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Private sector involvement in the financing, delivery and operation of public infrastructure is nothing new; it is, however, constantly evolving. The public appetite for social and economic infrastructure is insatiable, yet must constantly be tempered by economic constraints. Alongside the increasingly sophisticated and internationalised market for funding and technical capacity, there has been in recent years a renewed focus upon the policy bases for public private partnerships (PPPs) by governments and the broader community. Navigating all this in its legal context is one of the great ongoing challenges faced by the construction industry and its legal advisers. This subject, taught by two leaders in the field who bring a wealth of experience to the classroom, is designed to equip students to respond to this challenge.
Principal topics include:
- Historical perspectives on private involvement in the delivery of public infrastructure, how it has changed over time and lessons learnt
- Approaches to the categorising of PPP projects, including the broad distinction between ‘economic’ and ‘social’ infrastructure
- The dynamics of financing versus the fiscal responsibility of repayments and funding
- Features specific to the structuring and procurement of projects within each of these categories, including fundamental aspects such as the need to secure an income stream in relation to economic infrastructure and the relevance of the distinction, in relation to social infrastructure, between delivery of physical infrastructure and delivery of services
- Features specific to particular sectors within each of these categories (eg toll roads, power stations, water, health care, education and corrections)
- The various policy frameworks in place in Australia (and leading international agencies) for evaluation and engagement of private sector involvement in public infrastructure delivery
- Drivers that underpin the structuring, negotiation and delivery of PPP projects, including financing, probity and value for money (including public sector comparator mechanisms), competition, tax (including issues derived from Australia‘s federal structure as opposed to unitary systems in other countries) and construction risk.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of means of private-sector involvement in the procurement of public-sector infrastructure projects
- Have enhanced their expert and specialised cognitive and technical skills required to manage and advise upon procurement in the construction industry
- Be familiar with, be able to critically reflect on, and be confident in working across, the interaction between the policy, technical, commercial and legal aspects of construction procurement
- Be able to demonstrate the research and communication skills required to independently investigate, examine and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to procurement of public-sector infrastructure projects.
Last updated: 2 April 2020