Media Release: Clayton Utz celebrates completion milestone on landmark North East Link PPP in Victoria

08 Nov 2021

Melbourne, 8 November 2021: Clayton Utz is delighted to acknowledge an enormous milestone on the Victorian Government's landmark AUD $11.1 billion North East Link Project (NELP).  Financial close was recently achieved on the Central Package PPP which represents the largest investment in a road project in Victoria's history and delivers the much needed "missing link" in Victoria's transport network.

Clayton Utz played a critical role, working with a first-class team from the Victorian Government's Major Transport Infrastructure Authority (MTIA), on every stage of the development of this vital Project.  This has included implementing a cutting-edge procurement framework to attract new participants to the Australian market, as well as developing and executing a world-first form of PPP framework that included innovative and collaborative mechanisms for the sharing of delivery risk.

Major Projects partner Steve Murray led our team, which has been advising the MTIA on all aspects of the Project since inception, including advising on the preparation of the business case, delivery strategy, planning and environmental approvals, financing and procurement.  We were also integrally involved in the development of a unique early works and utility strategy to facilitate the Central Package, as well as assisting in developing bespoke Project legislation that will facilitate the long-term operation of the NELP.

Core Clayton Utz team members included partners Natalie Speranza, Andrew Fry and Jonathan McTigue (Major Projects), partner Dan Fitts (Banking and Finance), partner Sallyanne Everett (Environment and Planning), partner Kym Fraser (Commercial Litigation), partner John Dieckmann (IP/IT) and consultant Simon Bailey (Public Sector).

Steve said the Clayton Utz team embraced the opportunity to bring their experience advising on many of Australia's biggest infrastructure projects to a project of the scale and significance of NELP:

NELP gave rise to a range of novel and complex commercial and legal issues. I am delighted that our team was able to rise to those challenges, not least of which has been closing the largest transaction of its type in Australia electronically during the middle of a global pandemic. We congratulate the Victorian Government, MTIA and the Spark consortium in reaching financial close on this first-class project that will set new benchmarks in terms of major infrastructure procurement around the world.

He added: "It has been a pleasure to work with such a professional team - not just the dedicated client team within the MTIA (and their other advisers with whom we have worked so closely, including EY, Smedtech and IAG/MBB), but it has also been great to work with the Spark team (including their advisers)."

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