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Demand for new infrastructure will be especially high where the two classic signs of infrastructure shortfalls — congestion and overcrowding — are evident. Australia's ports and principal airports will require major upgrades and expansion to avoid gridlocking the nation's logistics network. Urban highway and rail networks will also require priority attention in order to deliver more efficient outcomes for commercial traffic and commuters.
Our infrastructure lawyers have unparalleled experience advising governments and the private sector on all aspects of port, airport, road and rail projects. We provide tailored and cross-disciplinary teams for the project lifecycle – from strategic input through to project delivery and dispute resolution – and seamlessly integrate specialists in real estate, planning, environment, construction, tax, finance, competition and regulatory, insurance and dispute resolution to manage risk and achieve the best outcome for the project.
Port of Townsville Limited has commenced an expansion of the Port of Townsville to address current capacity constraints and accommodate forecast growth in trade over a planning horizon to 2040. We are assisting the Port of Townsville Limited in all matters associated with the $310 million upgrade of two major berths at the Townsville port including the project delivery method which is now proposed to be a competitive ECI. This project involves reclamation, general construction and upgrading of facilities.
Advised Railcorp and Transport for NSW (TfNSW) on rail access arrangements associated with the Railcorp Reform Program and the establishment of Sydney Trains and NSW Trains. This included reviewing and amending the standard rail access agreement to take account of the changed arrangements between RailCorp, TfNSW and Sydney Trains and the requirements of the Rail Safety National Law as well as assisting with negotiations with rail operators. We also assisted with rail access arrangements for Sydney Trains and NSW Trains to the NSW rail network and ARTC network.
Acted for Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) on preparing the new design and construction project deed for use on major projects. Work involved participating in workshops to discuss risk allocation and drafting the new form of contract in close consultation with the RMS legal and commercial teams.
Advising the New South Wales Government (NSW Treasury) on the refinancing of Port Botany and Port Kembla in NSW. The project is unique, involving the contemporaneous refinancing and long term lease of two major Australian ports. Our role includes extensive legal analysis of the existing assets and businesses and the regulatory landscape; recommending a transaction structure; drafting special transaction legislation; asset restructuring; preparing extensive interrelated transaction documents; tender process and negotiations; and implementation under legal project management. The project is complex and very significant for NSW.
Advised Port of Melbourne Channel Deepening, one of the largest infrastructure projects conducted by the Victorian Government in recent times, seen as critical to the Port and Australia's position in global shipping. As key advisers to the Port of Melbourne Corporation, we advised on many aspects of the project, including the Supplementary Environmental Effects Statement and managed the public hearing process Federal Court litigation over the Federal Government's environmental approval for the dredging, cultural and Aboriginal heritage issues, relocation of essential infrastructure under the Yarra River, the resolution of the alliance dredging contract, and land tenure issues relating to land assets affected by the project.
Acted for Transport for NSW on the Franchising Sydney Ferries project. This follows on from acting for the NSW Department of Transport & Infrastructure in the Sydney Ferries Market Review project in 2010. This was a high profile and politically sensitive project to implement the recommendations of the Walker report to franchise the iconic operation of the ferries on Sydney harbour. It involved the drafting of service contracts and the conduct of a tender process, extensive due diligence, evaluation and negotiation with three private sector consortia and, ultimately, completion of the transaction with the preferred tenderer and transition from Sydney ferries to the new private sector operator.
Acted for Golding Abigroup Joint Venture on the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal. The Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal is a key part of the development of the existing Port of Gladstone. Expected to cost over A$2.5 billion. The new facility provides the additional Gladstone export capacity needed to meet the expansion of the Surat Basin, and growth of mining in central Queensland, which is all focused on the coal demand worldwide. The Abigoup Golding Joint venture was contracted to undertake most of the bulk earthworks and civil works including the coal reclaim tunnels under a contract with final value of approximately A$400 million. We advised the Abigroup Golding JV in relation to various contract dispute issues which arose between the joint venture and the WICET SPV, a consortium of coal mining companies operating in Queensland. During the course of this project, the Principal had issued a number of variations in respect to the reclaim tunnel works. As a consequence, Abigroup Golding JV incurred additional costs in performing the works and suffered delays.
