An Evaluation of Private Sector Provision of Public Infrastructure in Australian Local Government



Private sector provision of public infrastructure in Australia at all levels of government, including local government, has steadily increased over the past twenty years. Nevertheless, this method of providing public infrastructure remains controversial. This article seeks to provide a critical review of the arguments surrounding private sector provision of infrastructure in Australian local government. It examines both the case for private sector provision of municipal infrastructure in Australia and the major arguments advanced against this approach to infrastructure development. Given the conceptual argumentation and empirical evidence on private municipal infrastructure provision, it is argued that policy makers should employ a nuanced performance evaluation framework to assess the benefits and weaknesses of private provision on the basis of the specific type of infrastructure in question and the kind of services it provides rather than simply endorse carte blanche privatization.