ABS asks Australia - what does progress mean to you? (Media Release)

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17 September, 2010

ABS asks Australia – what does progress mean to you?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is seeking input from Australians about what progress means to them. In a special feature essay, Future directions for measuring Australia’s progress, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has released an outline of how they might measure Australia's progress into the future.

“Defining a statistical framework that aims to measure a country's progress is one of the most important and challenging new tasks a national statistical agency faces”, Brian Pink, the Australian Statistician said today.

"The ABS has presented measures of progress since 2002; however the question remains as to whether these measures adequately represent what matters to most Australians care, " Mr Pink said.

National and international interest in measuring progress has accelerated over the last decade, intensifying in the last few years. The ABS has taken this opportunity to propose a new approach and to ask Australians to contribute their views.

The new approach proposes that social and environmental issues continue to be considered alongside economic issues, and that statistics about our institutional processes are brought into the picture.

It is also important to understand how some aspects of life can affect other aspects. For example, does having a highly productive labour force make it harder to achieve our goals for family connection and leisure time? And how does our economic production and consumption affect our ability to sustain our natural environment for future generations?

The new ABS approach aims to draw out some of these questions, for a more inclusive view of progress.

The ABS has set out its plans in a feature article that readers are invited to comment on in the online Measures of Australia’s Progress blog. The article is designed to assist people from all walks of life to have a meaningful conversation about Australia's progress.

"I encourage people to look at this article, discuss it, and provide us with feedback on what is important to you so the ABS can present measures that you and others in Australian society care about." Mr Pink said.

The article can be found on the Measures of Australia's Progress website, along with current user friendly information describing how Australia is progressing across a range of social, economic and environmental areas, such as health, education, work, income, wealth, biodiversity and atmosphere.

Please see the full online product at www.abs.gov.au/about/progress.