What we're doing
Costs and benefits of alternative growth scenarios for Sydney
Aug 2013The growth in Sydney could be accommodated in a variety of ways. In this project, TheCIE and ARUP consider the benefits and costs from alternative ways of accommodating part of this growth across infill areas and through different dwelling types. In particular, it considers scenarios based on alternative assumptions regarding population, dwellings and employment.
A copy of the report and scenario diagrams are available through the following link.
Adoption of ACIAR project outputs: studies of projects completed in 2007–08
Adoption studies are undertaken three to four years after a large project is completed to assess the level of uptake and the legacy of the project. They provide valuable insights into the uptake of project results and the impact on local communities. This adoption study looks at projects completed in 2007–08. Further information contact David Pearce and Amir Jilani
Taxi fare setting in Tasmania
15 Feb 2013TheCIE is advising the Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator on methods for setting taxi fares. Of critical importance is the link between licence restrictions, fares and the quality of service. This report recommends that prices should face downward pressure to reflect current taxi licence restrictions, so that the regulator is not building inefficient costs into the fares that taxi users pay. It also suggests consideration of greater autonomy for the taxi industry to determine its own price structure.
Economic benefits and costs of the proposed Basin Plan
TheCIE was enaged by the Murray Darling Basin Authority to evaluate the potential trade-offs between economic, social and environmental outcomes for each Sustainable Diversion Limit scenario presented in the Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan.
A copy of the report is available through the following link.
Urban water utility efficiency review
TheCIE conducted a tops-down review of the efficiency of SA Water compared to other water utilities in Australia. The work was undertaken for the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) to inform ESCOSA's initital regulatory arrangements for SA Water.
A copy of the report is available through the following link.
Cost Benefit Analysis of strategic regional landuse
In 2012, TheCIE conducted a study for the NSW Government (led by NSW Treasury) to develop a CBA framework for considering land use changes in regional NSW.
Such a framework will help to improve decisions about land allocation and ensure that these decisions are underpinned by robust evidence-based analysis.
It may also provide increased certainty for stakeholders about likely future land uses and allow more efficient investment decisions by all parties.
This involved significant consultation in the two regions with stakeholders on the key issues facing different landholders.
Review of SA Water's demand forecasts
In 2012, TheCIE was engaged by Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) to review demand forecasts developed on SA Water for its current regulatory determination.
SPAusnet Gas Demand Forecasting in Victoria
TheCIE developed a model to estimate gas demand forecasts to submit to the Australian Energy Regulator as part of the recent regulatory review of SP AusNet's gas distribution business in Victoria.
A copy of the report is available from the following link.
Benefits of building regulation reform: from fragmentation to harmonisation
Dec 2012Australia's building regulations are the product of two decades of development reform. Moving from a fragmented system based on State and Territory boundaries to a single prescriptive technical building code, then a performance-based building code, and finally the National Construction Code, has resulted in economic gains across the industry and the Australian economy. The greatest gains to reform have been reaped through the allowance of performance-based assessment of building options, followed by the harmonisation of jurisdictional requirements.
ACIAR Technical report on Food Security
Dec 2012Research funded by ACIAR is largely directed towards attaining food security. This report documents the food security issues in three of ACIAR’s focus areas: East Timor, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands. The studies help identify which problems are amenable to solutions, through research, development and extension.
