Australia: Corrs High Vis: Episode 21 – Global Infrastructure (Part Two)

This week we feature the second of a two-part look at the challenges facing global infrastructure finance. Corrs CEO John Denton, who is First Vice Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce and Co-Chair of the B20 Infrastructure taskforce, sits down with Senior Associate Melanie Bond.

The podcast series, brought to you by the Corrs Construction team, offers analysis and insights to help you make smarter decisions.

These podcasts do not provide legal or other advice. Obtain legal or other professional advice as required.


David Hastie: Commentator

Melanie Bond: Corrs Chambers Westgarth Senior Associate, Construction

John Denton: Corrs Chambers Westgarth - CEO

DAVID: Hello and welcome to part two of our two-part series of Corrs High Vis. My name is David Hastie and I am joined again by Corrs Senior Associate Melanie Bond and Corrs' CEO John Denton. In part two there is an underlying theme and that particular theme I would say, Mel, is the need for regulatory consistency.

MELANIE: That is right David, in part two we are going to discuss two areas of controversy in the infrastructure investments market. The first is looking at the role of multi-lateral development banks and how effective they are at facilitating private sector infrastructure investment. The second thing we are going to discuss is regulation of infrastructure investment. The period since the GFC has been a regulator's dream, there has been so much regulatory activity in the financial system and what lessons are there from this activity for infrastructure investment?

DAVID: Fantastic, Mel. Okay, let's get to it.

MELANIE: So we talked a bit about the rolls of governments in facilitating infrastructure investment. I thought it might be useful to turn to multi-lateral development banks because they have been key players in project financing. Some people say that the banks are actually crowding out private sector involvement in infrastructure projects. Do you have any thoughts on that?

JOHN: Well I have thoughts about multilateral development banks and their role. In fact, it was an issue we discussed and truly on the agenda of B20 and the particularities about what can we do to improve the prospects, I guess you are talking about Malawi and Madagascar, Kenya and Tanzania but I can broaden out a little bit. What can we do to improve the prospects to enable greater private sector investment particularly in merging developing countries and part of that is helping the MDBs to realise that part of their role is to actually to prepare an environment which enables the private sector to invest and by that it is investing in supporting the capability bill in those economies that gives people more confidence about investment regimes and that is actually one of the recommendations that came out of B20. It is pleasing that I think the World Bank is recognising that now and is doing something about it and the Asian Development Bank is doing something about that. What is interesting I think will be where the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank will play in this space which is you know the Chinese originated idea and they had a different mandate to the world and other bank. They are not actually looking for necessarily environmental and sustainable projects they are using for commercially viable projects. I am over simplifying their mandate but that is quite a different place so it would be quite interesting to see how they participate in this as well, I mean as you know on one level one of the great opportunities for participation for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will be to support the $1.00 Development Road Initiative and we will see how that plays out as well. The challenge I think for us all particularly merging equalities to attract private sectors rather than be crowded out by the MDBs contract the private sector, the MDBs do have to recognise that one of their roles is to improve the capability and the environment for private sector investment and that that I suppose my earlier comments around the World Bank etc, I think that is recognised so that was a specific element of the B20 task force that I was on the recommendations.

MELANIE: I suppose you mean in terms of helping to educate or?

JOHN: Legal capabilities.


DAVID: Or building the capability of public service, building the capability for our probity on tender processes, all these things. Ultimately enforceability of contracts is very important. East Africa for example operates as an east African community. Holding that together having coherent regulatory frameworks east Africa, this is Africa etc, it is one of the big growth areas for the 21ST Century.

MELANIE: So I guess that brings me to my next question we do talk a lot about the need for regulatory consistency and consistency of implementation. We have had a lot of test cases for this since the GFC. There has been a lot of financial system reforms. Do you think there are any lessons to be learnt from the process that we have been through in the last 10 or so years?

JOHN: I think consistency is hard, coherence would help. Regulatory coherence will help and one of the lessons we have learnt is the danger of unintended consequences. So, if you actually look about this issue about re-waiting capital risk which comes out of the FSB Project process, there are unintended consequences. One has been the way in which trade finance is weighted as a risk. Trade Finance underpins, SME-based economies. Principally, if you look at Asia Pacific economic community one of its remarkable features is the dominance of SME's and what is called micro enterprises. They often operate as very, very small trading plays or farms or etc. The way in which they finance there trade export section through Trade Finance what we are seeing is one of the consequences of the deliberations of the FSB is that those instruments are waited the same level of risk probably as complex derivatives and so what that means is the cost of them goes up and the access goes down and so that is to squeeze on trade that was underpining the agents of the economic community is the trading economy as well and if this is the critical component, I mean I am drawing a very big picture and with very broad strokes here but the SMEs and micro SMEs or whatever you call them - This is an unusual feature of this region in particular the dominance of that as an economic component. Anything you do that impedes its capacity to grow will impede growth in Asia Pacific.

MELANIE: So it is striking that appropriate balance between stability and growth.

JOHN: Well actually it is a name on the prime section anticipating those discussions as to those regulatory coherence is sought rather than bunch of wise gnomes in Basel sitting down and determining these things. There needs to be lightening days with the primary sector. More broadly based than just the financial services sector.

MELANIE: So giving business a seat at the table and then ...?

JOHN: Well this is just a thermaseat at the table so it has to bring ideas and also has to act in the broader interests but I think it is fair to say and if you look how the G20 has shifted over time the business community understands that this concept of inclusive growth which is critical to actually enable political capital to be developed by leadership because inclusive growth means that you are acting in the best interest of the whole of your community is very important because actually without it you would undermine your licence to operate which is why the Sustainable Development Goals under the UN is so critical. Interestingly Australian business is not fully engaged and don't fully understand what is going on there and I think that is a challenge for the business community more broadly to understand the Sustainable Development Goals could really be called the "Business Development Goals" resist helps political leaderships to actually get the political capital by focussing on things that would actually improve the lives of all their their citizens, so getting on board is very important...

DAVID: Melanie, John thank you very much for your time for your time and your insight. Thanks for joining us. My name is David Hastie and thank you all for listening. We look forward to joining us for the next episode in 2018 where I will be joined by Corrs Construction partner Ben Davidson for a look ahead at the short, mid and long term forecast for Australia's construction and infrastructure industry.

This podcast is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should always obtain advice about your specific circumstances.

This podcast is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should always obtain legal advice about your specific circumstances.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Chambers Asia Pacific Awards 2016 Winner – Australia
Client Service Award
Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (WGEA)

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions