There are at least two proponents for the inland rail – NTR and ARTC.
A competitive tender Public Private Partnership (PPP) process should be
adopted to select the best solution.
A competitive tender process may also encourage other potential participants.
On projects of this scope, the role of government should be to set
standards and performance outcomes, not to build.
It is the private sector that brings innovation and experience to
large infrastructure projects – borne out of international competitiveness.
The recently commenced Toowoomba Second Range Crossing was
opened up to private sector competition.
Announcing the successful proponent, the then Deputy Prime Minister
and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the
Hon Warren Truss MP, said:
“The selection of Nexus is a result of the Australian and Queensland
governments’ drive to attract world class expertise and innovation to
deliver infrastructure with significant benefits to the regional, state
and national economies.”
A competitive Public Private Partnership solution for inland rail will
drive innovation and minimise costs to governments and taxpayers.
Australia’s peak infrastructure organisation, Infrastructure Partnerships
Australia, in its report “Performance of PPPs and Traditional
Procurement in Australia” stated:
- PPPs demonstrate clearly superior cost efficiency over traditional procurement.
- In absolute terms, the PPP cost advantage was found to be economically and statistically significant.
- PPPs were found to be completed 3.4 percent ahead of time on average, while traditional projects were completed 23.5 percent behind time.
The advantages of a competitive PPP process are that it:
- Is an objective, independent, arm’s length process which provides a fair hearing for all proponents and does not require governments to “pick winners”.
- Focusses on whole-of-life costs and revenues, not just upfront capital costs.
- Requires bidders to disclose all aspects of their proposals (construction and operating costs, projected revenues, business models and financing solutions) to a rigorous process of scrutiny and evaluation.
- Encourages innovation in design, construction, financing, operations and maintenance.
- Caps government’s financial exposure when the PPP proponent is selected, minimising costs and maximising value for governments and taxpayers.
A competitive process will ensure the most efficient and innovative solution is selected – just like for the Toowoomba second range crossing – that will minimise cost and maximise value to governments, taxpayers, our agricultural and mineral resources sectors and regional Australian communities along the route.
There is nothing to lose and everything to gain from a competitive
It’s in the best interests of Australia.