12 Mar 2015

Clayton Utz congratulates NSW Government on financial close of NorthConnex

12 March 2015: Clayton Utz congratulates the New South Wales State Government on reaching financial close on the $2.9 billion NorthConnex project  ΜΆ  a first under the state government's unsolicited proposals process.

The NorthConnex project will develop nine-kilometre tolled twin tunnels which will link the M1 Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga to the Hills M2 Motorway at West Pennant Hills. As the State's new major freight route, the motorway is expected to significantly reduce congestion and shorten travel times.

The signing of contracts between the NSW Government and Westlink M7 shareholders on 31 January 2015 means early work on the NorthConnex motorway has now commenced, with major construction work expected to commence in May. Completion is anticipated for late 2019.

This project marks the first time a major transport infrastructure project will be delivered under the NSW State Government's unsolicited proposals process. The innovative procurement method is designed to encourage private sector engagement and investment in improving infrastructure and services.

A Clayton Utz team, led by Sydney-based Major Projects partner Stuart Cosgriff, has provided strategic legal and commercial advice to the NSW Government on all aspects of the NorthConnex project since the unsolicited proposal was submitted by Transurban in March 2012.

Clayton Utz' role has included advising on negotiations with project sponsors at each stage, advising on the design, construction, operation, maintenance and finance of the new project, as well as the highly innovative funding structure, and advising on all relevant property, planning and environment approvals and related matters.

Commenting on the project and this recent milestone, Stuart said: "The NorthConnex motorway is a critical piece of infrastructure for the State, secured through a novel procurement process. We have enjoyed the opportunity to lend our significant expertise in complex and innovative projects to this matter, and to help steer our client through these unchartered waters. Reaching this milestone paves the way for more innovative public sector procurements. Congratulations to the NSW State Government and all invested parties on this great outcome."

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.