Business cases and cost-benefit analysis (CBA) are conventional features of infrastructure decision-making processes in Australia, and are used to evaluate the societal benefit of proposed projects. However, business cases and CBA have been contentious in terms of design and deployment. Funding commitments are regularly made prior to the completion of business cases and CBA, diminishing their value as a decisive part of infrastructure development decisions. For social housing, business case and CBA processes could provide useful evidence of the wider societal benefits of social housing provision, but the nature of contemporary policy decision-making means that political will remains an important factor in investment decisions. The development of public infrastructure appraisal methods such as CBA can be understood as a consequence of long-term infrastructure investment creating a demand for improvements in assessment and increased analytical capacity in the public and private sector, in the context of competition for funding. This indicates a degree of circularity: ongoing funding to support sector expansion is important in promoting economic analysis in the social housing sector, which is also seen as a step towards increasing industry funding…
SOURCE: Denham T, Dodson J, and Lawson J. “The Business case for Social housing as Infrastructure.” AHURI, 15 May 2019.
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