The Attorney-General and I recently announced that Juris Partnership is the preferred proponent to deliver the ACT’s first Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for the new ACT Courts Facility.
The new ACT Courts Facility, which will create around 350 jobs during construction, is an important pathfinder for the territory’s future PPPs and has been designed to attract industry and to showcase the evolving, collaborative approach that the government is taking to deliver Canberra’s future infrastructure needs. The ACT started this journey in December 2013 when we launched The Partnerships Framework and announced that the Courts Facility would be our first PPP project.
Why PPPs in the ACT though? What makes them a good idea for Canberra, and why is the new ACT Courts Facility the right project for the Government to start using PPPs as a delivery model?
From the outset, it is important to acknowledge that all governments partner with the private sector to deliver infrastructure projects for the community. PPPs are particularly suitable for complex infrastructure projects and bring with them benefits that have been proven time and time again in other states and territories who have successfully taken advantage of PPPs for decades.
PPPs help deliver major infrastructure projects and ensure they are completed on time and on budget, as well as providing a boost to the local economy. They provide governments with a fully integrated and whole-of-life infrastructure package, including the design, construction, maintenance, operations and financing of a project. Studies have shown that for the right type of project, a PPP can deliver savings of around 11 per cent compared with traditional models of delivery.
But PPPs are not without risk, and they are definitely not for every project. I think it can be stated very clearly that before contemplating a PPP model, it is important for the Government to evaluate the commercial drivers for a project. This has certainly been the government’s approach in undertaking the courts project through a PPP model. We have also drawn on the ‘lessons learned’ from other PPP projects across the country throughout our own process.
The interest in the ACT’s PPP projects has been strong. With other courts projects around the country, like the Perth CBD Courts and the County Court of Victoria having been delivered successfully by PPP, we received six responses for the ACT Law Courts PPP at the Expression of Interest stage. This demonstrates the confidence the market has in the ACT Government’s Partnerships Framework.
By undertaking the courts project through a PPP model, the government is planning for the longer term to meet the community’s needs for the next 50 years. The new ACT Courts Facility will be a high functioning, durable and architecturally appropriate building for the administration of justice in the territory, and we have worked closely with Juris through the interactive tender process – a unique feature of PPPs – to respect and celebrate the heritage of the existing Supreme Court building in the design. We have also been able to produce innovative design solutions, allowing the courts to continue operating during the construction period.
PPPs can and will deliver real benefits to the ACT community in the delivery of major infrastructure projects. They will help drive new private investment for our economy, delivering long-term solutions for complex major projects and ensuring Canberra remains a modern, vibrant and growing city.
Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
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