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Infrastructure, Construction & Property

Amy Ryan, Lawyer, reflects on her involvement in the $6 billion Melbourne Metro project, which brought together a national team of 50 lawyers.

 

 

As a lawyer in MinterEllison’s Perth Infrastructure, Construction and Property (ICP) team, I have worked closely with both the Perth and national ICP team on a number of major matters for key clients of the firm. I was recently part of the team advising the Cross Yarra Partnership, the winning consortium on the Melbourne Metro Tunnel and Station public-private partnership.

In a nutshell

MinterEllison acted as the legal advisors to the Cross Yarra Partnership on a successful bid for a $6 billion package on the Melbourne Metro Tunnel and Station public-private partnership. We advised the Cross Yarra Partnership throughout the bid process and to financial close. Our role included advising the Cross Yarra Partnership on the finance, design, construction and maintenance the Tunnel and Stations Package for 25 years.

The Metro Tunnel Project will be Victoria’s biggest ever public transport project and Cross Yarra Partnership will deliver twin nine-kilometre tunnels and five new underground train stations at North Melbourne (Arden), Parkville, State Library, Town Hall and Anzac. The Metro Tunnel Project was complex and there were significant commercial and time pressures across all phases of the project.

The Metro Tunnel Project brought together over 50 lawyers from different business units across MinterEllison nationally. As a junior lawyer working on the Metro Tunnel Project, I had the amazing opportunity to work with experts from different teams and different offices which fast tracked my skills and my confidence.

What was my involvement?

I was exposed to all aspects of the Metro Tunnel Project on all phases of the project, from the preparation and submission of the Cross Yarra Partnership's successful bid, through to financial close.

For the duration of the Metro Tunnel Project, I worked directly with the Design and Construction lead partner, Kip Fitzsimon, to manage the Design and Construction Subcontract for the tunnels and stations. My role on the Metro Tunnel Project included: assisting with the preparation and review of key project documents, liaising directly with our client and other technical and legal advisors in relation to various legal issues and the general coordination of the project documents, assessing and providing comments on proposed departures to project documents, maintaining a register of outstanding legal issues, and attending client meetings and negotiations. 

I was seconded from Perth, to our Melbourne office for a total of three months to manage the Design and Construction work stream on the ground in Melbourne. I was responsible for the day-to-day coordination of the Design and Construction work stream. In addition to this, I was responsible for coordinating and collating the wider legal documents for Cross Yarra Partnership's bid submission and response during the State clarification process. During this time, I had direct contact with our client, other key commercial and technical advisors engaged by our client, as well as partners and lawyers from other firms involved in the Metro Tunnel Project.

Key takeaways

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Working on the Metro Tunnel Project gave me the opportunity to work together with industry experts from across a number of different areas. I have been both surprised and extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to build client relationships, as well as an internal network of colleagues from our various national offices at such an early stage in my career.

By working closely with the project team, and attending negotiations, I gained invaluable insight into the practical and commercial drivers behind the key project documents. The opportunity to attend meetings and negotiations with lawyers and other commercial advisors gave me a unique opportunity observe and understand how and why decisions are made and what each party's motivations are.

Just by walking down the streets of Melbourne's CBD it is clear how significant the Metro Tunnel Project is for Victoria, so it was a privilege to play a role in bringing the Metro Tunnel Project to fruition. The Metro Tunnel Project embodies exactly what it is that I enjoy about working in ICP – the work that we do is tangible and we get to see our work come to life and impact the face of our cities.

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