Research Papers

Download details

North East Link Bill 2020

Introduction

Described by the Victorian Government as filling the 'missing link' in Melbourne's road network, the North East Link is a planned 26-kilometre tolled freeway that will connect the Metropolitan Ring Road (M80) to the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen Rd. The project involves the state's longest road tunnels—twin three-lane six-kilometre tunnels equipped to allow GPS technology to work underground—several interchanges and express bus lanes on the Eastern Freeway. It is expected to open in 2027.[footnote 1]

Source: North East Link Project (2020) 'North East Link Melways Map - April 2019', NELP website.

Background

North East Link

History

Plans for a metropolitan freeway network linking the north-eastern parts of Melbourne were first developed with the 1954 Melbourne Planning Scheme.[footnote 2] This Scheme provided the basis for a more comprehensive Melbourne Transportation Plan, delivered by the Melbourne Transportation Committee for the Bolte Government in 1969.[footnote 3] The Plan, recently described by two experts as Melbourne's 'most influential' and 'comprehensive' transport plan, provided the first outline of the need for a freeway-standard road link through Melbourne's north east.[footnote 4] From this plan, a corridor of land was reserved for a proposed (but never built) F18 freeway route, and now provides access for parts of today's planned North East Link.

These plans were met by strong community opposition to the building of freeways in urban environments, prompting then-Planning Minister Rupert Hamer, in 1970, to review the plan and minimise its social and environmental effects, as well as its overall cost.[footnote 5] When Hamer succeeded Bolte as Premier in 1972, Victoria's metropolitan freeway policy was overhauled.[footnote 6] The Hamer Government stipulated that freeways were to exist 'only in the outer suburbs where road reservations have been planned and no disruption is caused'.[footnote 7] Subsequently, in 1973 plans for the F18 freeway as well as a number of unbuilt urban freeways were cancelled.[footnote 8]

For the next several decades, plans for a north eastern freeway took a back seat to other infrastructure project proposals, including CityLink, East Link and East West Link. The project was revived in 2008, when the Brumby Government announced its commitment to an estimated $6 billion, nine-kilometre North East Link.[footnote 9] This proposal was one of many projects approved under a larger planning framework—the Victorian Transport Plan—which set out to address the challenges of population growth and road congestion.[footnote 10] The North East Link was 're-evaluated' by the Baillieu Government in 2011; and was reported as still 'under consideration' in 2012 and 2013.[footnote 11]

In 2016, the Andrews Government released its 30-year blueprint for infrastructure across Victoria, which included plans for a North East Link.[footnote 12] The North East Link Authority was established to manage and deliver the project in December 2016, before the 2017–18 State Budget provided the project with its first $100 million.[footnote 13] Following re-election in 2018, Premier Andrews announced the government's plan to invest heavily in Victoria's infrastructure, including building the North East Link.[footnote 14]

Current project

In 2017, several corridor options were considered through a series of community surveys and engagements, and an assessment report. One option linked the M80 Ring Road in Greensborough to the Eastern Freeway in Bulleen, while three alternative routes linking the M80 Ring Road in Greensborough to EastLink in Ringwood were also proposed. In November 2017, the Andrews Government announced that the Bulleen option had been selected.[footnote 15]

From May 2018 to June 2019, the North East Link Authority (NELA) prepared an Environmental Effects Statement (EES), based on public consultations and submissions. The EES was then subject to an independent Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC). The Committee was tasked with the review of the EES and public submissions to provide recommendations to inform the Minister's assessment of the project. The IAC submitted a report of recommendations in October 2019.[footnote 16] The outcomes of the EES have been the subject of some controversy since the end of 2019, with four local government areas—Banyule, Boroondara, Whitehouse and Manningham—issuing a Supreme Court challenge over the government's environmental approval for the road.[footnote 17]

In May 2018, the North East Link Authority released its Business Case, indicating tolling revenue would be retained by the state through the establishment of a state-owned tolling entity. In November 2018, the Andrews Government issued a tender to build and operate the road.[footnote 18] Transurban, the owner and operator of CityLink and the West Gate Tunnel project, ruled itself out of bidding in February 2019.[footnote 19] In September 2019, the government announced that three consortia had been shortlisted for the contract.[footnote 20]

In recent months, the government has been in dispute with the consortia bidding for the project over the allocation of risks. Construction company John Holland has threatened to pull its bid in response to government demand that the private partner be liable for cost blowouts.[footnote 21] Treasurer Tim Pallas says the Andrews Government is willing to build the North East Link itself if contractors insist on taxpayers carrying too much financial risk.[footnote 22]

In March 2020, the Andrews Government announced it would be retaining the revenue generated by the road tolls by establishing a state tolling corporation with the introduction of the North East Link Bill 2020.

Toll roads and PPPs in Victoria

History

Toll roads have been a key feature of Victoria's infrastructure since just after the colony's founding. Commonplace in England by the 1830s and levied in Sydney since 1811, Melbourne's earliest tolled roads include Thomas Main's bridge over Moonee Ponds Creek on Mt Alexander Road in 1839 and the Heidelberg Road Trust's tolls on Heidelberg Road in 1847. Through the nineteenth century, responsibility for financing, building and maintaining roads was largely in the hands of district road boards, municipal councils and rural shires, which raised funds through a complex system of bridge and road tolls. These levying powers had been granted in the early 1850s but proved so unpopular and unequitable—road-building became highly parochial and competitive across the colony—that the central government abolished them in 1875. As roads fell into disrepair, from the early twentieth century the central government progressively took control of all road infrastructure projects.[footnote 23]

Tolls returned to Melbourne almost a century later when the West Gate Bridge opened as a tolled road in 1978. However, the tolls were removed in late 1985 due to poor patronage and to enable the Bridge Authority's financial liabilities to be transferred to the Road Construction Authority.[footnote 24]

Toll roads had their third coming in Victoria with the CityLink project, completed in 1999. This project also marked the Victorians Government's first experiment in delivering a major road infrastructure project as a public-private partnership, following a number of PPP road projects in Sydney in the early 1990s.[footnote 25] Since then, further projects—including EastLink, Peninsula Link, the aborted East West Link, and the West Gate Tunnel—have been delivered or proposed as PPPs. To contextualise the novelty of the arrangement proposed by the North East Link Bill 2020, we can briefly overview these four projects.

Public-Private Partnerships

Types of PPPs

There are two general models of PPPs, both of which have been used in Victorian road infrastructure projects. First, user-charge PPP contracts (or 'economic infrastructure' PPPs) provide the private sector party with the right to levy tolls or other charges on users once construction is complete in order to generate revenue from the project, usually by obtaining a long-term lease or concession to the infrastructure. Second, service-payment PPP contracts (also known as 'availability' or 'social infrastructure' PPPs) require the government to pay a monthly or quarterly service payment for meeting stipulated key performance indicators. This model tends to be used in building social infrastructure including hospitals, schools and courts, but also has been applied to some of Victoria's road projects.

PPPs may take several different contractual arrangements, depending on whether the private partner takes ownership of part or all of the asset to recoup its investments. These include DCM (design–construct–maintain), DCMO (design–construct–maintain–operate), BOO (build–own–operate) and BOOT (build–own–operate–transfer) forms of project delivery.[footnote 26] Either way, the PPP contract typically requires the private sector to finance part or all of the project costs before receiving the government service payment or user charges to recoup its investments.

The Victorian Government established Partnerships Victoria in 2001 to provide guidelines and administer PPP projects.

