Solving the infrastructure dilemma - It’s all about sharing

27 September 2011
John Walter

Australia’s pressing need for infrastructure is well known. We lag the rest of the world in key areas such as road and rail transport and there’s an urgent need for new ports, cleaner power plants and more modern hospitals and schools.

With pressure on their budgets, governments here and overseas have drawn increasingly on the private sector to develop, operate and finance public infrastructure in the form of PPPs. Views differ on the value and purpose of PPPs, with the role of the private sector hotly debated.

Government has less money and private enterprise has less appetite for risk. With these two factors a certainty, infrastructure experts at Corrs Chambers Westgarth agree change must come.

At the heart of government thinking here and overseas is how to continue to meet the infrastructure needs of growing populations without taking budgets (further) into the red.

While much of the debate centres on financing of infrastructure projects, John Walter says this isn’t the main game. “For governments, the focus is on building the right infrastructure that will deliver high quality services efficiently to their communities - health, education, transport, water, electricity, gas and so on.

“What’s undeniable is that governments aren’t in a position to go it alone. Their budget constraints mean they need to continue to engage with the private sector to deliver.”

This article originally appeared in Australasian Legal Business (issue 8.11, pg.46-49). Click the 'Article PDF' link above to download the full article.

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John Walter

Partner. Melbourne
+61 3 9672 3501