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Jim Chalmers (ABC News/Nick Haggarty)

Australia is falling behind or making little progress on almost half of the 50 measures of national wellbeing being tracked by the Commonwealth Government, including family financial security, chronic health problems and trust in government and institutions. Source: Canberra Times

In its first comprehensive effort to assess how the country is faring, the Government’s inaugural Measuring What Matters report has identified 20 areas of improvement, seven where there has been little change, 12 where there has been a deterioration and eight where progress is mixed. Assessment is not yet possible on three indicators.

The Government has developed the dashboard of measures, grouped under five themes – health, security, sustainability, cohesion and prosperity – to track the nation’s wellbeing and progress in ways that go beyond narrow economic indicators of growth, employment, inflation and wages.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said although tackling inflation and setting the foundations for future growth remained the Government’s primary focus, “it is important that we simultaneously work on better aligning our economic and social goals”.

“Measuring What Matters is part of a deliberate effort to put people and progress, fairness and opportunity at the very core of our thinking about our economy and our society,” Dr Chalmers said.

According to the initial report card, Australia is making progress in areas such as life expectancy, emissions reduction, acceptance of diversity, trust in others, per capita income, childhood development and job opportunities and satisfaction.

But feelings of life satisfaction have stagnated, as have measures of mental health, job security, income and wealth inequality and trust in key institutions like the police.

And the country is going backwards when it comes to households making ends meet, chronic health problems, online safety, national security, homelessness, productivity and trust in government.

Dr Chalmers said “improving wellbeing is the job of government, business and other organisations, as well as Australian communities and the Australian people.”


Nation scores bare pass in its first wellbeing scorecard (Adrian Rollins, Canberra Times)


Wellbeing budget shows we’re living longer but cuddly animals are on the decline (Sydney Morning Herald)