Last Updated:
1 Dec 2021

Risk allocation in the private provision of public infrastructure, International Journal of Project Management

Communities benefit most from the private provision of public infrastructure when project risks are distributed appropriately between private and public sectors. This is not easy given the technical, legal, political and economic complexity of infrastructure projects and the range of constituencies involved. Too often, risks are under estimated and allocated to parties without the knowledge, resources and capabilities to manage them effectively. The result is increased costs, project delays and services which fail to deliver value-for-money to the community. This paper presents a case study of the controversial $920 million New Southern Railway project in Sydney, Australia. It analyses the rationale behind decisions about risk distributions between public and private sectors and their consequences. It also demonstrates the complexity and obscurity of risks facing such projects and the difficulties in distributing them appropriately. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations to better manage risks in such projects.