CityLink

CityLink is the pre-eminent example of a BOOT—Build-Own-Operate-Transfer—public-private partnership arrangement with the Victorian Government. In 1992, the Kennett Government called for tenders for a user-charge PPP arrangement for the CityLink project. In 1995, it entered an agreement with ASX-listed Transurban, a consortium formed by Australia's Transfield Holdings and Japan's Obayashi Corporation, to build and toll CityLink. The terms are contained in the Melbourne City Link Concession Deed. CityLink was constructed between 1996 and 2000, and Transurban authorised to collect toll revenue from road users to January 2035, before ownership of the road was scheduled to transfer back to the state at no cost. In February 2017, the Victorian Government extended the concession until 2045 as part of a deal with Transurban for the consortium to build and operate the West Gate Tunnel project.[footnote 27]

EastLink

In 2003, the Victorian Government established the Southern and Eastern Integrated Transport Authority (SEITA) to oversee the building of the EastLink freeway project in eastern Melbourne. In 2004, SEITA awarded a design, construct, own and operate user-charge PPP to ConnectEast. This company was established specifically for the EastLink project and was listed on the ASX in November 2004. ConnectEast engaged Theiss Contractors and John Holland to design and construct the road. Construction began in 2005 and the road opened in June 2008. As owner of the road, ConnectEast is now responsible for its day-to-day management until the concession expires in 2043.[footnote 28] In late 2011, the company was sold to Horizon Roads, a consortium of eight international investors.[footnote 29]

Peninsula Link

Peninsula Link, a 25-kilometre freeway joining the southern end of Eastlink at Seaford with the Mornington Peninsula Freeway, was opened in 2013. The road is not tolled but has been delivered as an availability-PPP. A consortium, Southern Way, financed, designed, built, and now operates and maintains the freeway under a 25-year agreement with the Victorian Government. The Government makes regular payments to Southern Way based on Key Performance Indicators for the operation and maintenance of the road.[footnote 30]

East West Link

The terminated East West Link project, designed to join the Eastern Freeway and the Western Ring Road, was intended to be an availability-PPP. The plan was for a private contractor to build and operate the road with the state retaining the toll revenue, along with associated risks that demand for the road might be lower than expected. According to the project's business case, this delivery model was determined by a reluctance among private operators to risk actual demand not meeting traffic forecasts. This assessment is similar to the North East Link Project Business Case, discussed below. While a Victorian Auditor-General's inquiry into the project found the overall business case unsound, it described this procurement plan as 'robust'.[footnote 31]

West Gate Tunnel

Originally known as the Western Distributor, the West Gate Tunnel Project (WGTP), presently under construction, is a five-kilometre toll road linking the West Gate Freeway at Yarraville with the Port of Melbourne and CityLink at Docklands via twin tunnels. The project was first proposed by Transurban in March 2015. In December 2015, the Victorian Government released the Business Case announcing it would proceed with Transurban's proposal. In early 2017, the Victorian Government entered into the West Gate Tunnel Project Agreement with Transurban to design, finance, construct, toll and operate the tunnel until 2045. The West Gate Tunnel (Truck Bans and Traffic Management) Act 2019 aligns the WGTP and CityLink toll enforcement regimes, while an amendment to the Melbourne City Concession Deed extends Transurban's CityLink deed to 2045, in line with its WGTP concession.[footnote 32]

Second reading speech

Treasurer Tim Pallas introduced the North East Link Bill 2020 in the Legislative Assembly on 4 March 2020 and tabled the second reading the following day. In the second reading speech, Mr Pallas described the project as 'the biggest road transport project in Victoria's history', expected to cut travel time by up to 35 minutes for 135,000 vehicles per day, create 10,000 jobs, take 15,000 trucks off local roads, and supply more than 25 kilometres of new and upgraded walking and cycling paths. [footnote 33]

Of the arrangements governing North East Link, Mr Pallas said: 'Establishing the State Tolling Corporation as a Government entity will build the State's capability and capacity in relation to the operation and management of toll roads. The State Tolling Corporation will also be the direct recipient of toll revenues'.[footnote 34]

The Bill

The North East Link Bill 2020 is described in its explanatory memorandum as having five main purposes[footnote 35]. These are:

§ To establish the North East Link State Tolling Corporation.

§ To provide the Corporation with powers to fix, collect and enforce tolls and administration fees on the North East Link, as well as the operation and management of the North East Link. In this respect, the Bill mirrors the provisions and reforms to toll enforcement adopted in the West Gate Tunnel (Truck Bans and Traffic Management) Act 2019.

§ To provide for the tabling and amendment of North East Link tolling agreements between the Victorian Government and the State Tolling Corporation, which authorise and regulate tolling on the North East Link. Parliament will have oversight of these agreements, which may be revoked by a resolution of both Houses.

§ To amend and modify the operation of the Road Management Act 2004 in relation to the North East Link road, which includes excluding the North East Link State Tolling Corporation from the definition of State road authority.

§ To make several minor amendments to the EastLink Project Act 2004, the Melbourne City Link Act 1995, and the West Gate Tunnel (Truck Bans and Traffic Management) Act 2019, that aligns the regulation and practices of tollways in Victoria. To make the North East Link State Tolling Corporation operational, the Bill also amends the Accident Towing Services Act 2017, the Borrowing and Investment Powers Act 2014, the Children Youth and Families Act 2005, the Criminal Procedure Act 2009, the Fines Reform Act 2014, the Heavy Vehicle National Law Application Act 2013, the Infringements Act 2005, the Road Safety Act 1986, and the Transport Integration Act 2010.

North East Link State Tolling Corporation

The centrepiece of the Bill is the creation of a new state-owned corporation, the North East Link State Tolling Corporation. As noted above and outlined below, the establishment of a government-owned entity marks a significant break in the management of Melbourne's toll roads, which for the past 25 years have been levied and operated by private firms as user-charge PPPs.

In announcing the plan, the Victorian Government said the North East Link will be the first road in Victoria whose tolling rights are held by the state government.[footnote 36] Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said the government wants to ensure 'that the tolling revenue that is raised by motorists and trucks using the new North East Link project … be reinvested back into the road'.[footnote 37] Toll revenue 'will not fund all of the project', the Minister said, but 'will fund part of the project', contributing towards both the building of the road and its ongoing maintenance.[footnote 38] The Age reports that the revenue stream generated by tolls will contribute 22 per cent of the project's funding.[footnote 39]

Toll prices have not yet been set—the Bill provides powers to the Corporation to do this. The Minister told The Age they would be 'comparable' to current tolls on CityLink and EastLink. The lifetime of the tolling arrangement would be the decision of future governments, the Minister said.[footnote 40]

Plans for a state-owned entity to toll the North East Link were first outlined in the North East Link Authority's Business Case, released in May 2018 (see below).

As with other government-owned corporations, the Bill establishes the State Tolling Corporation as a body corporate with an official seal, stipulates it may acquire, hold and dispose of real and personal property, can sue and be sued, and certifies that all amounts collected by the Corporation, including tolls, administration fees, and any other fees or charges, are the personal property of the Corporation.[footnote 41] The Bill provides for the functions of the Corporation, its governance structure including a board of directors, chief executive officer and other employees, its corporate duties relating to its capital outlay and repayment, reporting to relevant ministers and annual reports, procedures with Parliament for setting and tabling tolls, and the regulation of toll collection and enforcement. The Bill also allows for the name of the corporation to be changed. The functions and powers of the Corporation are variously regulated by the Road Management Act 2004, the Transport Integration Act 2010 and the Major Transport Project Facilitation Act 2009.[footnote 42]

The State Tolling Corporation is distinct from the statutory bodies governments have tended to establish to procure, manage and deliver major road infrastructure projects, in that it functions as a contractor to deliver and operate a specific aspect of the project, rather than a statutory authority overseeing the project's overall delivery. The North East Link road project was initiated under the purview of the North East Link Authority, established in December 2016, before that agency became the North East Link Project, a dedicated team working within the ambit of the Major Transport Infrastructure Authority. The Authority is a new administrative office established in January 2019 to oversee the procurement and management of multiple transport projects.[footnote 43]

Previously, the Melbourne City Link Authority, legislated for in 1994, procured the City Link Project, while the procurement and contracts for EastLink and Peninsula Link were awarded and managed during the delivery phrase by the Linking Melbourne Authority (legislated for in 2002 as the Southern and Eastern Integrated Transport Authority) and are now administered by EastConnect and VicRoads, respectively. The Linking Melbourne Authority was disbanded in 2015 after the termination of the East West Link project.[footnote 44]

Business case for a state-owned tolling corporation

The reasons to establish the North East State Tolling Corporation have been outlined in the North East Link Business Case, delivered in May 2018 by the then-named North East Link Authority.[footnote 45] While the Business Case offers a comprehensive assessment of the entire project, this Bill Brief is exclusively concerned with those arguments made for a state-owned tolling corporation. As summarised below, the Business Case found that, in contrast to the earlier CityLink and EastLink projects, there is very limited private sector appetite for bidding on 'greenfield' (unproven) toll revenues. This reluctance is informed both by a post-GFC business context and recent toll road failures in Sydney and Brisbane. It therefore recommended the State retain toll revenues for at least the initial period after the road's opening, establishing the viability of the toll revenue, and then potentially seek to sell the Corporation and tolling rights to the private sector later.

