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Driving privately financed projects in Australia: what makes them tick?

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This paper documents the growing dependence of Australian governments on the use of private funding to provide infrastructure and related services to the public. Using a Habermasian framework proposed by Broadbent and Laughlin in 1999 the paper examines their second research question: "what is the nature of PFI and who is regulating its application?" to frame an analysis of the complex relationships between steering media and steering mechanisms in determining the operation of privately financed projects (PFP) in Australia. A secondary, but related concern is to explore the linkages between the macro-economic policy debates that gave rise to PFP and their implications for the micro-organisational control issues. The debate about whether or not PFP are a response by governments to macro economic pressures remains unresolved. Similarly, there is evidence that governments are not as successful as private-sector consortia at identifying and shifting risk and, therefore, at achieving value-for-money. Ultimate PFP outcomes depend on two factors: broad policy parameters established by governments (steering mechanisms) either discreetly, or through other appointed steering media; and execution at the micro or organisational level, that is, on the decisions and actions taken by a variety of actors interfacing with PFP.

Keywords: Australia; Financing; Partnership; Private finance; Public finance

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-08-01

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