image of David LesterDavid Lester

Clayton Utz Partner , Brisbane T +61 7 3292 7263

With a strong track record of advising on a number of major transport projects in Queensland, including Market Led Proposals and Public Private Partnerships, David Lester works with clients from project structuring, procurement strategy, and tender formation through to evaluation, contract preparation, negotiation and administration.

He uses the invaluable commercial insight he's gained from secondments to a number of the firm's clients, including Macquarie Bank, Queensland Treasury, Queensland Cement Limited and ING Australia Ltd, to give sharp, practical advice to his clients, who include Government entities and major Australian companies and financial institutions.

David also advises borrowers and lenders on banking and finance matters including property, corporate, project and infrastructure financing.

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Construction and Major Projects

Queensland Treasury and Department of Transport and Main Roads – Toowoomba Second Range Crossing ($1.6 billion): David led the Clayton Utz team that advised Queensland Treasury and the Department of Transport and Main Roads on the procurement of this regional toll road project being delivered as an availability style PPP. He also prepared the contract administration manual for the project and has ensured his team has met every time frame required. David advised DTMR during the delivery phase and now into the operation phase. Toowoomba Second Range Crossing was awarded Asia-Pacific Road Deal of the Year at the Project Finance International Awards 2015.

Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) – Logan and Gold Coast Faster Rail: David is the lead partner advising the DTMR in relation to the Logan and Gold Coast Faster Rail Project. The proposed upgrade covers a critical 20-kilometre section of the Gold Coast Line between Kuraby and Beenleigh.

Cross River Rail Delivery Authority – Brisbane Live: Advised the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority with regard to the business case for the Brisbane Live project.

Brisbane City Council – Legacy Way ($1.8 billion): Advised Brisbane City Council on the design, construction, operation and maintenance of this toll road. It was procured using a publicly funded DCMO model with a separate procurement of the tolling system. David advised Council on the various procurement models that were considered and the procurement process, including evaluation. David was Council 's first point of contact during the delivery phase. The toll road is now open to traffic and David continues to advise Council on contract management issues. Legacy Way has won 2013 Major Tunnelling Project of the Year at the International Tunnelling Awards and 2015 Project of the Year at the Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Infrastructure Awards.

Brisbane City Council – Brisbane Metro: David advised Council in relation to the Preliminary Evaluation and the Business Case for the Brisbane Metro project and continues to advise Council on various aspects of the project, including with respect to the early works and the interface arrangements with key stakeholders.

North East Link Authority – North East Link: David has assisted the CU team with strategic advice during the business case and continues to assist North East Link Authority with this ground breaking project.

North Coast Connect – Rail Line between Brisbane and Nambour: David advised the North Coast Connect consortium on the development of a business case for faster rail between Brisbane and Nambour with a spur line to Maroochydore.

Queensland Government – Airport Link, Northern Busway (Windsor to Kedron) and Airport Roundabout Upgrade: David advised the State on the joint procurement of Airport Link (a 6.6 km toll road tunnel delivered as a PPP), Northern Busway (Windsor to Kedron) and the Airport Roundabout Upgrade (both of which were delivered as bolt on D&C contracts). David had primary carriage of drafting the road franchise agreement and the suite of other project documents for this complex and novel project. He has been one of the State's key advisers throughout the procurement, delivery and operations phase of the project.

Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) – Gateway Upgrade North (D&C with Project Management overlay): David advised the Department of Transport and Main Roads on the procurement of this $1 billion plus project to be delivered via a design and construct model. David advised on the unique arrangements implemented with Transurban Queensland to project manage the delivery of the project.

Brisbane City Council – Clem7 Tunnel ($2 billion): David advised the Brisbane City Council on this 5km toll road tunnel delivered as a PPP. He had primary carriage of drafting the concession deed and the suite of other project documents, and advised Council on the ongoing administration of the contracts. This project has won a number of awards including “Government Partnership Excellence” at Infrastructure Partnerships Australia's 2007 National Infrastructure Awards for "excellence and innovation in the development and delivery of public policy objectives in the formation and balance of a public and private sector partnership, “Infrastructure Deal of 2006” awarded by Project Finance International magazine, “Commercial Property & Construction Deal of the Year” at the 2007 ALB Australasian Law Awards and “Asian Infrastructure Deal of the Year” at the Project Finance International Awards 2006.

