Western Australia launches schools PPP

Western Australia has launched its first school public-private partnership involving a package of eight public schools estimated at A$370m.

Western Australia’s education minister, Peter Collier, has called for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from private companies for a design-build-operate-maintain (DBOM) package for eight schools.

Four public primary schools and four public secondary schools are set to be built and maintained under Western Australia’s first public-private partnership (PPP) for schools, with a capital cost estimated at A$370 million (€257 million; $329 million).

Four new primary schools will be built in Landsdale East, Alkimos South West, Baldivis North and Byford South West. The new secondary schools are to be located in Ellenbrook North, Lakelands, Hammond Park and Harrisdale.

The private company will design and build the schools and maintain them over a 25-year period. In addition, the company will finance the design and construction.

Expressions of interest are to be filed by 5 November.

On announcement of the projects, Treasurer Mike Nahan and Collier both stressed the important differences between PPP arrangements and a private investment contract, emphasising the responsibilities and obligations that would weigh on the private partner.

“We want to get the best value for the huge investment we are making in public school infrastructure,” Nahan said.

“The Government does not commence payment until each school is operational and we can deduct payments if performance measures are not achieved,” Collier said.

“This will be a strong incentive for the company to deliver high quality schools on time and within budget, and ensure that ongoing maintenance is performed to a high standard.”

The PPP includes facilities management services such as waste disposal, utilities management, gardening, cleaning and security.

PPPs are used successfully in other states, with schools completed in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia under this model.

During the next four years, the state government is investing A$1.16 billion in new and improved public schools.