Advised Yuexiu Transport Infrastructure Limited (HKEx stock code: 1052) on its RMB1.9 billion acquisition of 70% equity interest in a PRC company which operates the Suiyuenan Expressway located in Hubei Province, China.
Acted for the NSW Department of Transport & Infrastructure in the Sydney Ferries Market Review project. This was a high profile and politically sensitive project to implement the recommendations of the Walker report into the operation of Sydney Ferries.
Assisted Toll in relation to its acquisition of the heavy haulage assets of Deeson Heavylift.
Advising Airservices Australia on the procurement of a replacement air traffic control system (OneSky) for the whole of Australia. Airservices Australia is working closely with the Department of Defence, with the joint objective of realising harmonisation between civilian and military air traffic control systems and operations.
Advised the Thiess John Holland Joint Venture Design and Construct contractor on issues arising in the project.
The cornerstone of the Brisbane Airport Corporation's infrastructure program for Australia's third-busiest airport is a new Parallel Runway, expected to be completed by 2020. The new runway will be 3.3km long, 60m wide and will have over 12km of taxiways, navigational aids and other airfield infrastructure. This is a multidisciplinary engineering project that requires a variety of technical and construction skills to complete. As the new runway will be built on what is currently swamp land, dredging and ground treatment work is required before construction of the runway can begin.
Minter Ellison is currently supporting BAC with the development and implementation of a procurement strategy for Stage 1 of the proposed A$1.3 billion runway.
Acted for Lidis Group as developer on the Lennox Bridge Carpark Redevelopment in Parramatta. The project involves the development of a riverfront precinct spanning both sides of Parramatta River, including foreshore parks and civic spaces, a discovery and convention centre, cafes and retail, and two residential towers (approximately 35,000 sqm GFA).
Minter Ellison was the sole legal adviser to NSW Treasury in relation to the $1.75 billion sale (by way of long term lease) and privatisation of Port of Newcastle, which is the world's largest coal export port. The A$1.75 billion restructure and refinancing transaction establishes a new benchmark in transaction preparation and execution, as reflected in the financial outcome which significantly exceeded market expectations. The transaction will free up much needed capital to help the NSW Government fund the revitalisation of the Newcastle CBD, and a backlog of other critical public infrastructure across New South Wales, including hospitals, schools and roads.
Advising Leighton Contractors, John Holland Group and Dragados S.A. on their shortlisted bid, as part of the Momentum Infrastructure consortium, for the design and construction elements of East West Link PPP project.
Minter Ellison Rudd Watts advised Next Capital (and the other shareholders) in the sale of 100% of the shares in Carriage Holdings New Zealand Limited. This is the top company in the group which operates urban, school and charter bus services throughout New Zealand under the "Go Bus" brand. Minter Ellison Rudd Watts were advisers to Next Capital in 2012 when the private equity group acquired this business.
Our Ports team is the leading legal specialists in this sector, with key roles advising on all recent major national port refinancing deals. Minter Ellison were the sole legal advisers to NSW Treasury in relation to the A$5.07 billion restructure and refinancing of the State-owned assets of Port Botany and Port Kembla, with proceeds from the transaction to be invested in the NSW Government's infrastructure fund, Restart NSW. That transaction completed on 31 May 2013.
Assisted Melbourne Airport in the tender and contract execution phase of its Southern Precinct Program. Our hands on role included initial contract preparation, review of the invitation to tender and other related documents, review of tender responses and finally negotiation and completion of the contract with Melbourne Airport's preferred tenderer, Leighton Contractors. The Southern Precinct Program involves the construction of a new terminal, carpark and road network at Melbourne airport and includes baggage handling facilities, check-in kiosks and retail areas. Work is expected to commence in October 2013. Minter Ellison has also assisted Melbourne Airport in its negotiations with the airlines that will operate from the new terminal. Our role has included initial contract preparation and direct involvement in the negotiation process.
Advised NSW Government in relation to a major restructure of the State's non-metropolitan rail system which included an investment of A$800 million+ in rail infrastructure by the Commonwealth Government. The arrangements effectively incorporated 3000kms of NSW interstate and Hunter Valley mainline railway track under the same operation and management as the interstate standard gauge mainline railway track. We also subsequently advised on commercial arrangements in relation to the take up by ARTC of the Metropolitan Freight Network and the Southern Sydney Freight Line.