Toll roads: key assumptions

Having identified the North East Link as a tolled road, an early commercial decision within the procurement process was whether government would gain greater value from selling the toll revenue and its associated risks upfront to a private partner, or by retaining that revenue and potentially selling the tolling rights later. The value of the toll revenue at market depends upon the government and private sectors' assessments of the risks that the actual usage of the road will meet projected traffic forecasts.[footnote 46]

Importantly, the Business Case stressed that tolls are not relevant to determining the overall economic benefits that justify building a road, which instead relate to travel time, safety and vehicle operating cost savings. Tolling has an indirect impact on an economic evaluation through its impact on traffic volumes (that is, an individual's choice to use the road), which flows through to travel time and other savings.

Market scoping and solutions

In determining the most appropriate tolling regime for the North East Link project, the NELA conducted a market sounding process involving 22 domestic and international construction firms, toll road operators and financial sponsors and debt and equity providers. The NELA considered a range of procurement options, including:

§ State retains toll revenues (long-term)

§ State retains toll revenues (ramp-up period only—two to three years after construction)

§ State underwrites toll revenue for the private sector using a range of approaches, including cap and collar toll revenue mechanism, variable concession length, regulated utility model, state funding or liquidity support, and State 'equity' sell down

§ State sells toll revenue risk to the private sector.

The market-scoping process established several key constraints to the procurement options. Most significantly, the financial failure of several traditional user-paid PPP road projects in recent years have sapped market appetite for greenfield tolling projects. These failed projects included:

§ Cross City Tunnel, Sydney, which has been sold twice since opening in 2005. Initial projections expected 70,000 motorists per day would use the tunnel, yet it attracted only about 20,000 users per day in its first year, forcing the builder-owner, CrossCity Motorways, into receivership in December 2006. The tunnel was sold a second time in 2014 to Transurban, when traffic volume was still only about 40,000 vehicles per day.[footnote 47]

§ Lane Cove Tunnel, Sydney, which was sold by builder-operator Connector Motorways in 2010 for $630 million (having cost $1 billion to build) to Transurban. Connector Motorways went into receivership after failing to meet debt repayments because traffic volumes had not met the original forecast of 100,000 vehicles per day.[footnote 48]

§ Clem7 Tunnel, Brisbane, was the city's first privately-financed inner city toll road, built and operated by RiverCity Motorway Limited. Building commenced in 2006 and the tunnel opened in 2010. In 2013, the tunnel was sold to the then-state-owned Queensland Motorways for $618 million, about one-fifth of what it cost RiverCity to build the road. Road usage was about half the forecast traffic volume when the tunnel was sold. In late 2013, Queensland Motorways was sold to a consortium in which Transurban has a majority share.[footnote 49]

§ Airport Link, Brisbane, was purchased by Transurban from builder-owner-operator BrisConnections for $2 billion in 2015, almost 60 per cent less than the $4.8 billion it cost to build the road. Initial forecasts projected 170,000 vehicles a day using the road within six months of opening; however, fewer than 50,000 vehicles were using the tollway when BrisConnections went into receivership in 2013.[footnote 50]

More generally, the market sounding process found that a post-Global Financial Crisis business context continues to minimise corporate appetite for risk. The Business Case observed: 'Accordingly, the project's procurement options developed in the context of a PPP market with a much more limited appetite for greenfield toll revenues than it has had historically'.[footnote 51]

This assessment echoed the 2013 East West Link Business Case, which found the private sector was reluctant to carry the demand risk of an untested greenfield toll road in the wake of the Sydney and Brisbane failures.[footnote 52] In 2017, a PwC report noted a general change in attitudes towards risk management of public infrastructure since the GFC:

Australian governments have long realised that transferring as much risk as possible to the private sector doesn't provide the best value for money outcome to government, at times when private sector bidders are fully pricing the risks. Rather, when risks are being fully priced by bidders, the government achieves a better value for money outcome if it retains those risks that it can manage for a lower cost than the price the private sector will charge for taking the risk.[footnote 53]

The Business Plan concluded that the value of future toll revenue is likely to be optimised when it has been 'substantially de-risked—that is, it can be forecast with sufficient accuracy either because there is an established traffic history or because the State has provided some form of protection in the form of a floor'.[footnote 54] Monetising proven toll revenues after the road is open, the Business Case said, is likely to achieve better value and attract a larger pool of bidders than asking a narrower field of PPP bidders to value upfront, unproven toll revenues as part of a PPP bid where construction costs are a dominant competitive factor. In such circumstances, bidders would be expected to apply a significant discount or risk premium to unproven revenues, greatly diminishing the return for government.[footnote 55]

Accordingly, the Business Plan endorsed an availability-PPP that separates the toll entity from the consortium that builds and operates the road for two reasons. First, to establish clear lines of accountability in delivering the project; and second, to offer flexibility regarding the monetisation and divestment options in the future, once toll revenues have matured.[footnote 56]

Government risk

The Business Case acknowledges that while retaining toll revenues has the greater potential to maximise the value of the toll asset to government, it also means the State remains exposed to the risk of toll revenues being lower than forecast, 'which could result in a funding deficit for the State'.[footnote 57] In this instance, it is possible that the value expected to be created by selling the toll asset to the private sector later may be offset or diminished by poor traffic performance up to the point of transfer. The Business Case notes that the toll revenue forecasting risk is particularly high in the ramp-up phase during the first 12–24 months of operation. As recent private sectors experiences have shown, actual traffic volumes have ranged from 23 per cent to 45 per cent lower than the forecasts for the first year of operations.[footnote 58]

The Business Case remains positive:

… to mitigate its own traffic forecasting risk, the State has access to sophisticated traffic forecasting capabilities, both internal to Transport for Victoria and externally via its independent traffic forecasters. In addition, the State also has broader transport network behaviour information and data that can support forecasting; as such, it is in a position to forecast the potential traffic on North East Link more accurately than the broader market.[footnote 59]

Finally, the Business Case also notes that given the project will be delivered as an availability-PPP, the interests of the state tolling corporation and the PPP company are not totally aligned—more traffic means more revenue for the state, but additional operational and maintenance costs for the PPP company. The Business Case states that a preliminary scoping analysis has been conducted regarding how best to align these interests through a range of performance incentives and contractual frameworks.[footnote 60]


Responses

Inquiry and Advisory Committee

During the Inquiry and Advisory Committee's assessment of the environmental effects of the North East Link project, several submissions were made scrutinising the traffic forecasts used in the project's Business Case.

