John is the Executive Director of ACIL Allen's Perth office, and is respected across business and governments in Western Australia and the Northern Territory as an economist, policy leader and senior executive.
John Nicolaou is Executive Director of the Perth Office of ACIL Allen, leading a team of highly skilled and experienced consultants that provide quality research, credible analysis, and innovative advice to support business decisions and policy assessment and development.
John is respected across business and government, with more than 20 years of experience as an economist, policy leader and senior executive working at the Commonwealth and WA Treasuries and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA, including 10 years as its Chief Economist.
John was educated at the University of Western Australia and holds a Bachelor of Economics with First Class Honours and a Master of Business Administration, and has been an Adjunct Professor at Curtin Business School. In recognition of his contribution to economics and the policy debate, John won a prestigious WA Business News 40under40 award in 2011.
John is a Non-Executive Director of the Brightwater Care Group, which is one of Western Australia’s largest providers of accommodation and care services for the elderly and people with a disability. He is also Chairman of St Peter’s School Board.
John leads in the delivery of a wide variety of projects for government departments and agencies, not-for-profit associations, and corporate clients, providing advice on a wide span of economics, strategy and public policy issues. Reflecting John’s experience, his advisory work also extends to the communication and ongoing advocacy for clients on an as needs basis.
A sample selection of John’s recent projects that demonstrate the breadth of his work are presented below.
- Functional Review of Department of Communities – Disability Services, Department of Communities (2019)
ACIL Allen was engaged by the Department of Communities, on request of the Economic and Expenditure Review Committee of State Cabinet, to undertake a comprehensive review and prepare an options paper with respect to the future role of the Western Australian Government in the disability services sector. The engagement centred on development of a comprehensive understanding of the current state of play in the disability services sector in Western Australia, detailed financial, resource allocation and policy analysis of the State’s current and potential future functions, development of a series of strategic approaches the State could adopt, and a detailed understanding of choices the State can make with respect to previous and new functions to assist people with disability in the State – all in the context of the rapidly evolving National Disability Insurance Scheme.
- Baseline Sectoral Greenhouse Gas Projections for Western Australia to-2050 (2019)
This project, for the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, was a complex and thorough modelling exercise to determine the baseline level of carbon emissions for the Western Australian economy over a 30 year period. The engagement centred on the interconnection of economic and energy market modelling, with the development of bespoke market-based models of future supply (and therefore industry activity) in Western Australia’s most significant industries (iron ore, gold, lithium, petroleum, agriculture and transport). As part of this engagement, ACIL Allen was required to provide some policy directions for the WA Government in relation to the State’s future emissions. John was also required to provide presentations to key stakeholders across the WA Government as part of this engagement.
- Value for Money Assessment of Tourism WA (2019)
This project, for Tourism WA, was a value for money assessment that leaned on WA Treasury’s Evaluation Guide. The assessment developed an evaluation framework centred on an analysis of the efficiency, effectiveness and appropriateness of Tourism WA’s activities as they relate to the development and promotion of Western Australia’s tourism industry. The methodology centred on stakeholder consultation and extensive data analysis, development of case studies of specific Tourism WA initiatives, and an overall economic impact assessment. The methodology also included a Benefit Cost Assessment to measure the value for money of initiatives funded by Tourism WA, and enabled a comparison and extrapolation of outcomes over a larger portfolio of initiatives. This methodology developed for this study has become the benchmark for the WA Treasury when seeking to understand the value for money of a particular policy, program or agency.
- Strategic Financial Review of Rottnest Island Authority (2019)
This project, for the Rottnest Island Authority, was a strategic review of the Authority’s pricing regime for the provision of services on Rottnest Island. The engagement centred on a review of the way the Authority sets the most important of its fees and charges, particularly its regulated Admission Fee, its charges for commercial tenancies, its utilities charges and charges for specific experiences and accommodation options. The engagement is centred on a financial analysis and survey of current users, with development of a reform program (including development of an agreed set of underpinning principles) that would better match the cost of service delivery with the prices charged to consumers. The analysis in the Review was centred on the development and delivery of an Activity Based Cost Model to understand the drivers of the cost of services and revenue generation at an activity, rather than cost centre, level.
- Economic Benefits and Risks of the Development of the Unconventional Gas Industry in the Northern Territory (2017)
This project, undertaken for the Northern Territory Government through the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing, was a comprehensive economic study of the potential economic benefits and risks of the unconventional gas industry in the context of the Northern Territory. The NT Government implemented a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing activities for the purposes of conducting an independent, science-based study of the industry and its potential in the NT. ACIL Allen was engaged to provide a perspective on the benefits and costs, using economic modelling, research and case studies of developments in other States or countries, as well as the key policy issues that should be considered. As well as providing a detailed report to the Inquiry, John was required to brief both the NT Government and Opposition regarding the key findings from the report.