Property & Projects
I work with: clients include AusNet, Boom Logistics, Pariter (a division of Plenary Group), Fire Rescue Victoria, BlueScope, InPlace Living, Regis Aged Care, Austin Health, Australian Unity, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Crema Constructions, Maeil Dairies.
Major matters I’ve worked on: we recently assisted AusNet finalise a deal where it will connect Australia’s largest wind farm, the Golden Plains Wind Farm, to the electricity grid and then own and operate the relevant transmission assets. That was a real stand-out for me for a number of reasons. There were a lot of moving parts (upstream agreements with the developers and AEMO and downstream agreements with contractors and suppliers) and tight deadlines which meant we were working really closely and collaboratively with the client – so we built some really strong relationships during the process, which always makes it more rewarding. It was also a project that AusNet had been working on for several years and meant a lot to a lot of people – so it was really satisfying to be part of the team that helped finalise it all.
Trends in my area: The main issue over the past 24 months or so has been the rising cost of construction inputs. Costs or, at least, the rate at which costs are increasing seem to have stabilised but we are now maybe seeing the fallout of those increasing costs with solvency issues in the contracting chain becoming the latest issue that the industry is grappling with.
The other general trend we are seeing, and it probably is a result of contractors having had a relatively tough time through COVID, is that contractors are being more conservative and judicious with the risks they are willing to accept. Before COVID, contracts tended to heavily shift risk to the contractor but we are now seeing a little more balance and a willingness by contractors to push back on unreasonably onerous allocation of risk.
I predict the next big thing will be: the transition to renewable energy will gather additional momentum now that there seems to be some stability in terms of climate policy at a federal level and a plan to modernise the electricity grid. It will be really interesting to see how the offshore wind market develops in Australia and the extent to which Australia can export its renewable energy resources to the world.
Outside work you’ll find me: I enjoy travelling to new places, eating good food and being an enthusiastic (yet average) cyclist (nature seems to be taking its course and I’m turning into the classic MAMIL). For six months of the year, I demonstrate my resilience by carrying the burden of supporting the Carlton Football Club.
If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be: a coffee farmer.
View Ben's CV