1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/11/2013   
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Measures of Australia's Progress


Australians aspire to a society that values and cares for the wellbeing of all its members

Measures of Australia's Progress (MAP) presents a view of Australian life divided into four main areas: society, economy, environment and governance. During our latest consultation, we asked Australians about what is important to them for national progress for each of these areas. For society, they identified the aspects they felt were most important and what they thought Australia should aspire to (or aim for) to achieve progress. We have sought to provide indicators that will capture the spirit of, and measure, these aspirations for societal progress. The statement at the top of this page is the overall aspiration Australians had for society.

In the context of MAP, society primarily concerns human relationships. It also encompasses the desire for good health, better living conditions and improved quality of life for all Australians. Individuals seek to achieve these for themselves, for their family, and for their communities.

A major driving force in human activity is the desire for optimal health, better living conditions and improved quality of life. A fundamental objective of government is to create better conditions of living for the population, and many community groups and private organisations also work towards this objective. In MAP, social progress is measured by improvements in the wellbeing of the population; a reduction in threats to, and increases in, social cohesion; and providing increased access and opportunities.

What did Australians say?

Australians are interested in more than health and living conditions. Many people expressed aspirations in the areas of personal safety - for people to be safe and to feel safe. They felt that having the time, opportunity and support to maintain close relationships is important, as is the opportunity to participate in learning, to embrace diversity and build strong connections with the communities that we live in. All these aspects were considered important for social progress.

The Australian ethos of 'a fair go' emerged throughout the consultation, encompassing access and opportunity for essential parts of life, including employment, education and assistance for people who are vulnerable. People also thought that it was important to acknowledge the areas of life that are hard to measure but are important for the wellbeing of a society and its progress. Intangible experiences, such as the feelings that belonging and giving can provide, as well as the benefits of participation in sport and cultural events, were seen to enrich lives and contribute to social cohesion.

Main themes of society

Our recent consultation agreed on eight main themes Australians thought where important for social progress and where possible, MAP provides progress indicators for these themes and their elements. As there are many newly emerging areas of interest from the consultation process, we don't have measures for all of these. However, MAP is an evolving product and we will seek to fill data gaps as suitable measures become available.

To view the societal measures included in MAP, click on the themes below to see how Australia is progressing in that area:

  • Health - Australians aspire to good health for all
  • Close relationships - Australians aspire to a society that nurtures families and other close relationships that support people
  • Home - Australians aspire to have secure places to live that provide a sense of belonging and home, and are adequate to their needs
  • Safety - Australians aspire to a society where people are safe and feel safe
  • Learning and knowledge - Australians aspire to a society that values and enables learning
  • Community connections and diversity - Australians aspire to support each other and embrace diversity
  • A fair go - Australians aspire to a fair society that enables everyone to meet their needs
  • Enriched lives - Australians aspire to value all aspects of life that are important to people and enrich their lives