Lessees sought for Sydney desalination plant

The government of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has called for registrations of interest (ROIs) for the long-term lease of Sydney's three-year-old 250,000 m³/d desalination plant.

NSW treasurer Mike Baird invited the bids on 16 November 2011, saying that the funds obtained would be reinvested in NSW infrastructure.

Baird said ROIs would be assessed against specific criteria to identify parties who could continue to operate the desalination plant in a responsible and reliable way so that it continued to produce high quality drinking water, while also ensuring that the transaction delivered the best value to the state.

"The desalination plant is an integral part of the water supply-demand balance delivered by the Metropolitan Water Plan to ensure Sydney's long-term water security. The refinancing will ensure that the plant continues to operate when it's needed, under the rules established by the plan," said Baird.

"We will also ensure that the government continues to have the flexibility to expand the capacity of the plant in the future, if this is needed," he added.

The refinancing will be managed by a steering committee chaired by Sydney Water along with representatives from the Department of Premier & Cabinet, NSW Treasury, the Department of Finance & Services and independent expert advisers - Goldman Sachs, KPMG and Mallesons Stephen Jaques.

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