need to change? Government agencies and service providers can have their say – but they’ll need to move quickly.

Time to speak up: improve access and drive reform for public hospitals

A look at the potential public sector health reform that lies ahead in 2017.

Opportunities hiding amongst the issues in youth detention

How can service delivery in youth detention be improved to achieve better outcomes including reduced recidivism?

Will a focus on ‘economic benefit’ in new government rules affect the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement?

What does ‘economic benefit’ really mean in the government’s new Commonwealth Procurement Rules?

Public Health Reform: What does the future look like for patients?

The Productivity Commission continues its extensive consultation as part of public health reform, focusing on user oriented information and government stewardship.

A Trump Administration is a reality. So, now what?

We can still make intelligent decisions despite US policy under Donald Trump being so unclear.

Delivering Impact for the Asia Pacific: Challenges for Trade and Investment

On 21 October 2016, Corrs Partner and CEO John W.H. Denton AO participated in a panel discussion at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Conference, Asia-Pacific: Transforming the Future. John is also the First Vice Chairman of the ICC.

Queensland Planning and Environment Court provides guidance on when historical development approval conditions attach to land

A recent decision by the Queensland Planning and Environment Court has provided much-needed guidance on the vexed issue of when, and how, development conditions attach to land.

Why clinical excellence is not enough: The age of patient experience

Public Hospitals can actually shape reform amid increased competition, contestability and user choice.

Why Biosecurity is now a planning, construction and procurement matter

Local governments, developers and contractors in South-East Queensland need to be aware of how the recently commenced Biosecurity Act 2014 has affected the way they should deal with pest issues and manage construction sites.

Can an enforcement notice be challenged during a prosecution?

Two recent decisions by the District Court and the Court of Appeal have helped to clarify whether a recipient of an enforcement notice has the right to challenge the validity of that notice at trial in Queensland.

Clearer skies for drone regulation in Australia

In response to growing interest in the commercial use of drones or remotely piloted aircrafts in a range of industries in Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has developed new regulations that will take effect from 29 September 2016.

Outcomes Focus: Environmental Impact Bonds are all about results

There is an alternative to Green Bonds – Environmental Impact Bonds tie financial returns to the success of a green project.

Corrs CEO and ICC First Vice Chairman John W. H. Denton AO addresses B20 Summit in Hangzhou, China

Corrs CEO John Denton this week reinforced the importance of the international business community playing a part in shaping the G20 agenda ahead of the 2016 summit in Hangzhou.

Financial inclusion: what “social licence” means for Australia’s big banks

Big profits bring big responsibilities. So what does a social licence really mean for our banking industry?

Leaving nothing to the imagination

Discriminatory practices are outpacing liberalisation efforts by more than two-to-one around the globe. As world leaders gather for g20 in Hangzhou, Corrs CEO John Denton asks what role can business play in this landscape?

WA government announces proposed measures to protect subcontractors

Following calls in the lead up to the March 2017 state election to “give small businesses a fair go”, the WA government has announced that it will be implementing measures to provide greater protections to subcontractors.

Doubling Australia’s trade with China will take a bold approach

Corrs CEO John Denton says this week’s Partnership for Change Report can maximise opportunities between Australia and China for the long term.

Hung or hung out to dry? What fewer than 76 seats could mean for Australian business

How would a minority government address the key issues for business? Ask Corrs CEO John Denton and Partner Andrew Lumsden.

Breaking Brexit Down: So what happens now? (VIDEO)

Corrs’ Breaking Brexit Down video series considers how the UK’s momentous decision will affect your business. Over the coming weeks we’ll bring you insight from Corrs Partners who’ll examine diverse areas ranging from international arbitration throug

Challenging unlawful local government rates: What are the options for landowners?

WIth the end of the financial year approaching, Queensland’s local governments are finalising their 2016/2017 budgets, including setting rates for land. Landowners should be aware of their options for challenging unlawful rates.

So what does Brexit really mean for Australia?

