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Firms prepare for PPP upsurge

Firms prepare for PPP upsurge

Law firms are weighing up the potential ramifications of the Queensland government's move to deliver the Sunshine Coast hospital through a PPP.

LAW firms are weighing up the potential ramifications of the Queensland state government's move to deliver the Sunshine Coast hospital through a Public Private Partnership.

Will the government's plan for the hospital, a first for Queensland, spark a resurgence of Australian PPPs?

Allens Arthur Robinson partner Leighton O'Brien, a partner in the projects group, told Boardroom Radio that projects like the Sunshine Coast hospital have been on the books, or mooted by governments for some time.

"Hospitals do lend themselves to PPP delivery, given the value for money aspects that can be driven by combining operation and maintenance, financing and construction, in one package," O'Brien said.

"I am not sure there has been a resurgence as such. PPPs have been around for some time."

But O'Brien acknowledges many did believe the PPP model was under threat in Australia.

"It was obviously a great concern as a result of the advent GFC in combination with the insolvency of a number of the toll roads like Lane Cove and Cross City [in New South Wales].

"But certainly since the Victorian desalination plant … the view here in the market is that PPPs are alive and well and certainly available for governments to use for appropriate projects," he said.

The Victorian desalination plant was widely recognised as a leading example of public and private sector collaboration in infrastructure projects, law firm Clayton Utz said in March last year.

But rather than Queensland's latest PPP ambitions with the Sunshine Coast Hospital being a sign of a PPP resurgence, Allens' O'Brien argues the latest government change in New South Wales is likely to ignite a change.

"The prospect of PPPs being used here to bring [forward] fairly quickly a number of projects is a fairly exciting development," he said.

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