NSW Treasury Policy and Guidelines Paper

TPP17-03 NSW Government Guide to Cost-Benefit Analysis


The purpose of this Treasury policy and guidelines paper is to provide guidance and promote a consistent approach to appraisal and evaluation of public projects, programs and policies across the NSW Government. Agencies should use this NSW Government Guide to Cost-Benefit Analysis (Guide) when assessing all significant government on projects, programs, policies and regulations.

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is an evidence based method for systematically organising and presenting information to help government understand all the impacts of policies and projects, including economic, social and environmental impacts. CBA helps decision makers identify the best means to improve social welfare and assess competing proposals.

This Guide provides an introductory explanation of CBA for analysts and advisors to government decision makers. The Appendices provide additional technical material and references.

This Guide updates and supersedes the 2007 editions of the Treasury Policy and Guidelines Papers NSW Government Guidelines for Economic Appraisal (TPP07-5) and Economic Appraisal - Principles and Procedures Simplified (TPP07-6). Reflecting the advances made in the application of CBA, this Guide outlines many developments while retaining the underlying principles of the previous edition. To ensure its currency the Guide will be reviewed periodically.

This Guide should be read in conjunction with other Treasury guidance regarding the development and submission of Business Cases, the NSW Gateway Policy, investor assurance processes and other relevant Government policy requirements.

The principles of CBA are quite general and should be applied consistently. The scope of a CBA, however, will depend on the scale of the project or policy and issues may arise with individual applications. Where any such issues arise, agencies are encouraged to contact their Treasury analysts as early as possible. Agencies can also send CBA related queries to [email protected].



Who needs to know and/or comply with this?

Executive agencies related to Departments
Advisory Entities (including Boards and Committees)
Separate agencies
State Owned Corporations
Statutory Authorities/Bodies
Subsidiaries of the NSW Government established under the Corporations Act
Councils under the Local Government Act




Publishing Entity
The Treasury
Issuing Entity
The Treasury