One thing seems certain following Brexit: economic uncertainty. But how long will it last and how will Australia be affected? Corrs’ CEO John Denton, Senior Adviser, International Business Engagement Peter Grey and Special Counsel James Shirbin consi

When the rubber hits the road: Opportunities and challenges for Australia’s first rubber-tyred train system

Rapid transit metros using trains with a rubber-tyred guided system could soon be on the cards for Australian cities.

Trump, Brexit and Protectionism: Navigating cross-border disputes and international arbitration in a more connected world

The rise in global protectionism will lead to more disputes in an increasingly connected world. As trust is eroded, businesses must adopt active mitigation strategies to navigate the risks of global trade and commerce.

The Brexit Vote: Potential implications for Australian businesses

This month’s referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership to the European Union – and the prospect it raises of a British exit (or “Brexit”) from the EU – has understandably attracted much attention worldwide.

Why trade matters: If jade is not carved, it doesn’t turn into jewellery 笑一笑,十年少

The powerful opportunities presented by Australia’s trade agreements.

Clean energy: ARENA’s grant funding and the new Clean Energy Innovation Fund

On 23 March 2016, the Turnbull Government announced the establishment of a $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF) to provide debt and equity funding for clean energy projects.

Executive officers - be warned – your right to silence under the Environmental Protection Act has been removed

Recent amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, assented to on 27 April 2016, now compel an individual to answer a question put to them under s476 of the Act even if answering might tend to incriminate the individual.

Public Stadium projects – can they be made into economic champions or will they always be wooden spooners?

Developing stadiums has numerous social and economic benefits that can be long-term and wide-ranging. But how can stadiums be developed given the current uncertainty of funding?

The Safeguard Mechanism commences on 1 July 2016: what does it mean for business?

The Safeguard Mechanism is the final, critical component of the Emissions Reduction Fund, the centrepiece of the current Government’s climate change and emissions reduction policy.

Making a political donation for the 2016 Federal Election: A quick refresher on the key issues for business

With the Budget announced and the 2016 Federal Election imminent it is the ideal time for business to refresh their knowledge on Commonwealth political donation laws.

Will the year of the fire monkey burn corporate Australia’s ambitions in 2016?

Our key predictions on what Australia can expect from the Chinese year of the fire monkey.

Smart Cities: Making Australian Precinct Energy Networks a Reality

In this second article of our Smart Cities series, we look at how technologies that combine heating, cooling and electricity can transform Australia’s urban energy networks.

Court of Appeal clarifies when development application material can be used in interpreting a development approval

A recent decision of the Queensland Court of Appeal has clarified when a development application can be referred to in order to resolve uncertainty around the scope of a development approval.

Small business, consumer protection, agriculture and excessive credit card surcharges: the ACCC’s enforcement priorities for 2016

On 23 February 2016, Rod Sims launched the 2016 ACCC Compliance and Enforcement Policy. The ACCC has identified new enforcement priorities that include enforcement actions against large businesses, consumer guarantees and agriculture.

The challenge of building Australia’s gateway to the Indo-Pacific

The development of Northern Australia is attracting renewed investor interest and government support. What are the key challenges to developing Australia’s northern frontier?

New Australian Biomedical Translation Fund: Crossing the “Valley of Death” from Research to Market

The new $250 million fund will invest in promising biomedical discoveries and accelerate their commercialisation.

High Court allows agreed civil penalty submissions with regulators

The High Court has set aside the Full Court decision and reinstates in excess of twenty years of authorities relating to the ability of parties that are the subject of civil prosecutions to make joint submissions about the appropriate pecuniary penal

The North's time has come: Why Business should be looking at Northern Australia for new opportunities

Food security concerns in Asia and the Middle East will drive demand for what the north can produce.

5 key actions your business can take to manage data breach risk

There are a variety of reasons why you should take data breach risk management seriously, not the least of which is the Federal Government’s recent draft bill to introduce mandatory data breach notification requirements.