The most explicit concerns were tabled by economist Terry Rawnsley, Principal and Partner of SGS Economic & Planning, in his Net Community Benefit Review prepared on behalf of the Banyule, Boroondara and Whitehorse city councils. According to Mr Rawnsley, the benefit cost ratio (BCR) projected by the North East Link Business Case, which is estimated to be 1.25—meaning for every $1 invested, $1.25 is made in community benefits—was calculated using the same standardised approach for assessing toll road projects as was used on the four recent failed projects in Sydney and Brisbane. These projects also modelled a net community benefit, before traffic volumes proved to be up to less than half of what was estimated for the benefit-cost-ratio analysis. Subsequently, these projects faced 'rapid financial collapse'.[footnote 61]

Mr Rawnsley said the North East Link shares similarities to these failed projects in terms of not offering large travel time savings and competing with a free road as an alternative. Given these circumstances, together with other questionable economic assumptions in the BCR, Mr Rawnsley concluded 'it is very possible that there is no net community benefit from the North East Link'.[footnote 62] As noted, the Business Case discusses the same failed toll roads examined by Mr Rawnsley. Mr Rawnsley does not discuss the merits or demerits of how a state-owned tolling entity would offset these risks.[footnote 63]

Media and expert commentary

Media and expert commentary has largely focused on the distinctiveness of the state-owned model, the likely sale of the corporation, and concerns that the failure to find a bidder raises doubts over the project's viability.

At the time of the legislation's introduction, the Australian Financial Review noted the striking differences between Victoria's and New South Wales' approach to major infrastructure procurement. As Mr Pallas introduced the Bill into Parliament to establish Victoria's first government-owned tolling company, his NSW counterpart, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, was looking to sell the state's remaining stake in the $16 billion WestConnex road project.[footnote 64]

Infrastructure lawyer David Donnelly, from Allens law firm, has been quoted several times saying the likely strategy for establishing the Corporation is a future sale after the road opens in 2027. He told the Australian Financial Review this approach exposes government to risks that traffic projections and revenue streams are overestimated, but also means the government is more likely to get full value for the tolling rights than if they were sold upfront. Speaking to The Age, he said: 'By separating the tolling rights ... it gives them [footnote the Victorian Government] the opportunity to build up some traffic data and prove demand so that hopefully those rights are more valuable than they would have been'.[footnote 65]

John Pesutto, Senior Fellow at the Melbourne School of Government and former shadow attorney-general, in a Herald Sun opinion piece, criticised the plan to establish a state-owned tolling corporation on three fronts. First, at a 'superficial level', he suggested it simply meant to 'anticipate and assuage' public antipathy towards tolling titans like Transurban. Second, and more significantly, he echoed Mr Rawnsley's concerns that overestimated traffic volumes would expose the government to raising tolls. Third, Mr Pesutto pre-empted that the toll rights will be sold anyway, speculating it may lose out on a better deal that may be struck if toll rights formed part of the contract sold to private bidders now (a position not supported by the Business Case). Mr Pesutto further argued that threats by construction firm Jon Holland to pull its bid from the project in its dispute with the Victorian Government over risk allocation, indicates 'issues of risk … have become so intractable [footnote on this project] bidders would rather withdraw than secure the tender'.[footnote 66]

In an editorial, the Herald Sun agreed with the Minister for Transport Infrastructure that 'a government body to collect the tolls will at least keep that revenue in public hands to help pay massive North East Link construction and maintenance costs', but acknowledged that 'questions about Labor's handling of the gigantic suite of projects now being rolled out to meet rampant population growth are also beginning to mount'. The newspaper argued 'toll settings should reflect a non-profit approach to recoup construction costs and must not become a Trojan horse to foist tolls on other, new arterial builds [footnote sic] without public mandate'.[footnote 67]

Industry

Infrastructure Australia elevated the North East Link as a High Priority Project in October 2018, giving a 'green light' to the project's business case released earlier that year.[footnote 68] Being included under this category on the Infrastructure Priority List deems the project a nationally significant investment that Australian needs over the next 15 years.

While Transurban, the owner of CityLink, ruled itself out of potentially building North East Link in February 2019, at the time the company's chief executive Scott Charlton said Transurban would be open to 'look at how we can support the government through operations or tolling' in the future.[footnote 69]

Party responses

Responding to the government's legislation for a state tolling corporation, the Shadow Minister for Transport Infrastructure, David Davis, raised concerns over the government's ability to manage major projects. He was quoted in the Herald Sun saying: 'Labor botched Myki, wasting hundreds of millions of Victorian taxpayers' money. Why would Victorians trust Labor to set up another new toll company without stuffing it up?'.[footnote 70] Earlier in the year, Mr Davis issued a media release that drew attention to Infrastructure Australia's listing of East West Link as a 'high priority' project to be completed in the next five years, as opposed to the North East Link, listed as a priority to be delivered in the next ten years.[footnote 71]

Rod Barton MLC, of the Transport Matters Party, has raised questions about possible slight modifications to the route to save the relocation of Bulleen businesses.[footnote 72]

The Victorian Greens have called for the scrapping of the North East Link in favour of building a Melbourne Metro 2 Rail Project.[footnote 73] In December 2016, a Parliamentary Budget Office policy costing, requested by the Greens, estimated that cancelling the North East Link would increase the state's budgeted net position by almost $15 billion.[footnote 74]

The Nationals have drawn attention to delayed and underfunded roads in Gippsland, which are estimated to be a fraction of the cost of the North East Link.[footnote 75]

The Liberal Party, Transport Matters Party and the Victorian Greens have all expressed concern over the North East Link project in relation to its Environmental Effects Statement.[footnote 76]

Other jurisdictions

Australian toll roads

Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland are the only Australian states with toll roads. All have been built as public-private partnerships, with the private firm retaining control of the toll revenue and risk. As discussed above, and reflected below, not all these operations have been successful, with several private operators failing in recent years and selling to a new owner. Transurban now has a monopoly on toll roads in Australia, with a majority ownership of 14 of the 19 toll roads.


Table 1: Australian toll roads

State

Name

Length (km)

Original Owner[footnote 77]

Majority Owner

Operator[footnote 78]

Under concession until

VIC

CityLink

22.0

Transurban

Transurban

Transurban

2045

EastLink

39.0

Connect East Pty Ltd.

Horizon Roads[footnote 79]

ConnectEast Group

2043

West Gate Tunnel (project)

17

Transurban[footnote 80]

Transurban

Transurban

2045

NSW

City Cross Tunnel

2.1

CCT Motorways[footnote 81]

Transurban (100%)

Transurban

2035

M1 (Eastern Distributer)

1.7

Airport Motorway Pty Ltd

Transurban (75.15%)

Transurban

2048

M2 (Hills)

21

Hills Motorway Pty Ltd

Transurban (100%)

Transurban

2048

Lane Cove Tunnel

3.6

Connector Motorways[footnote 82]

Transurban (100%)

Transurban

2048

M5 (South West)

22

Interlink Roads Pty Ltd

Transurban (50%)

Transurban

2026

M7 (Westlink)

40

Western Sydney Orbital Pty Ltd

Transurban (50%)

Transurban

2048

New M4

7.5

 

Transurban (25.5%)

Transurban

2060

North Connex (under construction)

9

Transurban (50%)[footnote 83]

     

WestConnex (under construction)

Consists of:

§ M4 East

§ New M5

§ M4-M5 link

 

Sydney Transport Partners[footnote 84] (51%)

     

QLD

Airport Link M7

6.7

BrisConnections[footnote 85]

Transurban Queensland[footnote 86]

Transurban

2053

Clem7

6.8

RiverCity Motorway[footnote 87]

Transurban Queensland

Transurban

2051

Gateway Motorway

23.1

Queensland Investment Corp.

Transurban Queensland

Transurban

2051

Logan Motorway

38.7

Logan Motorways Pty Ltd

Transurban Queensland

Transurban

2051

Toowoomba Bypass

41

Department of Transport and Main Roads[footnote 88]

Department of Transport and Main Roads

Transurban on behalf pf the Department of Transport and Main Roads

N/A

Go Between Bridge

300m

Brisbane City Council

Transurban Queensland

Transurban

2063

Legacy Way

4.6

Brisbane city Council

Transurban Queensland

Transurban

2065


International toll roads

Victoria's plan to operate a state-owned tolling corporation is also largely distinct from the tollways operated around the world, which remain, or have become, privatised over the past 30 years.

