The Australia Institute made a submission to the National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) regarding national ambient air quality standards for ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide. The economic assessment of the proposed standards is not fit for purpose. The benefit-cost analysis underestimates the benefits of improved air quality while overstating the costs of improvements. In its own words “does not necessarily provide an indication of the likely costs and benefits of meeting alternative standards.”
The benefit-cost analysis is based on long-outdated information such as a 2006 report from the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics which forecast the amount of solar energy in 2019 at just 1/20th of actual levels. Decision makers should ignore this benefit-cost analysis and air quality modelling exercise and instead seek advice from independent doctors and health researchers to set ambitious air quality standards that maximise the wellbeing of the Australian community.