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Accounting Choice and Theory in Crisis: The Case of the Victorian Desalination Plant

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Australian Accounting Review

Published online on


This paper traces the financial developments of the desalination plant in the State of Victoria in Australia. The desalination plant was built via a public–private partnership (PPP) vehicle, and commissioned at a time when water storage levels in the state were low. Subsequent rainfall has meant that no water has yet been ordered by the Victorian Government from the plant. In the paper an analysis is undertaken of the impact of the manner in which accounting treatment has been used in valuing this infrastructure asset. It is concluded that the applied accounting policy choices and treatments for this infrastructure asset are not consistent with conventional accounting theory, the Conceptual Framework for accounting or generally accepted accounting principles.