While most of the coverage of the Productivity Commission's annual Trade and Assistance Review (TAR) concentrated on its singling out of various pet projects of different governments for criticism, as always if you dig a little deeper into the report there are some long-running horror stories on which to reflect.

The TAR is a vehicle for the commission to reflect on various developments across the year in economic, fiscal and trade policy, and the 2015-16 edition is no exception, with the federal government's Northern Australia boondoggle fund, Malcolm Turnbull's Snowy 2.0 media stunt and South Australia's plans to re-enter the energy market, all taken to task.