1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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About MAP


In April 2002, the Australian Bureau of Statistics made a major contribution to measuring whether life is getting better in Australia with the release of the first issue of Measures of Australia's Progress (MAP), then called Measuring Australia's Progress. At that time, the Bulletin referred to this publication as a revolutionary set of indicators which provided great insights on how life is improving, and at what rate. As a result, the Bulletin nominated the Australian Statistician as one of Australia's Smart 100 in 2003.

Setting out a suite of social, economic and environmental indicators that aim to measure a country's progress continues to be one of the most important and challenging tasks that a national statistical agency undertakes. In this 2010 edition of Measures of Australia's Progress, the ABS has met those challenges by including a number of changes that improve the usefulness of the information for the Australian community.

  • A dashboard display of key social, economic and environmental headline indicators improves accessibility and visibility and helps people, at a glance, to assess whether some key aspects of life in Australia are getting better
  • The publication is now entirely electronic
  • A headline indicator, low income rental affordability, has been included for the first time in the Housing dimension
  • The Environment dimension has been restructured to move towards a presentation that is more consistent with other major environmental reports, notably the State of the Environment report produced five yearly under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Public interest in the interrelationships between economic, social and environmental aspects of life continues to grow in communities, in governments, and internationally. Building in part on the MAP initiative, the OECD, in partnership with a range of other international institutions, established a Global Project on Measuring the Progress of Societies and has since hosted three major international dialogues and debates on measuring societal progress. More recently, a report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress and the European Union Beyond GDP report, to name just two, have recommended a rethink of measurement systems and encouraged a national and global dialogue on what we care about, whether what we are striving for is achieving what we care about, and whether this is adequately reflected in our national and international metrics.

Although Measures of Australia's Progress has presented, side-by-side, measures of economic performance, social wellbeing and the environment since 2002, the question remains as to whether these measures adequately represent what most Australians care about. For this reason, and to take account of the international work in this area, the ABS has included a special article in this edition setting out possible future directions for measuring progress in Australia. I encourage you to look at this article, discuss it, and provide us with feedback on what is important to you so that future editions present measures that you and others in Australian society care about. Your suggestions and comments are most welcome and can be provided through our blog at <www.abs.gov.au/about/progress/blog>, through participation in one of the many dialogues which will be conducted throughout Australia during coming months, or directly to the Director of Social and Progress Reporting section at the address below.

As in past editions, a number of people have assisted in contributing to this edition. I would like to express special thanks for the contributions and support from our group of expert external advisors - Mr David Borthwick, Professor Mike Salvaris, Professor Fiona Stanley, Mr Rob Ward, Dr Ken Tallis, Dr Subho Banerjee and Ms Sue Vroombout.

Brian Pink
Australian Statistician
September 2010

Social and Progress Reporting Section
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10
Belconnen ACT 2616
Email: measuringprogress@abs.gov.au


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