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Australia can contribute significantly to democracy, security and prosperity in our region by addressing the region’s most existential threat, climate change, and by better governing our own resource sector.
Biased inputs, questionable assumptions, and the misleading presentation of model results lead to overinflated estimates of the economic impacts of the closure of the ABCC
It is no accident that there are no credible policies or regulatory measures to address rising emissions by industry in Australia. Nor is it an accident that there are no robust mechanisms to address misleading climate claims.
The Australia Institute made a submission to the Queensland Coordinator-General’s consultation on terms of reference for the Valeria Coal Project environmental impact statement. The economic assessment of the project should include coal market scenarios that reflect climate action required to meet the Paris Agreement. Methods used by coal industry economists to downplay the costs of carbon emissions should be explicitly ruled out.
Australia’s proposed federal biodiversity market should not proceed. Both economic theory and lived examples show that it is likely to fail Australia’s threatened species and fragile environments.
Homeshare programs have the potential to make a significant contribution to improving Australia’s work and care systems, but are being held back by inter-agency issues, the transfer of disability and aged care to the Commonwealth and lack of resources.
Young Australians have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Young people make up just 14% of the workforce but bore 55% of the job losses during the 2021 lockdowns. This crisis has compounded decades of high youth unemployment and underemployment. Now is the time for long-term policies to help and protect young people in
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated labour market problems for young people in NSW. By several measures, young people in NSW have been the hardest hit in Australia. There are a range of policies available to the NSW Government to address this crisis.
The economic assessments of the Glendell proposal overstate its benefits and understate its costs. Applying current carbon prices to only its direct emissions gives a net present value of between negative $460 and negative $570 million. This excludes consideration of the potential heritage and biodiversity impacts.
In 2021-22, Australian Federal and state governments provided a total of $11.6 billion worth of spending and tax breaks to assist fossil fuel industries. This is a 12% increase on last year’s figure and 56 times the budget of the National Recovery and Resilience Agency. Over the longer term, $55.3 billion is committed to subsidising gas and oil extraction, coal-fired power, coal railways, ports, carbon capture and storage, and other measures.
Freedom of Information documents show that when designing the ERF CCS method, the Clean Energy Regulator consulted almost exclusively with fossil fuel companies and big emitters, while actively excluding independent researchers.
Quantitative and qualitative analysis was conducted on large samples of Twitter data collected following two points of tension in the Australia-China relationship in 2020 – Australia’s call for an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19, and a Chinese Government representative’s retweet of an image of an Australian solidier killing an Afghan child. There was
The Australia Institute made a submission to the consultation process regarding Recommendation 14.1 of the NT Fracking Inquiry, “That prior to the granting of any further production approvals, the Government designs and implements a full cost-recovery system for the regulation of any onshore shale gas industry.”
The Department of Planning and Environment recommends approval of the project based on economic benefits, but finds these benefits reduce “significantly” if greenhouse emissions are properly accounted for. The Department did not quantify the significant reduction. Applying a carbon price of between $24.50/t and $73/t reduces the value of the project to zero. Such carbon
Investors in mining are backing electrification resources over fossil fuels. In the year to October 2021, just one fossil fuel company listed on the ASX, while 42 companies listed that target electrification minerals copper, nickel, lithium cobalt, graphite and rare earths. Over half the companies aim to mine in Western Australia, with another seven headquartered
The LNG industry portrays itself as essential to WA’s economy, a sentiment echoed by the WA Government. However, LNG industry contributes just 1% of the WA state budget and two thirds of Western Australia’s gas is effectively given away by the Western Australian and Australian Governments with almost no royalties or tax being paid. The
Licencing floodplain harvesting at lawful, sustainable volumes would be a major environmental, social and economic reform for the NSW Murray Darling Basin. There are also major implications for human health, community wellbeing, equity and the state budget. With so much at stake, public and government attention needs to be focused on the work of the
Santos is trying to access Australia’s small amount of climate funding to subsidise increased fossil fuel extraction through a highly polluting activity known as enhanced oil recovery (EOR) – a process Santos has been using continuously since the mid-1980s. Numerous company documents show that Santos’ Moomba CCS project includes EOR and Enhanced Gas Recovery (EGR).
The Australia Institute’s Research Director Rod Campbell gave expert economic evidence to Victoria’s Inquiry and Advisory Committee regarding the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project. The project was recommended for rejection by the Committee. Rod was engaged by the community group opposing the development, Mine Free Glenaladale. Rod’s evidence showed that the economic assessment of the Fingerboards
The offshore oil and gas industry provides minimal economic benefit to the Australian community. Any benefits are eroded by decommissioning costs falling on governments as the industry attempts to avoid its liabilities. The proposed levy represents an opportunity to limit the costs to the public from the Northern Endeavour disaster, further measures are needed to protect the public interest.
Australia’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 is inconsistent with its plans to massively expand coal and gas production. New fossil fuel projects under development in Australia would result in 1.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year – equivalent annual emissions of over 200 coal-fired power stations, twice as much as global
Murray Darling Basin Governments are attempting to recover 450 gigalitres (GL) of water through off-farm water efficiency projects, with almost $1.6 billion in funding, or an average of $3,500 per megalitre. Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) has put forward a proposal that would recover 6,282ML at a cost of $124 million. This equates to $19,739 per megalitre
The Australia Institute welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Inquiry into the Closure of the Hazelwood and Yallourn Power Stations. The Australia Institute is an independent public policy think tank, based in Canberra. We carry out research on a broad range of economic, social and environmental issues. Two recent research papers by
The draft offsets policy undermines the NT Government policy of adopting Fracking Inquiry Recommendation 9.8 – that all life-cycle emissions from onshore gas projects be offset. The draft policy also proposes ‘indirect emissions offsets’ that are not utilised in any other jurisdiction and would be entirely without integrity. Indirect offsets would undermine other offset markets
Like Australia, Germany has had a long and polarised debate about phasing out coal-fired power stations. Germany formed a multi-stakeholder group that negotiated a consensus to phase out coal power by 2038. A similar process could help Australia navigate the trade-offs inherent in such a change.
The Australia Institute made a submission on the Winchester South coal mine environmental impact statement. Winchester South is a marginal project. The economic assessment, astonishingly, does not consider the impact of climate action on the coal market. Optimism bias and management incentives explain why mining approval is being sought despite the weak financial or economic
Despite worsening climate crises and forecasts of declining coal markets, the NSW Government is proposing to release new areas for coal exploration. New mine proposals near Rylstone would impose significant costs on the local community and be unlikely to bring any economic benefit.
The current level of floodplain harvesting is inconsistent with legislation. Reducing the practice to lawful levels could be done with minimal economic impact due to the export-oriented and capital-intensive nature of cotton production. Even in cotton producing regions, cotton accounts for less than 5% of jobs. Despite a reputation for high profits, major cotton producers
Unconventional gas in the Northern Territory is unpopular and uneconomic, risking water resources, the climate and taxpayer funds. It provides little revenue and very few jobs. Government-commissioned studies show this is unlikely to change under modelled production scenarios. The recommendations of the Territory’s fracking inquiry are not being met, particularly information programs for Aboriginal people
The Hume Coal Project is not economically viable and should be rejected. Despite recommending against approval, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment overstates the economic case for the project.