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Table 2 Overview of the key economic evaluation guidance documents

From: A cost–benefit analysis framework for preventive health interventions to aid decision-making in Australian governments



Document title

Aims of document and overview of CBA guidance



Cost–benefit analysis guidance note (2020) [33]

To provide Australian government and COAG policy-makers guidance on the use of CBA for policy proposals

To promote comparability and consistency in decision-making and help maximize net benefits to society

It provides an introduction to CBA for regulatory proposals, with readers referred to the Handbook of Cost–Benefit Analysis [45] for further details


Finance and Administration

Handbook of Cost–Benefit Analysis January (2006) [45]

To provide Australian government agencies guidance on the use of CBA for economic appraisal and decision-making and to provide details on the process of conducting CBA

It provides no guidance on when CBA should be used


Infrastructure Australia

Assessment framework: for initiatives and projects to be included in the Infrastructure Priority List (2018) [48]

To provide guidance on the assessment framework used by Infrastructure Australia to consider projects for inclusion in the Infrastructure Priority List

A detailed CBA is a central component of the business case



Guidelines for preparing a submission to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (2016) [31]

To ensure consistent, standardized submissions for consideration by the PBAC for the listing of new medicines on the PBS

To ensure comparability of submissions to facilitate consistency in decision-making

CUA rather than CBA is the preferred approach outlined in the guidance



NSW Government Guide to Cost–Benefit Analysis (2017) [4]

To promote a consistent approach to appraisal and evaluation of publicly funded initiatives across the NSW government

It advises that CBA guidelines by line agencies that are consistent with the framework and principles of this guide can be used for sector-specific evaluations

It recommends that line agencies integrate CBA into decision-making processes



Transport for NSW Cost–Benefit Analysis Guide (2019) [8]

To outline the principles, concepts, methodology and procedures for conducting CBA for NSW Transport initiatives

CBA is the preferred evaluation method and the key tool that is required both for compliance and to promote value-for-money government decision-making

The guide outlines a consistent and best practice framework for NSW Transport evaluations. However, it emphasizes that it does not enforce compliance

The guidance is aligned to NSW Treasury CBA guidance [4] and should be read in conjunction with federal government transport assessment guidelines


Planning, Industry and Environment

Guidelines for using cost–benefit analysis to assess coastal management options (2018) [7]

To provide specific guidance for LGA CBA related to coastal management

It states that CBA is not a good use of council resources for all projects and should be used when making complex and high-risk decisions


Health (Health Infrastructure)

Guide to Cost–Benefit Analysis of Health Capital Projects (2018) [37]

To provide the principles, concepts and methodology to evaluate NSW Health capital projects

To ensure that a robust analysis of the costs and benefits are considered in decision-making

To provide a consistent and standardized approach to facilitate comparisons across capital projects

The guidance is supplementary to the NSW Treasury CBA guidance [4]


Health (Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence)

Commissioning Economic Evaluations: A Guide (2017) [49]

This is not a guidance document on CBA, but aims to assist NSW Health staff commission economic evaluations, particularly related to population health programmes

The document focuses on ex-post evaluations and states that the primary aim of economic evaluation is to inform the investment decision

  1. CBA cost–benefit analysis, COAG Council of Australian Governments, CUA cost-utility analysis, LGA local government area, NSW New South Wales, OBPR Office of Best Practice Regulation, PBAC Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, PBS Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, PM&C Prime Minister and Cabinet