It is common for councils to have a list of capital projects which they are unable to fund only from their own budget, and for which external funding is vital for their achievement. These projects are often significant strategic priorities for local or regional communities, and in many cases well advanced in the planning and design phases, with councils able to demonstrate strong capacity to successfully deliver the project and commence immediately upon funding.
Economic evaluation of infrastructure projects is a requirement of State and Federal funding programs, with specific guidelines for benefit cost analysis and the assessment of wider flow-on economic benefits. This is a strong component of a council’s business case, enabling funding bodies to compare projects as to their relative merits in delivering value for money and economic benefits to regions.
Outside of formal funding programs, the ability to clearly demonstrate the benefits to users and the community and calculate the return on investment and economic impacts of capital projects is a powerful yet under-utilised tool for councils when advocating and competing for Government funding. With a $20 billion State Infrastructure Strategy delivering unprecedented infrastructure funding across New South Wales, councils need to have a strategic edge to maximise their chances at having their projects stand out and win funding approval amongst the many competing priorities across the state.
The small costs involved in undertaking an economic assessment represent only a very small part of the overall costs of a project. Our economists assess both the financial recovery and non-financial outcomes, and calculate a benefit cost ratio for the investment in the project, consistent with relevant Government guidelines and with clearly documented assumptions. This is complemented with the evaluation and calculation of flow on impacts to the local or regional economy and community. We are also specialists in capital business cases across Australasia.
Importantly, for this small investment, councils are purchasing a significant competitive advantage in the pursuit of limited and critical external funding.