Australia: Queensland Government's $59m investment in the Catalyst Infrastructure Program

Last Updated: 8 October 2015
Article by David Lewis and Suzy Cairney

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

On 16 September 2015, Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Jackie Trad, announced a $59.35 million investment in catalyst infrastructure through the Queensland Government's newly formed Catalyst Infrastructure Program.

What is the Catalyst Infrastructure Program?

The Catalyst Infrastructure Program, to be overseen by Economic Development Queensland, is open to local governments, utility providers and private proponents to apply for co-investment funding to develop catalyst infrastructure. This program, by offering co investment, is designed to facilitate catalyst infrastructure to drive economic benefit for Queensland while establishing partnerships with local governments and developers.

What is catalyst infrastructure?

Funding will only be provided to projects developing catalyst infrastructure. Catalyst infrastructure has been recognised by Economic Development Queensland to include roads, transport, water supply, wastewater, stormwater and sewerage, although this is not an exhaustive list.

Eligibility criteria for investment

In deciding what projects are entitled to co-investment funding, the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning has outlined five eligibility criteria.

  1. The proposed infrastructure must generate, facilitate or accelerate economic benefit. In determining whether projects foster economic development, interested proponents will be required to submit details of the project's economic impact, including its dollar value to residential, commercial or industrial development per area and an estimate of short and long term job creation.
  2. The proponent(s) must be co-investing between 10 and 50 per cent of the total direct costs.
  3. The proponent(s) must undertake to repay the Government's co-investment over a period of no greater than 15 years.
  4. Work on the proposed project is ready to be commenced within 12 months.
  5. The Proponent(s) can demonstrate financial capabilities to deliver the project and repay the funding investment.

Ms Trad has specifically indicated that the Catalyst Funding Program is "looking for shovel-ready projects which demonstrate significant flow-on economic benefits from the community.... Jobs and economic growth are key priorities".

How will the projects be assessed?

The projects will be assessed in two stages.

  1. Stage 1 consists of a preliminary assessment. Projects will be assessed and rated according to the assessment criteria and a determination will be made whether the project fits strategically into Queensland Government's infrastructure priorities.
  2. Stage 2 consists of a detailed assessment conducted by Economic Development Queensland. Economic Development Queensland will consider the scope of the infrastructure program, repayment of investment, memorandums of understanding and the economic benefit derived from the program. Further, Economic Development Queensland will assess submissions against the assessment criteria.

At the completion of stage 2, Economic Development Queensland will prioritise the projects according to economic benefit to Queensland and provide recommendations to the Minister for final approval. 

Next steps for successful proponents

If proponents are successful, they will be required to enter into an agreement with the State Government. Key features of the agreement will include information about funding the project, details of the approved project, conditions of funding, time frames, expenditure, accountability, governance and acquittal processes, forecast claim dates, reporting requirements and acknowledgment of government funding.

Once agreements are executed, the proponent and Economic Development Queensland will establish a project control group comprising of a representative from both the proponent and Economic Development Queensland. Specifically, the project control group will:

  1. confirm and agree on the delivery program for the works;
  2. review and approve the designs for the works and the progress;
  3. review and provide recommendations in relation to quotes and tenders for the design of the work; and
  4. provide direction to the proponent to rectify any breaches of the procurement process.

The proponents will then receive funding on an interest-free basis to be repaid over time. The general rule requires repayment to be made over a period of up to 15 years on either a periodic payment method or by payment at each plan sealing.

The Queensland Government promises that this new fund will drive economic growth by unlocking development opportunities and creating new jobs. 

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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