Last week Australia’s federal government introduced new National PPP Guidelines in a bid to synchronise the use of PPP across all states. Though the move has been widely applauded, PPP players are still unsure about the small print.
Tom Roche, from Babcock & Brown, said: "The standardisation is mainly aimed at the headline issues and there will inevitably be differences from state to state and territory to territory – in many instances due to differences in policy." He added that though he applauded the federal government’s efforts, "We are keen for them to start to drill down more into the detail to standardise the approaches."
Roger Black, head of national infrastructure at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, agreed saying, "The guidelines themselves are not sufficient to avoid the continuation of state-based differences because they are not mandatory." He said that not there was little detail on the value for money tests, "So those states that are reluctant to embrace the PPP concept will have the option to continue to be lukewarm."
However Mark Birrell, chairman of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, says the new guidelines were a "landmark development" for Australia’s PPP market. He said that as well as making the market attractive to international investors it would reduce both the cost and time of major procurements. He told the PPP Bulletin: "The delivery of the new procurement framework is timely. Estimates of the infrastructure investment task over the decade range as high as $800bn.
"With globally sized projects coming to market, it is prudent that Australia has moved to deliver a consistent, transparent process to encourage significant investment."