1370.0.00.002 - Measures of Australia's Progress - Aspirations for our Nation: A Conversation with Australians about Progress , 2011-12  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/05/2013   
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Brian Pink, Australian Statistician, image

Measuring progress – providing information about whether life is getting better is perhaps the most important task a national statistical agency undertakes. Measuring progress has been a responsibility of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and its predecessors since colonial times. Then, the idea of progress and the measures required were somewhat simpler – wool exports and the size of the population, for instance. Over time, more complex measures were introduced, such as labour force measures and economic accounting, in response to social and economic disruption following the First and Second World Wars. More recently, global interest has focussed on measuring the social and environmental dimensions of progress; ensuring that official statistics measure what nations care about for national progress; and going beyond using Gross Domestic Product as the main indicator of progress.

A decade ago the ABS made a major contribution with the release of the first issue of Measures of Australia’s Progress (ABS 2002). At that time, the Bulletin referred to Measures of Australia’s Progress (MAP) as a revolutionary set of indicators which provided great insights into how life is improving and at what rate. Ten years on, the ABS, guided by the MAP Expert Reference Group (ERG), has undertaken a national consultation to review MAP, ensuring it remains relevant to today’s society – that we are measuring what Australian society cares about.

Proposing aspirations for national progress is the role of the Australian public, rather than that of the ABS. The role of the ABS has been to facilitate and synthesise the set of aspirational statements received from the consultation process. This consultation has therefore allowed the ABS to hear, listen and reflect on the aspirations that Australians hold for national progress.

This publication provides an account of this consultation; how it was run and the feedback that has been received. It highlights the ABS’ use of social media to engage new audiences and provides a record of the broad consultation undertaken with individuals, organisations and governments across the nation. The publication also presents an overview of other key progress measurement initiatives, both national and international, and the aspirations that these projects articulate.

This publication, ‘Measures of Australia’s Progress – aspirations for our nation: a conversation with Australians about progress’ provides an account of the aspirations that came from the consultation. The next phase of the MAP review will be to use these consultation results, together with expert statistical advice, to develop a refreshed set of indicators for the next generation of MAP. The aspirations of Australians will form the basis for the release of a new version of MAP in the second half of 2013.

The ABS would like to thank everyone who participated in the MAP consultation. We appreciate the guidance, support and input we have received from the many individuals, groups and organisations who were involved. Their enthusiasm and engagement ensured a successful process and enhanced the findings of this publication.

As MAP is an evolving product, we welcome comments and suggestions on the contents of this publication. Please send any comments to the Director of Social and Progress Reporting at the following address:

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10
Belconnen ACT 2616
or measuringprogress@abs.gov.au

Brian Pink
Australian Statistician
November 2012