ACIAR's activities in Africa: a review
Nov 2012ACIAR has a long history of working with countries in Africa. Given the increasing attention to food security in Africa, leading to the establishment of ACIAR’s Australian International Food Security Centre, it is timely to review ACIAR’s experiences in Africa to date. Reviewing past projects can help guide future investment decisions by highlighting the types of projects that deliver the best returns and by identifying some of the barriers faced in different countries
Including natural resource management and environmental impacts within impact assessment studies: methodological issues
Aug 2012This report provides an overview of the methodological issues involved in incorporating environmental and natural resource values within ACIAR’s economic impact assessments. Recent developments in analytical techniques have provided a sound basis for combining two parallel streams of research: tradition economic analysis of the environment, and the ‘ecosystem service’ approach to evaluation. These approaches are complementary, and they bring an added dimension to measuring the benefits attributed to ACIAR-funded research
Oil palm pathways: an analysis of ACIAR’s oil palm projects in Papua New Guinea
ACIAR has funded a range of oil palm projects in PNG. This report examines the pathways through which ACIAR’s portfolio of oil palm projects, in particular the socioeconomic and biocontrol clusters – have delivered benefits to the community
Payoffs from research and development along the Australian food value chain: a general equilibrium analysis
May 2012The payoffs and distribution of payoffs from research and development (R&D) along the food value chain depend on many interacting economic factors. To quantify these we have developed a general equilibrium model of the Australian economy with detailed farming, processing and marketing information. We use the model to assess potential payoffs and distributions from various R&D scenarios that lead to demand expansion and productivity improvement. We find that productivity improvement caused by R&D is unambiguously beneficial to the whole economy while the benefits of export or domestic market demand expansion mainly accrue to the primary producers and processing industry, when the economy is at full employment. Also, productivity improvement from R&D on-farm may benefit processors while improvements post-farm may benefit farmers. However the distribution of payoffs along the value chain differs by the nature of change that R&D induces, the products produced and the markets supplied to. Benefits from productivity growth on- farm for products requiring considerable processing will require processors to invest in more capacity, so farmers will need to share some benefits with the up-stream sector. The benefits of productivity growth in processing will increase the derived demand for farm products thus transferring benefits to farmers. To efficiently allocate R&D funds requires an understanding of these interactions.
Click here to view report online [pdf, 265KB]
Rice–wheat cropping systems in India and Australia, and development of the ‘Happy Seeder’
Apr 2012While India’s expansion of the rice–wheat cropping system led to the production of more food, it has also led to degradation of the natural environment, and concerns over the sustainability of the practice. This report looks at the returns on investment of ACIAR projects that sought to develop alternative practices for growing rice and wheat sustainably, and designing a machine that allows direct seeding of wheat into rice stubble
Feasibility of Implementing a Mandatory Nanotechnology Product Registry
TheCIE conducted a study on the feasibility of implementing a mandatory nanotechnology product registry for the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.
The impact of innovation on the dairy industry over the last 30 years
Nov 2011TheCIE has conducted a major evaluation of on-farm dairy RD&E over the past 30 years. Key findings are:
The taxation burden on the Australian new housing sector
Oct 2011TheCIE conducted a major review of taxes on housing for the Housing Industry Association in the run up to the Government's October 2011 Tax Forum.
State Water Corporation Demand Forecasting
TheCIE was engaged by State Water Corporation to develop demand forecasts for the purposes of its price submission to IPART. The study involved developing the projected water sales to the rural water sector (both irrigators and towns/industries). The study included examining the potential impacts on water extraction of alternative climate change scenarios from the CSIRO’s Sustainable Yield Projects using output data from the IQQM hydrology simulation models (including the Border Rivers catchment) to generate future forecasts of consumption under a range of future climatic conditions. It included consultation with district agronomists in NSW to understand irrigators potential responses to changes in future water availability.
View report online [pdf, 858KB]
Alternative Growth Paths
TheCIE was commissioned by NSW Department of Planning to conduct an analysis of the benefits and costs of alternative urban growth paths for Sydney.
Carbon price comparisons
15 Dec 2010This report considers some broad methodological issues involved in comparing carbon prices between countries. A key point to emerge is that price comparisons must have a very clear and well defined purpose or objective. Empirical measures without a clear underlying objective have the potential to be misleading.
There are two broad reasons for comparing carbon prices. Firstly, to contribute to policy dialogues regarding comparable effort, and related to this, issues around the efficiency of different policies and second, to contribute to an understanding of the trade competitiveness effects faced by Australian producers. These different objectives have related but distinct comparative prices associated with them. This report makes a distinction between a ‘shadow’ or implicit carbon price (the price equivalent a range of policy measures, whether or not they are explicitly price based), and an effective price of carbon (the net carbon price faced by industries in purchasing inputs, undertaking activities and selling outputs.
While it is possible to calculate carbon prices for a range of policies, policies cannot be compared on their implicit price alone, and the comparative price does not contain all the information of interest when comparing policies between countries. It is crucial that carbon price comparisons account for the very different properties of different types of greenhouse mitigation policy. Carbon price comparisons should be viewed as a long term activity. There are strong analogies between the need to compare carbon policies between countries and the long standing exercise of comparing protection between countries. The later has important implications for the former.
