In December 2014, the Queensland Government sought submissions on the Preliminary Documentation around two related proposals to expand the coal port at Abbot Point. The Australia Institute made a submission on the Preliminary Documentation.
Our submission showed that the Preliminary Documentation is inadequate as it contains no cost benefit analysis and no economic assessment of any kind. This is surprising given the Queensland Government guidelines recommend this assessment, it is supported by the Australian Coal Association Research Program and QLD Treasurer Tim Nichols made an explicit promise that all major projects would undergo a cost benefit analysis.
The economic efficiency of the projects is determined by the viability of Galilee Basin coal projects. None of these projects have been subject to public cost benefit analysis and there is widespread scepticism amongst banks and economists as to their viability.
Spending on these projects reduces the amount of money that can be spent on other public services in Queensland, such as healthcare and education. Given the potential opportunity cost to the Queensland public and the complete lack of assessment, we recommend rejection of these projects.