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The problems attached to over-use of consultants are becoming clearer. The experience in New South Wales accords with the national experience: dependency on consultants hollows out public sector capacity and leads to bad government decisions.
FOI is a crucial part of the beneficial information feedback loop between the government and the people. However, our FOI system is broken and cultural and legal changes are needed to fix it.
The over-use of consultancies has corroded Australian democracy. It hollows out public sector capacity and leads to bad government decisions.
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.
Australia is a thriving, inventive democracy – but in the face of global democratic decline we should strengthen and protect our political institutions with measured reforms.
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 Government’s proposed voter ID laws risk discouraging Australians from voting, in defiance of the country’s proud history of ensuring everyone can and does vote. There is no evidence that voter fraud is a problem or that voter ID would address it. The Government’s priority should be the 2.7 million Australians whose votes were not
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
The Australia Institute made a submission objecting to the proposal to expand and extend the Mt Pleasant coal mine in the Hunter Valley.
A new study on the proposed Mulga Rock uranium mine in Western Australia relies on optimistic price and exchange rate forecasts. Details of claimed cost reductions have not been published, but costs still appear high relative to international competitors.
The Australia Institute made a submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy. The submission outlines how the Australia Institute’s existing research applies to each of the committee’s terms of reference.
If Norwegian company Equinor is given permission to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, it will likely pay the Norwegian Government more than it will pay in Australian Government taxes and up to 27 times more than they will pay to the South Australian Government, a new report from The Australia Institute has
The Australia Institute welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters. The Committee’s Report on the conduct of the 2016 federal election recognised compulsory voting as a cornerstone of Australia’s democracy and recommended a review of the penalty for not voting. This review appears not to have been
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
A coal project proposed near Kingaroy, Queensland, is unlikely to provide benefit in a local economy based on services and agriculture. It imposes uncertainty and costs on other industries and the community. Policy makers should rule the project out on economic grounds.
Santos’ response to submissions on its Narrabri Gas Project does not dispute most of the flaws identified in The Australia Institute’s initial submission. The economic assessment of the Narrabri Gas Project continues to be misleading and does not comply with NSW assessment guidelines. The benefit cost analysis by consultants GHD is contradicted by the proponents’
The Australia Institute welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Senate Inquiry on Corporate Tax Avoidance. The issue of tax avoidance by multinational companies has been a research focus of the Institute for some time. While issues of declining PRRT payments and low company tax payments are becoming widely known, particularly due to
The Styx Coal Project, also known as the Central Queensland Coal Project, is not financially or economically viable and should not be granted any form of project approval. Geoscience Australia has described the project area as “not of economic importance”. Figures presented in the environmental impact statement Appendix 10a – Economic Technical Report suggest the
The Wallarah 2 Coal Project proposes to produce 4 to 5 million tonnes per annum of thermal coal. The project is located on the Central Coast of NSW near Wyong. The proponent is Kores, a South Korean government owned corporation. The Australia Institute made a submission to the November 2017 Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) consideration of the Project. Our
The Hume Coal project should be rejected on economic grounds. It is a relatively small, high-cost, greenfields mine far from major markets. It is unlikely that it can be financially or economically viable as currently proposed. It is already imposing economic costs on the Southern Highlands community. Proceeding with the project, particularly with possible modifications
Australia’s export credit agency, Efic, is a government-owned, taxpayer-backed organisation that aims to assist Australian exporters with financial services. Efic is currently considering a loan to a South African coal project. The Boikarabelo coal project has approval to produce 32 million tonnes of raw coal each year. The development of this project would likely contribute
The economic assessment of the Narrabri Gas Project is misleading and does not comply with NSW assessment guidelines. The benefit cost analysis by consultants GHD is contradicted by the proponents’ financial statements and analysis commissioned by the Australian Energy Market Operator.
Voting and electoral participation are part of Australia’s culture, expressed through our long history of electoral reform as well as modern trends such as the social media tag #democracysausage. Ensuring that everyone’s vote is counted is consistent with our ethos that everyone gets a “fair go”. Australia has among the highest electoral participation rates in