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Australia’s light duty vehicle fleet is among the least fuel efficient in the world, using 24% more fuel per kilometre travelled than the UK. If the UK’s modest standards could be met here, Australian drivers would save $13 billion a year in fuel costs and overall transport emissions would be 17% lower.
Northern direction: If NSW had the Queensland coal royalty system
If NSW had adopted Queensland’s progressive coal royalty system in 2021-22 it would have raised an additional $2.8 billion. For 2022-23 this figure is estimated at between $4.2 billion and $6.2 billion.
New fossil fuel projects in Australia 2023
There are 116 new fossil fuel projects on the Federal Government’s annual Resource & Energy Major Project list, two more than at the end of 2021. If all proceed as estimated, they will add 4.8 billion tonnes of emissions to the atmosphere by 2030.
The draft Nature Repair Market Bill presents a fundamentally confused blueprint for a voluntary market in biodiversity conservation services. The Bill does not address the causes of biodiversity loss in Australia, and it remains unclear how many important details of the proposed market will operate. Further, the experience of the Clean Energy Regulator in administering
Submission – Hunter Valley Operations coal mine expansion
The Australia Institute made a submission on the Environmental Impact Statement of the Hunter Valley Operations coal mine expansion proposal. Our submission focuses on the economic assessment of the project, written by Ernst and Young (EY). EY’s assessment overstates the benefits of the project and understates its costs. It is not suitable for decision-making purposes.
NT water policy changes are aimed at expanding irrigation, particularly cotton production. Government and industry claims that cotton expansion would create significant employment and tax payments are not supported by data. Census figures show that cotton is one of the least jobsintensive sectors in the economy. According to the Australian Tax Office, major cotton companies
Move on, nothing to see here
The Australia Institute made a submission on the revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Whitehaven Coal’s Winchester South proposal. Our submission focused on the economic assessment within the EIS, conducted by Deloitte Access Economics.
From Russia with love
Australian coal export revenue increased by $73b, or 186% in 2021-22. Between $21b and $39b of this is directly attributable to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Submission on Moolarben OC3 Coal Extension Project
The Australia Institute made a submission on the Environmental Impact Statement of the Moolarben OC3 extension project. The economic assessment of the project heavily understates its costs and overstates its benefits. At the USA Environmental Protection Agency’s central social cost of carbon estimate, the cost of the direct emissions alone is $156 million, greater than estimated royalty revenue – $152 million.
Integrity and the Climate Change Authority
The scientific consensus is on the urgent need for rapid decarbonisation. However, the government’s key climate body the Climate Change Authority (CCA) is instead focussed on storing fossil fuels and developing the carbon offset industry.
Submissions on reconsideration of fossil fuel projects under the EPBC Act
In early November 2022, Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek agreed to reassess 18 fossil fuel projects that had previously been approved under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. The reassessment was requested by the Environment Council of Central Queensland, represented by the law firm Environmental Justice Australia.
Submission: Inquiry into supporting democracy in our region
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.
Submission on draft terms of reference for Valeria Coal Project environmental impact statement
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.
Shorting the Environment
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.
Work, care and homeshare
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.
Youth unemployment and the pandemic
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
Bearing the Brunt
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.
Waratah Coal v Youth Verdict court case
The Australia Institute’s Research Director Rod Campbell was an expert witness in the precedent-setting case against Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal Project in the Galilee Basin. The case was brought by Indigenous-led Queensland group Youth Verdict, who were represented by the Environmental Defenders’ Office (EDO).
Glendell Continued Operations Project
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.
Fossil fuel subsidies in Australia (2021-22)
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
Submission: Cost recovery framework for the Northern Territory onshore petroleum industry
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.”
Narrabri Underground Mine Stage 3 Extension
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
Submission on Darwin Pipeline Duplication
The Australia Institute made a submission on Santos’ proposed Darwin Pipeline Duplication project that aims to facilitate carbon capture and storage in the oil and gas fields north of Darwin. Aside from the low likelihood of successful carbon capture and storage eventuating, the aim of the project appears to be to increase gas exports through
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
Six reasons to stop* floodplain harvesting in NSW
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