COVID Public Policy Ratings – Australia 2020

The Evidence-Based Policy Analysis report for 2020 has recently been published by Per Capita, with a special emphasis on public policy responses arising from the COVID-19 ’emergency’.

The authors conferred with Prof Kenneth Wiltshire AO, whose public policy business case criteria had been used in previous versions of this analysis, and he agreed to make some modifications to his original 10 criteria to account for the urgency of pandemic policy responses by federal and state governments. A reminder of Prof. Wiltshire’s original 10 criteria, and an outline of the agreed modifications, are illustrated below.

As highlighted in the header image above, of the eight policies in the pandemic response sample, five were assessed as acceptable, two mediocre, and one unacceptable. The HomeBuilder initiative only met four of the ten criteria in Prof Wiltshire’s public policy business case test.

The report also rates a number of other public policies developed during the same period, but not as emergency response measures. These ‘normal’ public policy ratings saw the Australian Government achieve both best and worst scores, with My Health Record scoring 10/10, and the Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Act 2019 (generally known as Medevac), scoring only 3/10.

Victoria was the only state with an unacceptable public policy rating, for its Free TAFE for priority courses initiative, which scored 4/10. Various other state and federal public policies scored between 6/10 and 9/10.

The 102-page report details the evidence used by the authors in determining whether or not the business case criteria were met by each of the public policies considered. Policy advocates and advisors will find the case study materials offer helpful insights which can inform their future analyses and representational work.

It would be interesting to see how the public policy pandemic responses of other countries and their states compare with those in Australia. Hopefully, some philanthropist will fund a suitably qualified think-tank or university to perform that analysis.

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