Cost Recovery Guidelines

Before 1 July 2015, the 2005 Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines, Second Edition was applied to set Government charges. Its arrangement of marginal or incremental charging (depending on circumstance) and recognition of public goods resulted from the Productivity Commission’s Public Inquiry into Cost Recovery by Government Agencies as part of economic reforms to implement National Competition Policy.

The 2014 Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines, Third Edition (copy) no longer applies marginal or incremental costs but “full cost”, a term left undefined and to be interpreted by the aspirations and biases of officials, politicians and their appointees.

The broad scope of cost recovery charging in the Second Edition was reduced to regulatory like charging (e.g. compliances, registrations, approvals) in the Third Edition. Under the Cormann changes most additional services now fall under the Australian Government Charging Framework.

The Cormann changes do not recognise the existence of public goods. This allows for the charging of public information in additional services to be at market value through interpretation.

Public information are public goods that can be turned into paid goods by restricting access. As monopoly products, public information are ripe for revenue raising.