Linda M English: Public private partnerships in Australia: an overview of their nature, purpose, incidence and oversight

Publication Date
01 January 2006

This article surveys various public–private partnership (PPP) models in use in Australia. It examines various aspects of PPPs including their type, nature and achievement of primary purpose. It looks at empirical evidence on PPPs in Australia at December 2005 and presents the results of a study on performance of audits of PPPs between 1994 and 2005.

It concludes that, given governments justify use of PPPs on the basis of risk allocation, which produces anticipated value for money, oversight of PPP should confirm the achievement of value for money savings in the operating stage. However, there is little publicly available information about and no research on the extent and outcomes of agency monitoring of the post-contractual stage of PPPs.

A 2003 study suggested that auditors-general play a relatively insignificant role in PPP oversight. Not all PPP projects, or even all PPP categories, appear to have been subject to systematic performance auditing by Australia's auditors-general. Also, value for money also does not appear to have been widely investigated by Australian auditors-general. Therefore, there is a need to establish which agency is responsible for oversight of PPP projects.