View report online [pdf, 667KB]
Tillegra Dam - review of socioeconomic analysis
29 Nov 2010Hunter Water Corporation was seeking approval to construct a 450 gigalitre (GL) dam at Tillegra, near Dungog in the Upper Williams River catchment. The proposal is a project to which Part 3A of the NSW EPA Act applies by virtue of an Order made by the Minister for Planning under section 75B of the Act on 13 November 2007. NSW Planning has engaged the CIE to review the socioeconomic analysis undertaken in relation to the Dam and alternative options.
Energy-efficiency: building code star rating: what's optimal, what's not?
25 Nov 2010Residential building energy star ratings are widely perceived within the community to be a measure of economic efficiency. A higher star rating is perceived as innately desirable. However, energy efficiency is not economic efficiency. Findings in this report are that, generally it pays to achieve a 5-star rating for new houses. However, above this point, for most houses in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane (representing 80 per cent of Australian city residential houses), forcing home owners to build houses with higher star ratings will be detrimental to the community.
To view this report on CIE's website [pdf, 1602KB]
Operating rules for Sydney Water's desalination plant
Oct 2010Historically, greater Sydney’s raw water supply was largely reliant on its 11 major dams, supplemented by significant water recycling and efficiency programs. In January 2010, the existing supply system was boosted and diversified when Sydney’s desalination plant began operating. The plant can supply 250 megalitres (million litres) of water a day or up to 15 per cent of greater Sydney’s current water needs.
TheCIE was engaged in 2008-09 by the Sydney Water Corporation to assist in establishing the operating rules for the desalination plant. This analysis examined the trade-offs between providing greater security of supply against the costs of providing that particular level of security. It involved reviewing the performance of the desalination plant and the water security outcomes under a wide range of scenarios on future climatic conditions using outputs from the Wathnet hydrology simulation model. Indirect impacts throughout the water supply system were accounted for in the modelling, including the energy costs and emissions associated with alternative sources of supply in the system.
Review of economic analysis underpinning the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam
Oct 2010The proposed Traveston Crossing Dam is located in South-East Queensland. The proposed Dam was a key feature of the draft South-East Queensland Water Supply Strategy which aimed to provide a secure and sustainable long term water supply to South-East Queensland. Stage 1 of the Dam was expected to deliver up to 70 000 ML per year for urban water supplies.
TheCIE was engaged in 2009 by the Commonwealth Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts to conduct a review of the economic analysis underpinning the proposed Dam. The review considered the overall evaluation framework adopted to rank alternative measures to achieve the water security objectives. The analysis also considered the potential impact of changing climatic conditions on the ranking of alternative measures, including desalination facilities.
2010 Sydney Metropolitan Water Plan
Oct 2010The first Metropolitan Water Plan (the Plan) was introduced in 2004. The Plan sets out the course of action for the NSW Government to ensure a sustainable and secure water system for the greater Sydney’s people and rivers. Subsequently, the NSW Government reviewed the 2004 Plan and released an updated plan in 2006. The NSW Government recently released the 2010 Metropolitan Water Plan.
TheCIE was engaged by the NSW Office of Water to conduct a cost effectiveness analysis of a range of infrastructure options and other alternative measures (both demand and supply side) that formed the basis for the 2010 Sydney Metropolitan Water Plan. The analysis incorporated social and environmental benefits/costs of all measures into the ranking of the projects. The analysis was conducted in the context of portfolios of different measures, taking account of the interactions between projects. The review examined the performance of alternative portfolios under conditions where there is limited knowledge of possible future events, particularly in relation to climate risk but also including other factors such as project-specific risk. Climate risk analysis was undertaken using disaggregated output from the Sydney Catchment Authorities’ Wathnet hydrology simulation model.
View report online, click here [pdf, 809KB]
Pricing principles for recycled water and stormwater
Oct 2010TheCIE was engaged by the National Water Commission to analyse and propose a set of pricing principles for recycled water and stormwater to assist National Water Initiative (NWI) parties in meeting their commitments. The principles proposed in the report are framed as a guide for state and territory government agencies and regulatory authorities who are undertaking to determine or guide prices for recycled water and stormwater reuse.
The National Water Commission recently released this report which was completed by TheCIE in 2006.
