Re-thinking measures of national wellbeing

September 17 / 197

On an almost daily basis we are warned about the shape of the nation’s finances, told statistics about market behaviour, frightened over housing unaffordability, and chastened over the amount of debt Australians have. What if this dire state of the economy we are told about is based on analysis of the wrong things?

A group of researchers based in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education are part of a project called the Australian National Development Index (ANDI), which is seeking to re-evaluate the indicators we choose to use as signs of national wellbeing. 

They’re hoping to add indicators of things like social connectedness and equality to existing measures such as GDP and economic indices to create a fuller, more rounded picture of where we are. 

ANDI project manager Mike Salvaris says its broad aim is to establish a set of goals and measures for Australia's progress ‘beyond GDP’, which represent a clearer, more considered and more holistic vision of the future we want, and are based on an inclusive national community engagement process and extensive national research. 

“With growing inequality in Australian society, and a dramatic decline in public confidence in our political process to solve major issues from climate change to marriage equality, the ANDI project can provide a national platform for Australians to help design a better collective vision for our country that is meaningful and concrete.

“Each year ANDI will produce an index of overall national wellbeing, and twelve separate indexes and status reports in key component ‘domains’ of progress,” he says.

These domains are: Children and youth wellbeing; Communities and regions; Culture, recreation and leisure; Democracy and governance; Economic life and prosperity; Education and creativity; Environment and sustainability; Health; Indigenous wellbeing; Justice and fairness; Subjective wellbeing; Work and work life.

Learn more about the ANDI project here.


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