Three shortlisted for Australia's largest transport PPP

Melbourne Metro, a A$10.9bn project, is expected to generate returns of up to A$1.5 for every dollar invested.

Three bidders have been shortlisted to deliver the first stage of works on the Melbourne Metro Rail PPP project, the biggest public transport infrastructure project in Australia. 

The selected contenders are CPB Contractors, formerly known as Leighton Contractors; a joint venture between John Holland Group and KBR; and another tie-up comprising Lend Lease Engineering and Coleman Rail. 

The early-works package includes the relocation and protection of underground services such as gas, sewer and water mains, the relocation of trees and other road features, and the design and construction of access shafts. 

Shortlisted bidders will be requested to submit a formal proposal in the second quarter of 2016. A contract will be awarded in mid-2016, with construction to commence soon after. 

Construction works will be delivered through a series of packages. The largest bundle will include the design and construction of the twin 9km rail tunnels and five underground stations as well as the provision of private finance and maintenance during the operating term. These works will be delivered via an availability-based PPP.

A total of 44 organisations from 11 countries have formally registered their interest in the largest package. Six out the top 10 construction companies in the world are among the suitors. Four Australian firms, including Lend Lease, Thiess, Brookfield Multiplex and CPB, have expressed their interest as well. 

The A$10.9 billion ($7.86 billion; €7.23 billion) Melbourne Metro will return up to A$1.5 for every dollar invested, generate 4700 jobs during peak construction and create space for nearly 40,000 extra passengers every morning and evening peak, according to a statement disclosing the project's business plan. 

“After four long years under the former Liberal Government, who ignored then abandoned this critical project, we’re getting on with it,” said Jacinta Allan, Minister for Public Transport.

Victoria's Labor government, which has already pledged A$4.5 billion to Melbourne Metro, is seeking a matching A$4.5 billion commitment from the Liberal-led federal government.