Inspire : Public Works July Aug 2014
Group is now turning to those very operators to fund the project. Shire of Halls Creek is currently working with Cranleigh Merchant Bankers to generate a business model for building the Tanami Road as a toll road. Under the proposed model, heavy vehicle operators would be charged to use the newly sealed road at a cost that would represent only a portion of the savings operators stand to gain from using the shorter, sealed route -- in fuel consumption, vehicle wear and tear, and operator time. "We see this principally as a cost-share exercise with the logistics sector and, from our early discussions with them, they're not opposed to the idea," says Kerr-Newell. "They're sensible enough to be happy to share the benefts with the people who build the roads." Deloitte has also been engaged to undertake an economic feasibility study for the public-private partnership, and engineering consultancy Opus is helping to come up with a revised estimation for the cost of sealing the road. “There are lots of numbers fying around as to what that cost might be," says Kerr-Newell. These numbers range from $36 million -- the estimated cost from the 14-year-old SKM report, which would translate to around $100 million today -- up to $500 million at the average cost of road construction in WA. "We thought it would be a good idea to get an idea not only of utilisation but also of cost," he says. While the logistics sector stands to beneft in an obvious way from a shorter, easier route to the Kimberley, there will be numerous spin-off benefts to the wider community from the project, the Tanami Action Group argues. For example, the current condition of the Tanami Road makes it very expensive to supply remote communities along the road with goods -- resulting in extremely high costs of living for the mostly low socio-economic communities. Sealing the road could also open up the area both for resource prospectors and tourism, and could even be of strategic beneft for Australia's defence forces by improving the link between the country's south-east and the north-west. "Public-private partnerships can be a great way of unlocking infrastr ucture that might be built in time with government money, but by unlocking private capital we can get ahead a bit faster," Kerr-Newell says. ••• 31 DOITONOUR ONLINE FORUMS: Visit goo.gl/L5r8OC to discuss this article. MORE TO ADD?
Public Works Sept Oct 2014
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