Congestion pricing interview with BNET 2010
Sep 2010Congestion pricing is used in a number of cities around the world, such as London and Singapore, but has gained little traction in Australia. In this interview for BNET, Phil Manners, Senior Economist at TheCIE, explores some of the issues surrounding congestion pricing that could see it developed as a practical tool to improve transport in Australian cities.
To listen to an interview with Phil Manners on congestion pricing click here
To view the article online - click here [pdf, 119KB]
Economic benefits of trade facilitation in the Greater Mekong Subregion
20 Aug 2010TheCIE recently prepared a report on the economic benefits of trade facilitation in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Commissioned by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) for presentation to the 16th GMS Ministerial Conference in Hanoi, the report discusses the benefits of further progress in trade and transport facilitation for the six countries of the region (Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar Thailand, and Vietnam).
The report presents evidence to suggest that integration within the region is playing an important role in the dynamic performance of the Subregion, but that there is scope to expand this role by further reducing the costs of cross-border trade and transport. In most countries there is considerable room for improvement in trade and transport facilitation, and feasible changes could yield significant increases in national incomes. The evidence suggests that complementing infrastructure investments with procedural reforms to reduce costs and delays of cross-border trade could bring about sizeable economic benefits.
View report online [pdf, 347KB]
ABCB Private Bushfires Shelters Consultation RIS release
18 Aug 2010The Building Code of Australia (BCA) provides nationally consistent, minimum necessary standards for the design and construction of buildings in Australia. The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) on behalf of the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments produces and maintains the BCA.
The ABCB commissioned TheCIE to develop a consultation RIS to assess selected options for introducing provisions for private bushfire shelters in the BCA. The key finding of the consultation RIS is that while the option of voluntary construction guidelines would likely generate some net benefits above a status quo market outcome, the development of performance requirements — to which all newly constructed private bushfire shelters will be subject — will likely overcome a greater number of market failures involved in both the status quo and under voluntary construction guidelines. The introduction of performance requirements was found to return the highest benefit to the economy of the three implementation options considered. In addition, the consultation RIS finds that the construction of private bushfire shelters should remain a private decision and not mandated through planning laws. Such a requirement of mandatory construction would be likely to only affect those residents with a lower likelihood of using the shelter (through, for example, a preferred strategy of leaving early) increasing the net costs of the proposed provisions.
The consultation RIS is currently available for public comment through ABCB.
ABCB Salinity Consultation RIS release
3 Aug 2010The Building Code of Australia (BCA) provides nationally consistent, minimum necessary standards for the design and construction of buildings in Australia. The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) on behalf of the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments produces and maintains the BCA.
TheCIE was commissioned by the ABCB to develop a consultation RIS to assess proposed changes to salinity protection measures for new buildings. The key finding of the consultation RIS is that while salinity is a significant problem in certain areas around Australia, there are already a number of measures being taken to protect newly constructed buildings in these areas. The most efficient means of addressing salinity through the BCA is to implement a highly localised assessment program, mimicking the actions of local and regional authorities.
Regulation Impact Statement on illegally logged timber
12 Feb 2010As part of its election commitments, the Australian Government is looking to develop a regulatory framework to address the environmental, economic and social issues arising from the trade of illegally logged timber. The aim of the proposed framework will be to encourage the sourcing of forest products from sustainable forest practices and to restrict imports to Australia of illegally logged timber and associated products.
The Office of Best Practice Regulation informed the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries that a Regulation Impact Statement is required to assess the impacts of pursuing two elements of the commitment:
TheCIE has identified multiple issues associated with developing measures to combat illegal logging, which are summarised in the Issues Paper and the benefits and costs are quantified in the draft Regulation Impact Statement (see press release).
For related information on this project see the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry's illegal logging page.
View final report online [pdf, 753KB]
View issues paper [pdf, 611KB]
Final Regulation Impact Statement on increased energy efficiency requirements in the Building Code of Australia (BCA 2010)
28 Jan 2010
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) provides nationally consistent, minimum necessary standards for the design and construction of buildings in Australia. The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) on behalf of the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments produces and maintains the BCA.
Canberra: TheCIE, 11 Lancaster Place, Majura Park, Canberra ACT 2609
Sydney: TheCIE, Suite 1, Level 16, 1 York Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Photography by Image Makers