United Kingdom

While England has a prolific history of establishing toll roads, the collection of tolls on modern roads has been limited. The government has the authority to implement a toll on any road that has received consent for construction under the Planning Act 2008. Any revenue generated from tolls goes to the highway authority and must be used for the road network or related transportation measures. Local authorities may introduce tolls on roads, but only if there is a local transport plan in place to achieve such aims as reducing congestion or preventing traffic growth. The London congestion charge implemented in 2008 was introduced under such provisions. Tolls by private companies are regulated by the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991. This Act provides that in return for financing, constructing, building, or maintaining a road, the operator may charge a toll. These powers have barely been used. Only one section of the M6 corridor is subject to tolls, a section of the road built, owned and operated by Midland Expressway Ltd, under a 53-year concession.[footnote 89]

United States

The US has had a long history of toll roads, including an infrastructure boom before World War II financed largely by tolls. However, legislation in 1956 for a national highway system was based on tax funding.

More recently, because of a growing infrastructure deficit and a perceived shortage of public funding, there is increasing interest in using tolls to finance road construction, with a large number of federal demonstration and pilot programs. For example, in 2005, the state of Indiana sold a 75-year tolling concession on the East-West Toll Road in order to raise funds for further road building. It was purchased through a joint venture between Cintra, a Spanish construction firm, and Macquarie Atlas Roads, for US$3.8 billion. This was $1 billion more than the next bid and proved to be based on unrealistic traffic forecasts.[footnote 90]

France

Many French highways are funded by tolls and are managed by private companies under a concession system. Article L122-4 of the French Code of the Road System states that 'the use of highways is free in principle'; however, it also states that the State may install toll systems to help finance the construction, management, maintenance and development of that infrastructure.[footnote 91] The Caisse nationale des autoroutes (CAN) (National Highway Fund) facilitates the financing of highways, and gives out loans for the purpose of construction and managing highways. In 2011, approximately 75 per cent of French highways had concessions.

Japan

The expressways system across Japan is largely tolled. It was intended that the system become toll free when the national expressway was completed, and debts repaid. From the 1950s, highways were constructed by statutory highway corporations which accumulated large debts and were reorganised in the early 2000s, with a government body to toll the existing assets and six private companies to build new roads and collect tolls. These private companies pay the government a lease fee which depends on the volume of traffic, so the risk remains with the government.[footnote 92]

Italy

Italy has an extensive toll road network, which has been constructed and operated almost exclusively by semi-public companies with concession grants from Arienda Nazionale Autonoma delle Strade (ANAS). Most of the toll roads are in the more industrialised north. In the early 1990s the government privatised these companies.[footnote 93] In 2010, the toll system for federal highways and motorways previously managed by ANAS was changed from a concessionaire-operated toll system to a free-flow collection system. Concessionaires have been required to pay an annual fee to the state.

China

Tolling has been an important feature of the massive expansion of China's highway network in recent decades. Only a small share of funding has been provided by the central government for building the road network. Tolling revenue is required by law to be limited to the building and operation of highways. The Regulations on Administration of Toll Roads states tolls may be collected on two kinds of highway. The first are highways built by local governments that have borrowed from enterprises and individuals. These roads can be tolled for up to 15 years, with an extension to 20 years if in a western or central province. The second type are commercially operated highways constructed with investments provided by domestic or foreign firms. These roads can be tolled for up to 25 years, with an extension to 30 years in a central or western province.[footnote 94]


References

Relevant legislation

Victoria

The North East Link Bill 2020seeks to amend the following Acts:

§ Accident Towing Services Act 2007

§ Borrowing and Investment Powers Act 1987

§ Children Youth and Families Act 2005

§ Criminal Procedure Act 2009

§ EastLink Project Act 2004

§ Fines Reform Act 2014

§ Heavy Vehicle National Law Application Act 2013

§ Infringements Act 2006

§ Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009

§ Melbourne City Link Act 1995

§ Road Management Act 2004

§ Road Safety Act 1986

§ Transport Integration Act 2010

§ West Gate Tunnel (Truck Bans and Traffic Management) Act 2019.

Other jurisdictions

§ Commonwealth Act 1904 (Cth)

§ NSW Amendment Act 2001 (NSW)

§ Heritage Regulation 2006 (ACT)

Parliamentary Debates

Brooks, C. (2012) 'Bulleen: freeway link', Debates, Victoria, Legislative Assembly, 24 May.

Pallas, T. Treasurer (2020) 'Second reading speech: North East Link Bill 2020', Debates, Victoria, Legislative Assembly, 4 March.

Media

(2008) '6 Billion Super Link', Herald Sun, 8 December.

(2010) 'Lane Cove Tunnel sold for $630 million', ABC News, 10 May.

(2011) 'Horizon takeover of ConnectEast approved', Sydney Morning Herald, 27 September.

(2019) 'Seven ways the 1969 Transportation Plan shaped Melbourne', RMIT University, 12 December.

(2020) 'Wary of Trojan horse', Herald Sun, 6 March.

AAP (2014) 'Cross City tunnel sold to Transurban for $475m', Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March.

Atfield, C. (2017) 'Gap between Brisbane tunnel expectation and reality continues to widen', Brisbane Times, 9 March.

Burton, T. (2020) 'Tale of two cities as road tolls first for Victoria', Australian Financial Review, 9 March.

David, R. (2020) 'Your guide to the NE link', Maroondah Leader, 3 March.

Davies, L. & I. Woodcock (2019) '50 years on from the Melbourne Transportation Plan, what can we learn from its legacy', The Conversation, 9 December.

Edwards A. (2014) 'Queensland Motorways sells for more than $7b to private consortium', ABC News, 25 April.

Hamilton, I. (1973) 'Freeways slashed', The Herald, 28 March.

Hatch, P. (2019) 'Transurban rules itself out of North East Link build', The Age, 12 February.

Hore, M. and M. Johnstone (2019) 'Transurban to toll CityLink for another decade', Herald Sun, 6 March.

Jacks, T. (2019) 'NE Link financial warning', The Age, 28 July.

Jacks, T. and B. Priess (2020) 'Link road builder looks to shift risk', The Age, 5 March.

Letts, S. (2015) Brisbane's troubled Airportlink sold for $2.8 billion less than construction cost, ABC News, 24 November.

Lucas, C. (2011) 'Baillieu shelves transport plan', The Age, 7 January.

Lucas C. (2020) 'Councils justified in Link legal challenge', The Age, 12 February.

Lucas C. & Jacks T. (2020) 'Approval of "draft" Link a mistake, say councils', The Age, 19 February.

Millar, R. and B. Schneiders (2016) 'Transurban: the making of a monster', The Age, 14 March;

Minear, T. and J. Dagge (2020) 'Councils unite over NEL issues', Herald Sun, 12 February.

Money, L. (1978) 'Freeway plan may be scrapped', The Herald, 2 August.

O'Sullivan, M. (2013)'Turning $3b into $618m: Brisbane's failed Clem7 tunnel sold off', Sydney Morning Herald, 27 September.

Pesutto, J. (2020) 'Infrastructure shadows lengthen', Herald Sun, 10 March.

Preiss, B. (2020) 'State to set up new toll road company for North East Link', The Age, 4 March.

Rooney, K. (2020) 'State keeps tolls at last: North East Link charges help pay for the project', Herald Sun, 5 March.

Rooney, K. (2020) 'State to collect tolls', Heidelberg Leader, 10 March.

Saulwick, J. (2013) 'Cross City Tunnel in administration'. Sydney Morning Herald, 13 September

Saulwick J., P. Hatch & L. Visentin (2018) 'Transurban wins bid for majority control of Sydney's WestConnex Transurban', Sydney Morning Herald, 31 August.

Walsh, N. (2013) 'Sydney's Cross City Tunnel enters voluntary administration, blames Government for financial woes', ABC News, 14 September.

