Coherent utility

Programmed v CILSLPB [2021] WASCA 208

What did ‘site’ mean in the definition of ‘construction industry’ in long service leave legislation?8  Martin J drew attention to the assumption that all words are assumed to have meaning and affect.  This, he described (at [63]) as legislative words being ‘afforded some measure of coherent utility’9.

Consistent with the statutory purpose, ‘site’ meant where work was done rather than a ‘construction site’ as ordinarily understood.  The judge (at [148-157]) rejected that the label ‘construction industry’ could influence what ‘site’ meant, and that older High Court authority ‘ought no longer be followed or applied’10.  Not all courts see it this way, however11.

This principle is from Episode 80 of interpretation NOW!


8 s 3(1)(a) Construction Industry Portable Paid Long Service Leave Act 1985.

9 Baume (1905) 2 CLR 405 (at 414), Project Blue Sky [1998] HCA 28 (at [71]).

10 Shin Kobe [1994] HCA 54 (at [26]), cf WZAPN [2015] HCA 22 (at [48]).

11 Auctus [2021] FCAFC 39 (at [59-69]), Episodes 1, 46, 61, 64 & 71.