In the heyday of the Kennett government in Victoria ‘Public Private Partnerships’ were promoted as the ‘debt free’ way to fund public infrastructure. Although the idea that the public can get ‘something for nothing’ through these partnerships has now been widely discredited, most Australian governments still find the idea of shifting debt ‘off balance sheet’ attractive. The current Victorian government in particular, working in the shadow of alleged financial mismanagement by past Labor governments, seems to fear a backlash if it should run a budget deficit, or even fail to run a substantial surplus. Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are therefore seen as a way to produce larger surpluses and win kudos for good financial management. For those living in the shadow of PPPs the real cost of government debt-shifting soon becomes apparent writes Tristan Ewins.