The outlook for public private partnerships (PPPs) in Australia is strong as state governments look to get more infrastructure projects to market, according to an infrastructure and construction lawyer.
According to Allens Arthur Robinson partner Emma Warren, PPP projects such as the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, Sydney Convention Centre and Bendigo Hospital were helping to drive the resurgence in PPP projects.
"The outlook for the next 12 months is very positive," said Warren. "PPPs have become an increasingly popular way for Australian governments to procure the development of major social and economic infrastructure projects in a way that produces innovation and value for money, while allocating project risks efficiently and effectively."
The fact that investor confidence is weathering the economic storm clouds is also evidenced by the June 2011 issue of Deloitte Access Economics Investment Monitor which shows that Australia's investment agenda, both in terms of the value of projects underway and the value of those in the pipeline, has rarely looked better.
According to the Investment Monitor, the value of projects has lifted by 8.4 per cent over the past three months to $831.7 billion.
The value of definite projects (those classed as under construction or due to commence soon) stands at $357.4 billion - a $70 billion increase on the value recorded in the March quarter.
While Deloitte says that much of the growth has to do with the NBN project, a significant investment agenda for projects is also seen in infrastructure such as transport, ports, energy, water and telecommunications.
Other additions to the project list have been led by LNG developments such as the construction of the Santos-led $16.2 billion LNG facility in Queensland and Shell's $8.9 billion Prelude LNG project in Western Australia, which is due to start later this year.
According to Deloitte, Western Australia and Queensland account for 54 per cent of the value of projects in the Investment Monitor database, while in other states, infrastructure agendas are "solid".
Australia's law firms are also benefitting from the strength of investment, with the latest Infrastructure Journal tables for 2011 seeing Allens Arthur Robinson, Clayton Utz and Freehills sit atop the global table for legal advisers in PPP work, with a 17 per cent market share.
Allens' ranking was due to its involvement in two of the largest PPPs in Australian history - the New Royal Adelaide Hospital PPP and the Department of Defence's Single Living Environment and Accommodation Precinct (LEAP) Phase 2 PPP.
Earlier this month, three firms acted in a $140 million PPP for the financing of a new QEII medical centre car parking project in Western Australia.
Gilbert + Tobin advised ANZ and Investec on the deal, which is one of the first PPPs in the West Australian market in recent times. The deal reached financial close in just over one month after the consortium was announced, with Freehills advising Capella Parking and Corrs Chambers Westgarth acting for the state.