08 Jun 2011

Better management of disputes crucial for infrastructure delivery

Sydney, 8 June 2011: Infrastructure delivery is becoming an increasingly critical issue for all governments in Australia, so it is imperative that they explore as many innovative mechanisms to deliver their infrastructure commitments.

Chairing the recent Clayton Utz 'Dispute Resolution Boards on Major Projects' panel session, Clayton Utz's head of construction and major projects, Professor Doug Jones AM, told attendees that Dispute Resolution Boards (DRB) are uniquely placed to assist the incoming New South Wales Government to deliver on its commitment of addressing the State's infrastructure deficit.

A DRB is established at the start of the project, meeting regularly to proactively deal with any potential issues before they arise. Whilst DRBs have been in existence since 1987, 80% of all known DRB contracts in Australia and New Zealand have occurred in the last eight years. As yet, none of the disputes arising during the course of the project have been referred to the courts, highlighting why DRBs are an essential dispute avoidance mechanism.

"DRBs are of critical importance to large-scale and high-profile government projects, and will assist to deliver projects on time and on budget," said Professor Jones.

Commenting on the NSW Government's commitment to address the State's infrastructure needs Professor Jones said: "It is obvious from the seminar's strong attendance that pursuing innovative and best practice mechanisms to deliver much needed infrastructure needs on budget and on time is a high priority for the O'Farrell Government.

"Clayton Utz is equally committed to providing innovative, cost-effective and timely results, which is why we're promoting the use of DRBs in the infrastructure sector," said Professor Jones.

The panel - which addressed approximately 100 contractors and government representatives - also included Ian Payne (Sydney Water Corporation), Ron Finlay (Dispute Resolution Board Australasia) and David Hudson (Leighton Holdings).

The panel session formed part of Clayton Utz's Government Briefing series.

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