Brisbane City Council – Inner City Bypass Upgrade (D&C with upstream overlay): David led the Clayton Utz team advising Council on the assessment, evaluation and negotiation with Transurban Queensland of the upgrade proposal which included financing the design, construction and maintenance of the Inner City Bypass.

Brisbane City Council – Howard Smith Wharves (Development Agreement): David advised Council on the financing and development aspects in relation to the development of the Howard Smith Wharves precinct as well as the design and construction of a ferry terminal at the site.

Victorian Government – East West Link ($10 billion): David provided strategic advice on the procurement of this 18km inner urban freeway connecting the Eastern Freeway, the Tullamarine Freeway at CityLink and the Western Ring Road with a key connection to the Port of Melbourne. This included advising on procurement models and financing and funding options.

See Construction and Major Projects

Banking and Finance

Big Four Australian Banks: David acts on bilateral and syndicated loan arrangements in various industry sectors and for general corporate, acquisition and project financing arrangements.

Industry Support Package: David advised Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation (DSDTI) and Queensland Treasure Corporation (QTC) on a range of industry support financing packages designed to help stimulate the Queensland economy after the COVID-19 crisis. This has included advice in relation to structuring and drafting loan and security documentation for a variety of industry participants in a time and cost sensitive environment.

Building Acceleration Fund: David is advising DSDTI and the Minister for Economic Development Queensland (MEDQ) on the Building Acceleration Fund, including drafting a template loan agreement, advising in relation to a range of individual loan transactions and documenting and negotiating those loan transactions.

Private Client – Acquisitions: David acted for a financier in relation to a multicurrency revolving cash advance facility, bank guarantee facility, standby letter of credit facility and business purchase card facility to an Australian publicly listed company and a US$ acquisition facility to fund that company’s indirect acquisition of a number of US entities.

Various Private Clients – Loan facilities: David regularly advises a range of the firm's corporate, energy and resources and banking clients on loan facilities, guarantees and securities.

See Banking and Finance

Corporate Finance

Private Clients – Corporate finance: David advises a number of the firm's key corporate clients on a broad range of finance and credit support arrangements, including clients such as Vale and Idemitsu.

Toyota Finance Australia (TFA): David advises TFA on its Queensland and northern New South Wales dealer financing arrangements. This requires drafting loan and security documentation for a variety of financing scenarios.

Billabong – Acquisition finance: David advised Billabong on its $180 million syndicated finance facility to be used, amongst other things, for the acquisition of a US business.

Innovia Films – Acquisition finance: David advised Innovia Films on its €230 million financing arrangements to assist with the acquisition of Surface Specialties and related entities. David also advised this client on refinancing of this facility in the first half of 2007.

Constellations Brands Inc – Acquisition finance: David advised Constellation Brands Inc on its US $2.9 billion financing arrangements to assist with the acquisition of the Robert Mondavi group of companies.

See Corporate Finance

Project Finance

NSW Government – WestConnex: David is advising the NSW Government on the financing structure proposed for Stage 2 of this 33km motorway which is the largest transport project in Australia.

Cross River Rail Delivery Authority – Cross River Rail: David is advising the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority on the private finance aspects of the PPP part of the project.

Victorian Government – North East Link: David is advising Government on the private finance aspects of the PPP part of the project.

Korea Zinc – Copperstring 2.0 Project: David advised Korea Zinc in relation to the early stage financing for the CopperString 2.0 project. This project is a high-voltage transmission line that will connect the people and communities of Mount Isa and the North West Minerals Province to the National Electricity Grid. It will supply electricity to existing customers in North West Queensland and deliver opportunities for new industrial facilities and large agricultural and renewable energy projects.

Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF): David is advising NAIF on funding arrangements for the development of a technology precinct and student accommodation at the James Cook University.

Central Queensland University: David acts for Central Queensland University on a NAIF funding facility to support the development of a range of economic infrastructure.

Various Queensland Government PPP Infrastructure projects: David advised Government on the impact of private finance for the procurement, delivery and operation of a number of major infrastructure projects, including Clem 7 Tunnel, Airport Link and the Gateway and Logan Motorways. David's ability to understand the complexities of the underlying transaction against the commercial drivers of the private sector financiers enables him to provide commercial and practical advice to Government.

Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) – LNG Project: David advised on numerous financing and security aspects of the LNG project being undertaken by Australia Pacific LNG (a joint venture between ConocoPhillips, Origin Energy and Sinopec).

See Project Finance


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