13 December 2018
One of the primary responsibilities of governments the world over is to provide public services to their citizens, including through infrastructure projects. However, governments are often faced with limited resources, constraining their ability to finance and deliver infrastructure on their own. Thus, it is often necessary to invite a private sector party to jointly provide the services in partnership with the public sector. Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) used for infrastructure service provision can potentially be an attractive contractual instrument, providing the government with an opportunity to mobilise private resources to provide long-term infrastructure services to its citizens. However, the long-term nature of PPP contracts and the increased role of the private sector in infrastructure service provision through PPPs has proven a challenge for some governments to manage, especially in light of the short-term nature of political cycles. Governing Public-Private Partnerships by Joshua Newman, a lecturer in the School of Social and Policy Studies at Flinders University in Australia, offers lessons learned on the importance of promoting strong capacity and active involvement by the public sector in PPP transactions to avoid contractual failure. In this book, the author argues that the public sector has an important role to play in ensuring the success of PPP projects, by actively learning, collaborating and managing the complex PPP policy networks amongst the various parties involved. By comparing two infrastructure projects as case studies, the book is not trying to reach a general conclusion or recommendation as to the best way to govern PPPs. Instead, it highlights important lessons learned from these two projects and proposes actions to be taken by the public sector to ensure a sustainable and successful relationship between the parties in PPP projects. The author uses stakeholder interviews, as well as the analysis of primary documents and published secondary sources of literature to support his argument. The case studies discussed are the Canada Line project in Vancouver, which the author considers to be a governance success story; and the Sydney Airport Rail Link project in Sydney, which the author argues is less successful. These two projects were chosen because of their similar objectives. i.e. a rail connection between the local airport and the city s central business district, and because they each raise issues frequently encountered in