Government news and reforms

Building and Construction Industry Code of Conduct 

On 5 December 2016, the WA Building and Construction Code of Conduct 2016 for contractors working on WA Government construction projects was announced. The Code applies from 1 January 2017 and has been developed to ensure that building contractors conduct themselves in a reputable, fair, safe and responsible manner particularly on government funded construction projects. More information about the Code is available on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.

Greater protection measures announced for subcontractors

As of 30 September 2016 Project Bank Accounts on Building Management and Works construction projects valued between $1.5 million and $100 million is now mandatory. A Code of Conduct for contractors working on State Government construction projects has also been developed.

Further information can be located on the Government of Western Australia media statement page.

Unfair contract terms

A law protecting small businesses from unfair contract terms in standard form contracts applies to contracts entered into or renewed on or after 12 November 2016, where:

  • it is for the supply of goods or services or the sale or grant of interest in land
  • at least one of the businesses employs less than 20 people
  • the price of the contract is no more than $300,000 or $1 million if the contract is for more than 12 months.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety will enforce this law.

Examples of terms that may be unfair include:

  • terms that enable one party (but not another) to avoid or limit their obligations under the contract
  • terms that enable one party (but not another) to terminate the contract
  • terms that penalise one party (but not another) for breaching or terminating the contract
  • terms that enable one party (but not another) to vary the terms of the contract.

Further details can be found on the ACCC website.

Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) business guide

The Australian Financial Security Authority has a business guide to assist small businesses understand the PPSR and the practical steps they can take to protect their property.

The PPSR guide is relevant if you:

  • hire, rent or lease out goods
  • sell goods on retention of title terms
  • buy or sell valuable second-hands goods or assets
  • want to raise finance using stock or other assets as collateral
  • work as an adviser to clients who conduct these activities.

For more information download the PPSR business guide.