Statistics tell us about who we are as a nation. They tell us where we have been, where we presently are, and are fundamental in guiding us into the future. Measuring progress is one of the most important and challenging tasks that a national statistical agency can undertake, and this refreshed edition of Measures of Australia’s Progress (MAP) represents a key milestone for the ABS. MAP presents a range of indicators which enable Australians to decide whether life in Australia is getting better. Based on an extensive consultation process with Australians, the ABS has developed and articulated a new conceptual framework for the measurement of progress. This framework ensures the new measures are relevant and robust, and will remain so into the future.
More than a decade ago, the ABS made a major contribution to the measurement of progress with the inaugural release of MAP (ABS 2002). At that time, MAP was referred to as a revolutionary product that provided great insights into how life in Australia was improving, and at what rate. In 2011-12, the ABS undertook a national consultation to review MAP and ensure it remained relevant with indicators that aligned with the aspirations and hopes of Australians for their and the nation's future. The ABS is now releasing a refreshed set of indicators that measure those areas that Australians told us were most important to them for national progress. Building our new measures on a strong foundation of community views ensures the relevance and legitimacy of MAP as an important statement about whether life in Australia is getting better.
The role of the ABS and our pursuit of the meaningful measurement of progress has pre-empted and influenced progress measurement initiatives occurring around the world. MAP sits at the vanguard of this international activity. Our chief contributions to the international conversation about progress have been to ensure our official statistics measure what Australians care about for national progress and that these indicators are built upon a strong conceptual foundation ensuring that we create and consider broader measures of progress.
Most importantly, this edition of MAP provides a mirror to the face of the nation, giving citizens insight into how Australia is fairing, and providing information about whether life in Australia is getting better.
The ABS would like to thank everyone who has assisted in the production of this edition of MAP. The ABS was guided in this process by an Expert Reference Group, to whom I would like to express my gratitude for their ongoing contribution. I would also like to thank Australians from across the country who have provided their valuable input to the MAP consultation process.
As MAP is an evolving product, we welcome comments and suggestions on the contents of this release. Please send any comments to the Director of Social and Progress Reporting at the following address:
Social and Progress Reporting Section
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10
Belconnen ACT 2616