Integrating the costs and benefits of heritage into government decision making
A national workshop
11-12 October 2007, Canberra
In October 2007 the department hosted a workshop of leading economists, heritage experts and policy makers (Workshop attendees (PDF-13 KB)). The aim was to explore ways to improve how costs and benefits are taken into account when heritage decisions are made. The workshop was in part a response to the findings of the Productivity Commission in its inquiry into historic heritage conservation in Australia, completed in April 2006.
The workshop brought economists and heritage experts together to discuss
- how the value of heritage can be measured
- the costs and benefits of heritage listing individual places
- how much public and private resources should be invested in heritage
- whether market mechanisms optimise investment.
The papers cover a range of practical and theoretical topics. Recurring themes include the meaning and social utility of heritage; methodological difficulties in quantifying benefits as well as costs; different ways governments recognise and regulate heritage; and case studies of conservation approaches.
The overall direction of the presentations and discussion was that economic analysis can make an important contribution to policies and decisions. In practice this would mean better information about costs and benefits for heritage decisions, with a more systematic approach to data. Ideally, best practice for data collecting would be developed through representative case studies.
The potential cost of doing cost-benefit analyses in heritage budgets was also considered. To keep costs low, further work to develop simple 'back of the pocket' cost-benefit tools could be done. Economic tools are also needed to encourage greater investment and optimise the benefit of investments. For example, tax rebates, rate subsidies, planning incentives (such as tradeable development rights), market mechanisms (such as delivering grants programs through tender schemes) and low cost loan systems may be applicable to enhanced investment.
The discussion revealed areas for economic research, including refining indirect and direct measures of the public value of heritage places, the use of discount rates in cost-benefit analysis and the application of market mechanisms in achieving heritage outcomes.
- Australian Heritage Week
- Public notices
- Asia-Pacific Focal Point
- Australia's dinosaurs
- Managing Commonwealth heritage places
- Australian Heritage Council
- Australian Heritage Places Inventory (AHPI)
- Australian Heritage Database
- Australian Heritage Information
- Export permits
- Indigenous heritage
- Place managers network
Before you download
Some documents are available as PDF files. You will need a PDF reader to view PDF files.
List of PDF readers
If you are unable to access a publication, please contact us to organise a suitable alternative format.
Links to another web site
Opens a pop-up window