1383.0.55.001 - Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/04/2009   
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There are projects to measure progress and wellbeing at the international, national and sub-national levels. A selection of recent initiatives is mentioned below.


A number of Australian state and territory governments have developed strategic plans that articulate priorities and goals for building a better society. In addition, community indicators are produced in some states to report on the wellbeing of communities. The following describes a selection of this work:

  • The chapter of the final report of the 2020 Summit (held in April 2008) entitled Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion put forward the idea of a National Development Index containing social inclusion indicators - with social, economic and environmental measures - and publishing a government report with the budget each year to measure progress. (See Theme 5: Social inclusion is a first order issue.)
  • A New Direction for New South Wales, the NSW State Plan, released in 2006, sets out five areas of activity for the New South Wales Government including Rights, respect and responsibility, Delivering better services, Fairness and opportunity, Growing prosperity across NSW, and Environment for living.
  • Growing Victoria Together is a 10 year strategic plan beginning in 2001 and ending in 2010. It contains goals which balance social, economic and environmental considerations.
  • Community Indicators Victoria has been developed to present and report on the wellbeing of Victorians, using a set of community wellbeing indicators. Reports at the Local Government Area level, containing data from the 2007 Community Indicators Victoria Survey and other sources, are available on the website.
  • South Australia's Strategic Plan, updated in 2008, focuses on six themes including Growing prosperity, Improving wellbeing, Attaining sustainability, Fostering creativity and innovation, Building communities and Expanding opportunity.
  • Tasmania Together is a 20-year strategic plan (from 2001 to 2020) which contains 12 goals for Tasmania's long-term social, economic and environmental future.
  • The Canberra Social Plan sets out seven priorities to guide policy-makers over a 10 to 15 year period (from 2004).
  • The Australian Collaboration (a group of major peak bodies for national non-government organisations) in 2006 produced the report: Which Direction? A review of monitoring and reporting in Australia.

  • The OECD global project Measuring the progress of societies is built around a series of world forums and seeks to become the world wide reference point for those who wish to measure, or assess, the progress of their societies. The 3rd OECD world forum on statistics, knowledge and policy will focus on 'Charting progress, building visions, improving life' and will be held in Busan, Korea in October 2009.
  • The Canadian Index of Wellbeing is being developed through an innovative process of collaboration involving national leaders, researchers and importantly input from grass roots organisations and Canadian citizens.
  • The joint UNECE/OECD/Eurostat Working Group on Statistics for Sustainable Development presented a report on measuring sustainable development to the Conference of European Statisticians in June 2008. The report articulates a broad conceptual framework for the measurement of sustainable development and identifies a set of core indicators that may allow international comparisons.
  • The 'Beyond GDP' international conference was held in Brussels in November 2007. The conference aimed to clarify the indices that are most appropriate to measure progress, and how these can best be integrated into the decision-making process.
  • The UK Government launched a Sustainable Development Strategy in March 2005, called "Securing the Future", which sets out the vision of sustainable development to 2020. In 2008, data on the indicators were updated in Sustainable development indicators in your pocket 2008.
  • Each year, since 2003, Ireland's Central Statistics Office produces Measuring Ireland's Progress. This publication provides an analysis of the economic, social and environmental situation in Ireland.
  • Statistics Netherlands has made advances in compiling a System of Economic and Social Accounting Matrices and Extensions (SESAME). This system is an extension to the standard national account framework. For each variable, it permits analysis of both the national total value and its distribution among socioeconomic groups.
  • Other useful references are provided on the website of the International Institute of Sustainable Development.