Media Releases

Allan, J., Minister for Transport Infrastructure (2020) A new tolling structure to get on with North East Link,media release. 4 March.

Andrews, D., Premier (2017) Victorian Chamber – Premier's Speech, media release, 23 November.

Barton, R. (date unknown) Rework the North East Link to save Bulleen businesses and 1200 jobs says MP, media release.

Barton, R. (2019) North East Link – Dismay at early works, community hopes rest on recommendations, media release, 30 October.

Barton, R. (2019) North East Link "Lawyering Up" for EES panel hearings under fire, media release, 18 June.

Davis, D. (2020) Davis – Infrastructure Australia is talking, is Andrews listening? media release, 26 February.

Hibbins, S. (2019) North East Link approval highlights Victoria's broken environmental laws, media release, 6 December.

Hibbins, S. (2019) Scrap mega toll roads, build Metro 2 instead: Greens, media release, 25 February.

Infrastructure Australia (2018) Infrastructure Australian gives green light to North East Link business case, media release, 29 October.

O'Brien, D. (2019) Gippsland road projects delayed, unfunded by city-centric Labor, media release, 31 May.

O'Brien, M., Leader of the Opposition (2019) Daniel Andrews ignores his own EES, media release, 31 May.

Pallas T. (2015) Linking Melbourne Authority to Be Disbanded, media release, 7 January.

Ratnam, S. (2018) Budget an opportunity to learn the mistakes of past privatisation, media release, 10 April.

Reports

Boring, N. (2014) 'France', in The Law Library of Congress, Global Legal Research Center, National Funding of Road Infrastructure, Washington, Library of Congress.

Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, Toll Roads in Australia, information sheet, Canberra, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (2018) Annual Report 2017-18, Melbourne, DEDJTR.

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (2017) Annual Report 2016-17, Melbourne, DEDJTR.

Department of Transport (2019) Annual Report 2018-19, Melbourne, DoT.

Department of Transport (2013) East West Link Business Case, with input from the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF), Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD), VicRoads and Public Transport Victoria (PTV), Melbourne, DoT.

EastConnect (2009) Eastlink: Melbourne's Motorway Masterpiece, Dartford (UK), World Highways.

Ernst & Young (2008) The economic contribution of Sydney's toll roads to NSW and Australia, Sydney, Ernst & Young Australia.

Figueroa, D. (2014) 'Italy', in The Law Library of Congress, Global Legal Research Center National Funding of Road Infrastructure, Washington, Library of Congress.

Feikert-Ahalt, C. (2014) 'England and Wales' in The Law Library of Congress, Global Legal Research Center, National Funding of Road Infrastructure, Washington, Library of Congress.

Burcher, L. (2017) 'Road Tolls', Briefing Paper, no. SN442, London, House of Commons Library.

Infrastructure Victoria (2016) 'Victoria's 30-year Infrastructure Strategy', Melbourne, Infrastructure Victoria.

Inquiry and Advisory Committee (2020) North East Link Project, Melbourne, Planning Panels Victoria, October.

Inquiry and Advisory Committee (2017) West Gate Tunnel Project, Melbourne, Planning Panels Victoria, October.

North East Link Authority (2018) North East Link Business Case, Section 4: Taking Action, Melbourne, Victorian Government.

North East Link Authority (2019) North East Link Business Case: Appendix S, Procurement Options Assessment, Melbourne, Victorian Government.

The Metropolitan Transportation Committee (1969) The Transportation Plan, final report, Melbourne, The Committee.

T. Rawnsley (2019) North East Link Project – New Community Benefit Review. SGS Economics Planning

Senate Economics Reference Committee (2017) Toll roads: issues of building, finanding and charging, , final report, Canberra, The Committee, September.

Town Planning Committee (1953) Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme 1954, final report, Melbourne, The Committee.

Umeda, S. (2014) 'Japan', in The Law Library of Congress, Global Legal Research Center, National Funding of Road Infrastructure, Washington, Library of Congress.

US Federal Highway Administration (2017) Toll facilities in the United States, Washington, Office of Highway Policy Information.

Victorian Government (2013) Victoria – The Freight State, Melbourne, Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure

Victorian Auditor-General (2015) East West Link Project, Melbourne, Victorian Auditor-General, December.

Victorian Government (2008) The Victorian Transport Plan, Melbourne, Department of Transport.

Victorian Government (2017) Service Delivery: Budget Paper No. 3: 2017-18, Melbourne, Department on Treasury and Finance.

Victorian Parliamentary Budget Office (2019) West Gate Tunnel Project and CityLink tolls, Melbourne, Parliamentary Budget Office.

Victorian Parliamentary Budget Office (2019) Cancelling the North East Link, Melbourne, Parliamentary Budget Office.

Zhang, L. (2014) 'China', in The Law Library of Congress, Global Legal Research Center National Funding of Road Infrastructure, Washington, Library of Congress.

Works cited

Anderson, W.K. (1994) Roads for the People: A History of Victoria's Roads, South Melbourne, Hyland House.

Donnelly, D., N. Ng and T. Leschk (2016), 'Australia', in B. Wenieck & M. Saadi (eds) The Public-Private Partnership Law Review, Second Edition, London, Law Business Research.

Lay, M. (2003) Melbourne Miles: The Story of Melbourne's Roads., Melbourne, Australian Scholarly Publishing Press.

PwC (2017) Reimagining Public Private Partnerships, Sydney, PricewatershouseCoopers.

Transurban (2018), Submission to the Transport and Public Works Committee, Inquiry into the operations of toll roads in Queensland, August, Brisbane, The Committee.

The World Bank & Ministry of Construction Japan (1999), Asian Toll Road Development Program Review of Recent Toll Road Experience in Selected Countries and Preliminary Tool Kit for Toll Road Development, draft final report, The World Bank.

Websites

Department of Transport and Main Roads (2020) 'Toowoomba Bypass', DTMR website.

Infrastructure Australia (2018) Project Evaluation Summary: North East Link. Infrastructure Australia website.

North East Link Project (2020) 'North East Link Melways Map - April 2019', NELP website.

Peninsula Link (2020) 'FAQs', Peninsula Link website.

Transfield Holdings (2019) Investments: Melbourne CityLink, Transfield website;

Transurban (2020) 'Brisbane', Transurban website.

Transurban (2020) 'Melbourne', Transurban website.

Transurban (2020) 'Sydney', Transurban website.

Transurban (2020) '<href="#westgatetunnel">West Gate Tunnel', Transurban website.


Research &amp; Inquiries Service

Bill Briefs are produced by the Parliamentary Library's Research &amp; Inquiries service. They provide analysis on selected components of new Bills and topical issues in response to, and in anticipation of, the needs of Members of the Victorian Parliament.

Information in this document was current at the time of publication. It should not be considered as a complete guide to the particular subject or legislation covered. While it is intended that all information provided is accurate, it does not represent professional legal opinion. Any views expressed are those of the author(s).

Some hyperlinks may only be accessible on the Parliament of Victoria's intranet. All links are current and available as at the time of publication.

Enquiries:
Coordinator, Research &amp; Inquiries

Victorian Parliamentary Library &amp; Information Service

Parliament House

Spring Street, Melbourne

Telephone (03) 9651 8640
www.parliament.vic.gov.au



[footnote 1] R. David (2020) 'Your guide to the NE Link', Maroondah Leader, 3 March.

[footnote 2] M. Lay (2003) Melbourne Miles: The Story of Melbourne's Roads, Melbourne, Australian Scholarly Publishing Press; Town Planning Committee (1953) Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme 1954, final report, Melbourne, The Committee.

[footnote 3] The Metropolitan Transportation Committee (1969) The Transportation Plan, final report, Melbourne, The Committee.