Tax incentives to stimulate the “Ideas Boom”

Will the proposed tax incentives be effective in realising the Government’s Innovation Agenda?

Ideas boom full steam ahead - The Australian Government commits over $1 billion to science and innovation

The key measures that are front and centre of the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

General Counsels’ top priority for 2016: Managing cyber security

Data security is top of the “worry” list for general counsel and directors.

What it takes to be a sustainable, smart city: Urban innovation

How are cities responding to issues of congestion, aging infrastructure and pollution?

Regional China rises: Australian businesses should venture beyond Shanghai and Shenzhen to ride the Project of the Century

The central Chinese city of Xi’an offers a wealth of business opportunity.

Local governments will have more confidence in differential rating after new Court decision

A decision of Queensland’s Supreme Court dismissing a landowner’s challenge to a differential rate has important implications for local governments and ratepayers.

The WTO Agreement on Government Procurement: A world of opportunity or a threat to local business?

Australian businesses will have legally-binding access to government procurement markets worth some USD1.7 trillion if Australia accedes to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.

Liquidated damages post Andrews - A double-edged sword

New guidance on the potential for liquidated damages clauses to be struck out as penalties.

Email negotiations - Beware, you might already be bound!

Courts are ruling that email negotiations create binding contracts and businesses are finding themselves caught.

A stitch in time saves nine: How excluding consequential loss could save you millions

Now is the time to ensure consequential loss is excluded from your contracts.

What Queensland’s new government will mean for the resources sector

Tough market conditions means government policy will be increasingly critical to the industry.

Political donations for the March 2015 New South Wales State Election: Know the rules before digging deep

What you should know before making a political donation in NSW.

School chaplaincy decision threatens Commonwealth funding of local government

Local government programs may be left high and dry.

Want to sell your idea to Government? An unsolicited proposal could be your answer

Unsolicited proposals are a means by which the private sector can propose new ideas to the State to deliver capital requirements outside normal procurement processes.

Opportunity for junior explorers as Queensland Government releases land for petroleum and gas exploration via a non-cash competitive tender

The Queensland Government has announced that six parcels of land have been released for petroleum and gas exploration through a non-cash competitive tender.

Yeats Consulting Pty Ltd v Logan City Council

Yeats Consulting Pty Ltd v Logan City Council: When a Chief Executive Officer of a local government personally makes a decision for the purposes of establishing appeal rights.

Proposed changes to BASIX targets

In December 2013, the NSW Government announced proposed changes to Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) targets.

The “finalised” CSG reforms: What it means for the CSG and agricultural industries

On 28 January 2014, the NSW Government announced that it “has finalised landmark” coal seam gas reforms which aim to safeguard homes and high quality farmland in NSW.

The role of weighting when relying on “far from perfect” comparable sales

Recently, the NSW Land and Environment Court handed down its decision in Marrickville Council v Sydney Water Corporation [2013] NSWLEC 222.

Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper

On 20 December 2013, the Australian Government released the Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper, inviting public comment and written submissions until 21 February 2014.

Expanded categories of exempt and complying development

More development in NSW is to be code assessed or exempt from requiring approval, as the categories of exempt and complying development have been expanded through amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy.

CSG explorer convicted and fined: The first prosecution for breaches of conditions of an exploration licence

On 10 January 2014, the NSW Land and Environment Court convicted Santos NSW Pty Ltdof four offences for failing, without reasonable excuse, to comply with conditions of its petroleum exploration licence.

Impact of council de-amalgamation on development applications and legal proceedings - Practical advice

The de-amalgamation process will invariably present some practical challenges for councils. Two key issues are the impact of de-amalgamation on development applications and legal proceedings.

State Planning Policy 2 December 2013

The 2nd of December 2013 is a big day in Queensland for State planning.

The standard required of a written statement of reasons

The High Court of Australia recently considered the standard required of a written statement of reasons in making a statutory decision.

