David Pearce (LinkedIn profile) notes that the Queensland Government has enacted the Building Queensland Act 2015 (Qld) so there's only one step remaining before Building Queensland (BQ) commences independent operation - proclamation.

Background

The State Government established BQ following its election on 31 January 2015. As an interim arrangement, BQ has been operating as an administrative body under the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning. BQ has begun its role by leading the development of business cases for projects such as Cross River Rail and theTrain Control System Upgrade.

The Building Queensland Bill 2015 (Qld) (Bill) was introduced into Queensland Parliament on 19 May 2015. The Bill was amended following consideration by the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources committee.

key change is that BQ will be required to publish key details of its activities, including its infrastructure pipeline and a summary of the projects with which it is assisting on its website.

The Act was passed on 6 November 2015, and will commence on a date to be fixed by proclamation.

BQ's eight-member board has also recently been appointed and BQ has advised that it is on track for formal establishment in early December 2015.

Key differences between the Bill and Act

Key changes to the Act as passed are:

Greater clarity about preliminary involvement

BQ may assist a government agency in the 'preliminary preparation' of an infrastructure proposal (before the development of a business case) if the expected capital cost of the project or net present value of the financial commitment is likely to be greater than $50 million or it is directed by the Minister.

Increased transparency and openness

BQ will be required to publish on its website:

  • a summary of each infrastructure proposal that it has assisted with in the 'preliminary preparation' phase as soon as practicable after the summary is given to the Minister;
  • the infrastructure pipeline document, and each update to the document, within 28 days after giving the document or update to the Minister; and
  • Ministerial directions given to Building Queensland within 28 days after receiving the direction.

Importantly, BQ must exclude confidential information from publication.

Public accountability and scrutiny of board members

  • If a board member is convicted of an indictable offence during the term of the member’s appointment, the board member must disclose the conviction to the Minister.
  • To decide if a person is disqualified from becoming, or continuing as an appointed board member, the Minister may request a criminal history report from the police commissioner, but only with the consent of the board member.