The 4350water Blog highlights some of the issues relating to proposals for potable reuse in Toowoomba and South East Qld. 4350water blog looks at related political issues as well.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Melbourne to have Australia's largest seawater desalination plant ...

The Australian:

Victoria's $3.5bn desalination plant to defy slump

31 July 2009

Victoria has pulled off what is said to be the biggest public-private partnership in the world since the global financial crisis began with the announcement of the successful tenderer for its $3.5billion desalination plant.

Infrastructure experts said the deal smashed the accepted norm that the most that could be raised for such projects since the crisis began was $500million, and it was being watched closely across the world.

The landmark desalination deal is a possible sign that the credit freeze is thawing and banks are preparing to increase the capital flow for attractive infrastructure projects.

Premier John Brumby announced yesterday that the AquaSure consortium -- comprised of French company Degremont and local constructor Thiess and financier Macquarie -- had won the right to build the plant.

To get the project across the line, the government has been forced to act as a lender of last resort if plans by AquaSure to syndicate about $2 billion of the debt by bringing in superannuation funds and other investors did not succeed. Mr Brumby said the project was fully funded and he did not expected this to be required. If it is called upon, the money would be sourced by Treasury in debt markets and passed on to the consortium at market rates.

The desalination plant -- which will be Australia's largest -- will be financed by NAB, Westpac and several international banks. Investors in China, Japan and Korea have also taken an equity stake. Mr Brumby praised the consortium for coming up with the finance during the financial crisis and said the 150 billion-litre-a-year plant would put Victoria on the road to removing water restrictions.

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