Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Infrastructure in an era of change

With the Federal Government looking to smooth the transition from the mining investment boom to a more diverse and broad-based economy, the private sector is being increasingly called upon to develop and maintain roads, ports, pipelines, power and other essential infrastructure assets.

The Government’s announcement of the ‘Smart Cities’ project, seeks to partly fund infrastructure including Sydney's second airport, Melbourne Metro Rail and Brisbane's Cross River Rail, while remaining vague on detail.

In this period of increased focus and rapid change, The Tax Institute’s National Infrastructure Conference remains only event focused entirely on the tax issues affecting infrastructure. 

We spoke with Jillian Gardner of Macquarie Group, who will be take part in a panel discussion at the conference with Karen Forster, CTA, REST Industry Super, Brendan O’Brien, CTA, AMP Capital and Andrew Helm, Future Fund Management Agency about what to expect from the conference. 
Based in Sydney, Jillian work as a Division Director in the Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets Division (MIRA) of Macquarie. MIRA manages more than 45 funds with A$138 billion of assets under management in infrastructure, real estate, agriculture and energy. 
Jillian told us that her panel session, Outbound Infrastructure Investment, ‘is primarily structured to provide insights from a group who manage global tax risk’. Australian institutional outbound investment is growing, and infrastructure funds need to understand and cater for their Australian investor base. The panel will discuss the common issues that arise for fund structures and co-investment deals in respect of European and US infrastructure assets.
Asked about the specific appeal of this conference, Jillian said ‘“Tax” covers such a broad range of topics, skills and experience that it is important for the sub-specialties like infrastructure to come together and discuss the issues relevant to it.’
When asked which other sessions at the Conference she was most interested in attending, Jillian noted ‘The agenda actually provides a long list of interesting sessions – it is too hard to pick!’
With the conference program covering everything from the meaning of “control” in the context of public trading trusts and the thin capitalisation rules, to BEPs and global infrastructure, as well as financing stapled structures, tax sharing and tax funding agreements, and an update on the managed investment trust (MIT) and a session on the ATO’s perspective on infrastructure investment from Jeremy Hirschhorn, you can see why it is difficult to choose.
The 2016 National Infrastructure Conference takes place over two days, on 26-27 May, at The Langham in Melbourne. Featuring 10 sessions, it includes 10 structured CPD hours. Find out more.