[footnote 4] L. Davies &amp; I. Woodcock (2019) '50 years on from the Melbourne Transportation Plan, what can we learn from its legacy', The Conversation, 9 December; M. Lay (2003) op. cit.; (2019) Seven ways the 1969 Transportation Plan shaped Melbourne, RMIT University, 12 December; The Metropolitan Transportation Committee (1969) op. cit.

[footnote 5] I. Hamilton (1973) 'Freeways slashed', The Herald, 28 March; M. Lay (2003) op. cit., p. 201.

[footnote 6] L. Money (1978) 'Freeway plan may be scrapped', The Herald, 2 August.

[footnote 7] M. Lay (2003) op. cit., p. 201.

[footnote 8] ibid.

[footnote 9] (2008) '6 Billion Super Link', Herald Sun, 8 December.

[footnote 10] Victorian Government (2008) The Victorian Transport Plan, Melbourne, Department of Transport.

[footnote 11] C. Lucas (2011) 'Baillieu shelves transport plan', The Age, 7 January; C. Brooks (2012) 'Bulleen: freeway link', Debates, Victoria, Legislative Assembly, 24 May, p. 2364; Victorian Government (2013) Victoria – The Freight State, Melbourne, Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, p. 53.

[footnote 12] Infrastructure Victoria (2016) 'Victoria's 30-year Infrastructure Strategy', Melbourne, Infrastructure Victoria.

[footnote 13] Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (2017) Annual Report 2016-17, Melbourne, DEDJTR; Victorian Government (2017) Service Delivery: Budget Paper No. 3: 2017-18, Melbourne, Department on Treasury and Finance, p. 41.

[footnote 14] D. Andrews, Premier (2017) Victorian Chamber – Premier's Speech, media release, 23 November.

[footnote 15] D. Andrews, Premier (2017) North East Link – Victoria's biggest ever transport project, media release, 24 November.

[footnote 16] Inquiry and Advisory Committee (2020) North East Link Project, Melbourne, Planning Panels Victoria, October.

[footnote 17] T. Minear &amp; J. Dagge (2020) 'Councils unite over NEL issues', Herald Sun, 12 February; C. Lucas (2020) 'Councils justified in Link legal challenge', The Age, 12 February; C. Lucas &amp; T. Jacks (2020) 'Approval of "draft" Link a mistake, say councils', The Age, 19 February.

[footnote 18] D. Andrews, Premier (2018) Day one: North East Link Starts Now, media release, 26 November.

[footnote 19] P. Hatch (2019) Transurban rules itself out of North East Link build, The Age, 12 February.

[footnote 20] J. Allan, Minister for Transport Infrastructure (2019) World's best builders compete to build North East Link, media release, 2 September 2019.

[footnote 21] T. Jacks &amp; B. Priess (2020) 'Link road builder looks to shift risk', The Age, 5 March.

[footnote 22] T. Jacks (2020) 'States ready to go it alone one North East Link: Treasurer', The Age, 6 March.

[footnote 23] Lay (2003) op. cit., p. 44-47; W.K. Anderson (1994) Roads for the People: A History of Victoria's Roads, South Melbourne, Hyland House.

[footnote 24] Lay (2003), op. cit., p. 47.

[footnote 25] Ernst &amp; Young (2008) The economic contribution of Sydney's toll roads to NSW and Australia, Sydney, Ernst &amp; Young Australia, p. 9.

[footnote 26] D. Donnelly, N. Ng &amp; T. Leschk (2016) 'Australia', in B. Wenieck &amp; M. Saadi (eds) The Public-Private Partnership Law Review, Second Edition, London, Law Business Research, pp. 10-19.

[footnote 27] R. Millar and B. Schneiders (2016) 'Transurban: the making of a monster', The Age, 14 March; Transfield Holdings (2019) Investments: Melbourne CityLink, Transfield website; M. Hore and M. Johnstone (2019) 'Transurban to toll CityLink for another decade', Herald Sun, 6 March.

[footnote 28] EastConnect (2009) Eastlink: Melbourne's Motorway Masterpiece, Dartford (UK), World Highways.

[footnote 29] (2011) Horizon takeover of ConnectEast approved, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 September.

[footnote 30] Peninsula Link (2020) 'FAQs', Peninsula Link website.

[footnote 31] Department of Transport (2013) East West Link Business Case, with input from the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF), Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD), VicRoads and Public Transport Victoria (PTV), Melbourne, DoT; Victorian Auditor-General (2015) East West Link Project, Melbourne, Victorian Auditor-General, December, pp 22-29.

[footnote 32] Inquiry and Advisory Committee (2017) West Gate Tunnel Project, Melbourne, Planning Panels Victoria, October; Victorian Parliamentary Budget Office (2019) West Gate Tunnel Project and CityLink tolls, Melbourne, Parliamentary Budget Office.

[footnote 33] T. Pallas, Treasurer (2020) 'Second reading speech: North East Link Bill 2020', Debates, Victoria, Legislative Assembly, 4 March, p. 806.

[footnote 34] ibid.

[footnote 35] Explanatory Memorandum, North East Link Bill 2020, p. 1.

[footnote 36] J. Allen, Minister for Transport Infrastructure (2020) A new tolling structure to get on with North East Link, media release, 4 March.

[footnote 37] Kieran Rooney (2020) State keeps tolls at last: North East Link charges help pay for the project, Herald Sun, 5 March.

[footnote 38] ibid.

[footnote 39] T. Jacks &amp; B. Priess (2020) op. cit.

[footnote 40] B. Preiss (2020) State to set up new toll road company for North East Link, The Age, 4 March; North East Link Bill 2020, clause 58.

[footnote 41] Bill, Part 2, clause 8.

[footnote 42] It is also regulated by the Borrowing and Investment Powers Act 1987, and the Public Administration Act 2004; Financial Management Act 1994. Tolling enforcement is regulated by the Surveillance Devices Act 1999; Infringements Act 2006; Fines Reform Act 2014; and Road Safety Act 1986.

[footnote 43] These include the Level Crossing Removal Project, Major Roads Victoria, North East Link Project, Rail Projects Victoria and West Gate Tunnel Project. Department of Transport (2019) Annual Report 2018-19, Melbourne, DoT, p. 10; Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (2017) Annual Report 2016-17, Melbourne, DEDJTR, p. 6.

[footnote 44] T. Pallas (2015) Linking Melbourne Authority to be disbanded, media release, 7 January.

[footnote 45] Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (2018) Annual Report 2017-18, Melbourne, DEDJTR, p. 22.

[footnote 46] North East Link Authority (2018) North East Link Business Case, Section 4: Taking Action, Melbourne: Victorian Government, pp. 11-12.

[footnote 47] J. Saulwick (2013) 'Cross City Tunnel in administration'. Sydney Morning Herald, 13 September;N. Walsh (2013) 'Sydney's Cross City Tunnel enters voluntary administration, blames Government for financial woes', ABC News, 14 September; AAP (2014) 'Cross City tunnel sold to Transurban for $475m', Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March.

[footnote 48] ABC (2010) 'Lane Cove Tunnel sold for $630 million', ABC News, 10 May.

[footnote 49] M. O'Sullivan (2013) 'Turning $3b into $618m: Brisbane's failed Clem7 tunnel sold off', Sydney Morning Herald, 27 September; A. Edwards (2014) 'Queensland Motorways sells for more than $7b to private consortium', ABC News, 25 April; C. Atfield (2017) 'Gap between Brisbane tunnel expectation and reality continues to widen', Brisbane Times, 9 March.

[footnote 50] S. Letts, Brisbane's troubled Airportlink sold for $2.8 billion less than construction cost, ABC News, 24 November.

[footnote 51] North East Link Authority (2018) op. cit., pp. 11-2.

[footnote 52] Department of Transport (2013) op. cit., pp. 176-199.

[footnote 53] PwC (2017) Reimagining Public Private Partnerships, Sydney, PricewatershouseCoopers, p. 23.

[footnote 54] North East Link Authority (2018) op. cit., p. 11-16.

[footnote 55] ibid., pp. 11-27,28, 29.

