Background

Government and the private sector are constantly required to maximise the limited resources at their disposal and justify investments decisions. Economics plays a critical role in ensuring that limited resources are put to best use.

Whether assessing new major investments, managing existing assets and programs, or reforming policy, good economic analysis can help in both clearly defining problems and assessing potential solutions.

Aither’s team of economists are passionate about applying their skills and expertise to real-world problems.

We deliver high-quality evidence-based advice to inspire and enable positive change by:

  • Understanding the questions our clients are trying to answer and the relevant context
  • Applying the latest economic techniques
  • Taking a flexible and collaborative approach
  • Communicating economics in a way that can be widely understood

Subservices

Investment appraisal

Aither are experts in economic and financial investment appraisal, including cost-benefit analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis. We are able to quantify the full range of benefits and costs using non-market valuation techniques, ensuring that social and environmental impacts are considered. Our investment appraisals are robust and evidence-based and help to demonstrate the relative merit of different investment options. We prepare business cases that are clear, compelling and supported by sound investment logic.

Quantitative modelling and economics

Decision making is challenging. In most problems there are numerous options available, multiple sources of uncertainty, and many tangible and intangible benefits and costs. Traditional decision-making approaches have a place, but often fail to account for these complexities. This causes poor decisions and damages credibility with stakeholders. Aither draws on the latest methods in economics and data science to provide clear and actionable evidence for decision makers. This has led to improved timing and scale of investments, better customer and community service, less angst and stakeholder concerns, and better project justifications.

Pricing and cost recovery

Aither understands the complexities of economic regulation frameworks and what mechanisms are required to ensure the most appropriate outcomes can be realised. Different frameworks may be necessary for different jurisdictions and/or circumstances
Aither has assisted utilities in preparing for new regulatory frameworks while also advised regulators and government on potential options for new regulatory frameworks or mechanisms.

Market design and analysis

Aither are international leaders in market design and analysis, working across natural resource markets such as water and biodiversity. We provide advice on when to introduce markets and how to design markets to achieve the best outcomes for communities. Aither are also experts in market trends and predictions, as well as the impacts of drivers, such as commodity prices, government policies and climate change. Our analysis is backed by advanced quantitative tools and a detailed understanding of natural resource markets.

Commercial advice

As the commercial opportunities associated with water markets and infrastructure expand, there is a growing need for rigorous advice grounded in a practical understanding of water markets and infrastructure. Aither are leading providers of commercial advice including:
• Portfolio valuations
• Portfolio strategy
• Due diligence
• Transaction support.

Economic regulation

Aither understands the complexities of economic regulation frameworks and what mechanisms are required to ensure the most appropriate outcomes can be realised. Different frameworks may be necessary for different jurisdictions and/or circumstances

Aither has assisted utilities in preparing for new regulatory frameworks while also advised regulators and government on potential options for new regulatory frameworks or mechanisms.

Selected Project Experience

Optimisation of beach management in Queensland

Aither was engaged (with BMT) by the Sunshine Coast Council to assess adaptation strategies for the Maroochydore Beach related to the timing and scale of beach nourishment and seawall construction. We used an integrated physical and economic model of Maroochydore Beach combined with a sophisticated optimisation technique to assess multiple beach management strategies against numerous climate-drive futures. The assessment found that the current management strategy is delivering significant benefits, however, the optimal management strategy could generate about $15 million of additional net benefits.

Amenity valuation in Victoria

Aither was engaged by Infrastructure Victoria to estimate the value of amenities across Victoria. This involved using hedonic pricing, a non-market valuation technique, to estimate how proximity to amenities affects house prices. A web-based tool was developed to allow users to generate customised estimates of the value of amenities to support the cost-benefit analysis of projects that affect amenities and inform value capture. The tool has subsequently been deployed throughout the Victorian Public Service.

Evaluation of the Regional Growth Fund

Aither was engaged to undertake a full-term evaluation and cost-benefit analysis of $99 million invested through the Regional Growth Fund of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). This included cost-benefit analysis of a number of regional infrastructure investments, including community, recreational and creative projects, requiring non-market valuations and practical approaches to revealing the data and values required to assist decision makers.

Aither received a ten out of ten from the RDV project manager for this engagement. Specific feedback included: “Aither are great economists, but have a pragmatic approach, this is the service difference”.

Economic analysis of metering options in New South Wales

Aither was engaged by the NSW Department of Industry to undertake an independent economic analysis of metering options for rural water users in NSW. This included detailed data analysis of tens of thousands of water extraction sites to estimate the current extent of water take measurement in NSW and the costs and benefits of expanding metering. The analysis was used by the Department of Industry to inform the threshold for exempting small water users from requiring a meter, which our analysis indicates has potentially avoided hundreds of millions of dollars of unnecessary metering costs.