The ACT Government has a big pipeline of major infrastructure – and we’re exploring new and innovative methods to build and operate these projects, including the Territory’s first Public Private Partnership (PPP).
Last month I presented to key industry and infrastructure stakeholders on the ACT Courts project. This project is significant as it currently under consideration as the ACT’s first PPP.
The 50 year old ACT Supreme Court is a landmark building in the territory and an important symbol of the judicial arm of government however the Government has recognised the time has come to provide new court facilities to meet our needs into the future.
Since its construction in 1963 the requirements of the Supreme Court have changed. The original courts building catered for a population of 100,000. Today, the population of the Territory is over 380,000 and will continue to grow.
Since announcing our plans to progress the Courts Project through a PPP late last year, the Government has appointed an Integrated Project Team with an aim to deliver the best outcome for the territory and the courts, both architecturally and commercially. It is expected the PPP will fund the construction and ongoing maintenance and upgrade of the building over the next 25-30 years.
If there was ever any doubt at the level of interest in this project and in ACT construction projects in general, the forum I presented at attracted over 90 registered attendees, made up of potential investors and infrastructure stakeholders,.
As a jurisdiction the ACT Government is trying to position itself in a competitive way to attract capital for its major infrastructure projects.
In doing so we are seeking to create a business friendly environment that reflects lessons learned from across Australia in PPP delivery.
The courts project is only one part of the ACT Governments plan for infrastructure investment in the Territory. Ten years ago our capital works budget was $109m, in 2013-14 our total capital works budget is $775m, with a four year infrastructure investment program worth $1.2b.
We have a pipeline of significant projects, including the Capital Metro project, City to the Lake, University of Canberra Public Hospital, the Australia Forum – which will be a nationally significant convention centre – and a new enclosed football stadium.
These projects have two purposes; they will help redefine how our city functions and provide better services to the community, but they will also generate thousands of jobs keep our economy ticking over in response to the contraction of the Commonwealth.
The Government has not yet committed to a particular delivery model for these projects, but it is actively considering options including PPPs.
In regards to the Courts project the Territory will shortlist and undertake negotiations with the competing parties, with a view to finalising the PPP procurement process over the next 12-18 months. It is expected that the new facilities will then be built by the successful PPP tenderer and be operational towards the end of the 2017/18 financial year.
For information see: http://apps.treasury.act.gov. au/partnerships-framework
Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)