The Queensland Government has unveiled a new policy for inviting, evaluating and supporting 'market-led' or 'unsolicited' proposals (MLP).
Released as part of the State Budget on Tuesday (14 July 2015), the new 'Project Assessment Framework: Guidelines for the assessment of market-led proposals' replaces the 'Exclusive Mandate' policy which previously formed part of the 'Queensland Government's Value for Money Framework'.
The policy, like its predecessor and interstate equivalents, is aimed at encouraging the private sector to approach the Queensland Government with unique proposals which may benefit from government support, while acknowledging that exclusive mandates will generally be the exception, and the normal approach will require market testing to demonstrate value for money. While a key focus is infrastructure delivery, the policy acknowledges that market-led proposals can cover a wide range of areas including delivery of services to government and access to government assets.
The Framework also sets out an 8 point pre-submission check list, a 3 stage process which the State will follow in assessing a MLP and a non exhaustive list of 9 criteria to be considered in assessing a MLP.
The new guidelines indicate that a MLP or proponent may be considered 'unique' and therefore warrant the granting of an 'exclusive mandate' if, for example:
- the proponent owns or controls land, intellectual property or other legal rights that limit competitors from being able to deliver the same outcomes;
- there are no competitors, or those currently in the market would be unable to deliver the same outcomes; or
- a combination of unique attributes are demonstrated by the proponent to create a unique proposal and constitute an innovative departure from previous practice.
The policy indicates that where it grants an 'exclusive mandate' to the private sector to develop an innovative proposal the Queensland Government will normally not accept any material project risks or make any service or facility payments to the proponent.
As part of its push to promote private investment in infrastructure the Queensland Government has also:
- established a new online portal for proponents to submit proposals for priority consideration;
- directed government agencies to give priority consideration to private sector collaboration to bring projects online; and
- established an expert panel of representatives from key government agencies, including Queensland Treasury, the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DILG) and Building Queensland, to take a 'whole of government' approach to assessing MLPs.