[footnote 56] ibid.

[footnote 57] ibid. pp. 11-19.

[footnote 58] North East Link Authority (2019) North East Link Business Case: Appendix S, Procurement Options Assessment, Melbourne, Victorian Government, pp. S-33.

[footnote 59] North East Link Authority (2018) op. cit., pp. 11-19.

[footnote 60] ibid., pp. 11.25, 11.26.

[footnote 61] Mr Rawnsley's report summarises: Brisbane Airport Link – Forecasted opening traffic 136,000 vehicles per day, actual traffic 53,000 vehicles; Clem7 Tunnel in Brisbane – Forecasted opening traffic 126,000 vehicles per day, actual traffic 53,000 vehicles; Lane Cove in Sydney – Forecasted opening traffic 115,000 vehicles per day, actual traffic 58,000 vehicles; Cross City Tunnel in Sydney – Forecasted opening traffic 90,000 vehicles per day, actual traffic 34,000 vehicles.

[footnote 62] T. Rawnsley (2019) North East Link Project – New Community Benefit Review. SGS Economics Planning.

[footnote 63] For a discussion, see, T. Jacks (2019) 'NE Link financial warning', The Age, 28 July.

[footnote 64] T. Burton (2020) 'Tale of two cities as road tolls first for Victoria', Australian Financial Review, 9 March.

[footnote 65] P. Hatch (2019) op. cit.

[footnote 66] J. Pesutto (2020) 'Infrastructure shadows lengthen', Herald Sun, 10 March.

[footnote 67] (2020) 'Wary of Trojan horse', Herald Sun, 6 March.

[footnote 68] Infrastructure Australia (2018) Infrastructure Australian gives green light to North East Link business case, media release, 29 October. See also, Infrastructure Australia (2018) Project Evaluation Summary: North East Link, Infrastructure Australia website.

[footnote 69] P. Hatch (2019) op. cit.

[footnote 70] K. Rooney (2020) op. cit.

[footnote 71] D. Davis (2020) Davis – Infrastructure Australia is talking, is Andrews listening? media release, 26 February.

[footnote 72] R. Barton (date unknown) Rework the North East Link to save Bulleen businesses and 1200 jobs says MP, media release.

[footnote 73] S. Hibbins (2019) Scrap mega toll roads, build Metro 2 instead: Greens, media release, 25 February; S. Ratnam (2018) Budget an opportunity to learn the mistakes of past privatisation, media release, 10 April.

[footnote 74] Victorian Parliamentary Budget Office (2019) Cancelling the North East Link, Melbourne, Parliamentary Budget Office.

[footnote 75] D. O'Brien (2019) Gippsland road projects delayed, unfunded by city-centric Labor, media release, 31 May.

[footnote 76] S. Hibbins (2019) North East Link approval highlights Victoria's broken environmental laws, media release, 6 December; R. Barton (2019) North East Link – Dismay at early works, community hopes rest on recommendations, media release, 30 October; R. Barton (2019) North East Link "Lawyering Up" for EES panel hearings under fire, media release, 18 June; M. O'Brien, Leader of the Opposition (2019) Daniel Andrews ignores his own EES, media release, 31 May.

[footnote 77] Unless otherwise stated, the original owner is taken from: Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, Toll Roads in Australia, information sheet, Canberra, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

[footnote 78] All Transurban operator information is taken from the Transurban website.

[footnote 79] ConnectEast is now owned by Horizon Roads. It was purchased in 2011 for $2.17 billion. Horizon Roads in an investment vehicle managed by infrastructure investment manager CP2 who already owned or controlled 35 per cent of ConnectEast. Source: (2011) Horizon takeover of ConnectEast approved, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 September.

[footnote 80] Transurban (2020) '<href="#westgatetunnel">West Gate Tunnel', Transurban website.

[footnote 81] Cross City Motorway purchased the tunnel in 2007 after the original owner collapsed due to lower usage numbers. City Cross Motorways is owned by the Bank of Scotland, EISER Infrastructure and Leighton Contractors. The tunnel was then purchased by Transurban in 2014. Source: N. Walsh (2013) op. cit.; AAP (2014) 'Cross City tunnel sold to Transurban for $475m', Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March.

[footnote 82] Transurban purchased the Lane Cove Tunnel after Connector Motorways was unable to meet debt repayments as traffic volumes did not meet the original forecasts of 100,000 per day. Source: (2010) 'Lane Cove Tunnel sold for $630 million', ABC News, 10 May.

[footnote 83] Transurban (2020) 'Sydney', Transurban website.

[footnote 84]At time of purchase, Sydney Transport Partners was a consortium comprising: Transurban (50%), AustralianSuper (20.5%), Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (20.5%) and Tawreed Investments (9%). Source: J. Saulwick, P. Hatch &amp; L. Visentin (2018) 'Transurban wins bid for majority control of Sydney's WestConnex', Sydney Morning Herald, 31 August.

[footnote 85] Transurban purchased the AirportLink from BrisConnections in 2015 for $2 billion. Source: S. Letts (2015) Brisbane's troubled Airportlink sold for $2.8 billion less than construction cost, ABC News, 24 November.

[footnote 86] Transurban Queensland is comprised of Transurban (62.5%), AustralianSuper (25%) and Tawreed Investments, wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (12.5%). In 2014, they purchased Queensland Motorways for $7.057 billion. Queensland Motorways owned Gateway and Logan motorways, Go Between Bridge, Clem7 and Legacy Way tunnels. Source: Transurban (2018), Inquiry into the operations of toll roads in Queensland: Transurban Queensland submission, Transport and Public Works Committee, 7 August.

[footnote 87] In 2013, Clem7 was sold to Queensland Motorways for $618 million. At the time, Queensland Motorways, which is owned by the Queensland Investment Corporation controlled most of Brisbane's toll roads including the Gateway and Logan motorways, and Legacy Way. Source: M. O'Sullivan (2013), 'Turning $3b into $618m: Brisbane's failed Clem7 tunnel sold off', Sydney Morning Herald, 27 September. Queensland Motorways was sold to a consortium comprising Transurban, AustralianSuper and Tawreed Investments in 2014. Source: A. Edwards (2014) 'Queensland Motorways sells for more than $7b to private consortium', ABC News, 25 April.

[footnote 88] Transurban (2020) 'Brisbane', Transurban website; Department of transport and Main Roads (2020) 'Toowoomba Bypass', DTMR website.

[footnote 89] C. Feikert-Ahalt (2014) 'England and Wales' in The Law Library of Congress, Global Legal Research Center, National Funding of Road Infrastructure, Washington, Library of Congress,pp. 31-38; L. Burcher (2017) 'Road Tolls', Briefing Paper, no. SN442, London, House of Commons Library.

[footnote 90] Senate Economics Reference Committee (2017) Toll roads: issues of building, finanding and charging, final report, Canberra, The Committee, September, p. 11; US Federal Highway Administration (2017) Toll facilities in the United States, Washington, Office of Highway Policy Information.

[footnote 91] N. Boring (2014) 'France', in The Law Library of Congress, Global Legal Research Center, National Funding of Road Infrastructure, Washington, Library of Congress,pp. 40, 41.

[footnote 92] S. Umeda (2014) 'Japan', in The Law Library of Congress, Global Legal Research Center National Funding of Road Infrastructure, Washington, Library of Congress, p. 60.

[footnote 93] The World Bank, &amp; Ministry of Construction Japan (1999), Asian Toll Road Development Program Review of Recent Toll Road Experience in Selected Countries and Preliminary Tool Kit for Toll Road Development, draft final report; D. Figueroa (2014) 'Italy', in The Law Library of Congress, Global Legal Research Center National Funding of Road Infrastructure, Washington, Library of Congress,

[footnote 94] L. Zhang (2014) 'China', in The Law Library of Congress, Global Legal Research Center National Funding of Road Infrastructure, Washington, Library of Congress, p. 25.