Infrastructure in Indonesia: Building the framework for effective PPPs

What needs to be done for public private partnerships to succeed in Indonesia?

Employment and industrial relations implications arising out of Queensland’s contestability reforms

The scene is set in Queensland for greater competition in public health services.

Buzzacott v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities [2013] FCAFC 111

The Full Court of the Federal Court recently handed down its decision in Buzzacott v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

Save Little Beach Manly Foreshore Incorporated v Manly Council [2013] NSWLEC 155

Save Little Manly Beach Foreshore Incorporated brought judicial review proceedings against Manly Council to prevent Council from disposing of its land on the Little Manly Beach foreshore.

Queensland’s de-amalgamating councils: Employment issues to consider

On 1 January 2014 up to 1,315 employees will transfer from continuing to new local governments.

Impact of de-amalgamation on contracts - How will it work?

The new local governments of Douglas, Livingstone, Noosa and Mareeba (and their respective “new local government areas”) will come into existence on 1 January 2014.

Quick guide to establishing a presence in Indonesia

Indonesia is a vast emerging market. What are the choices for establishing a presence there?

Queensland’s de-amalgamating councils: Making the most of a fresh start

Four local councils in Queensland are separating from their regional councils following a March referendum in which their communities overwhelmingly voted for de-amalgamation.

Outsourcing, common sense and good faith - Some lessons from a hospital services outsource

Don’t let poor cooperation and a confrontational attitude wreck your outsourcing relationship.

Australia-Indonesia: Time for a closer future

Indonesia’s potential is vast and now is the time for genuine engagement.

Striking the balance: Financing PPPs with government contributions

How can governments maximise cost savings while retaining the risk transfer and performance incentives associated with private finance?

Constitutional recognition of local government a much-needed reform

Local governments must be recognised in the Constitution to ensure their ongoing financial security. But don’t bet on a successful referendum.

Will a single state planning policy change anything in Queensland?

Queensland’s new state planning policy promises simplicity, but can it deliver?

Can the NSW planning system change its spots?

The NSW Government has released the White Paper on its proposed new planning system.

Productivity Commission review a ray of hope for major projects

Could reform be on the way for Australia’s infamous major projects approval regime?

New environmental assessment reforms are controversial, but ultimately sensible

Industry and environmental groups are polarised over reforms to streamline approvals for large projects. Who’s right?

Joint ventures are a smart way for local governments to beat funding constraints

Queensland local governments have an ace up their sleeve when it comes to raising funds for critical infrastructure.

The Local Government and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012

The Local Government and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 was introduced by the Minister for Local Government on 13 September 2012.

Social benefit bonds: Make a difference and a profit

Can a program to reduce the number of children in foster care ever be an appealing investment proposition for the private sector? The NSW government thinks so.

NSW Planning Reforms: Green Paper - Significant reform or more of the same?

The NSW Government’s Green Paper, ‘A new planning system for NSW’ released on 14 July 2012 lays out a blueprint for fundamental planning reform in NSW.

Greentape Reduction Bill: Will it strip local governments’ power to regulate environmental impacts?

Queensland’s Greentape Reduction Bill may make it more difficult for local governments to regulate environmental impacts.

Contractor beware: ICT contracting for PPPs

Governments are increasingly looking to public private partnerships to solve the ever growing demand for new hospitals in Australia.

Strict interpretation of Local Government Act will lead to practical difficulties for local government prosecutions - Recent important Court of Appeal Decision

This In Brief examines the recent case of Ipswich City Council v Dixonbuild [2012] QCA 98.

Overhaul of planning legislation in NSW

The NSW State Government is undertaking the most significant overhaul of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (NSW) since its introduction in 1979.

Solving the infrastructure dilemma - It’s all about sharing

Australia’s pressing need for infrastructure is well known. Government has less money and private enterprise has less appetite for risk. With these two factors a certainty, infrastructure experts at Corrs Chambers Westgarth agree change must come.

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