Australia has established a dashboard of metrics called “national wellbeing” to track progress on problems such as health, education, and the environment.
It will track metrics in five categories – healthy, secure, sustainable, cohesive, and prosperous – which will be shown on an online dashboard and updated annually.
They are meant to supplement standard economic metrics such as GDP, inflation, and unemployment.
Australia expects that it will result in a better balance of economic and social goals.
In a 127-page report titled “Measuring What Matters” issued to accompany the dashboard, the government painted a mixed picture of wellbeing.
According to the report, Australia has made improvement in terms of life expectancy, resource consumption, diversity, income, and employment. However, indicators of chronic disease, national security, biodiversity, and budgetary sustainability have all declined.
Nearly half of the population had one or more chronic health diseases, and 13% had mental health issues. Access to healthcare and treatment wait times have also deteriorated.
Measures of household financial stress and home access have already deteriorated, even before the recent jump in the cost of living and steep rise in borrowing costs.
In total, 20 of the indicators had improved over the previous decades, while seven had remained stable and 12 had deteriorated.
In recent years, several governments have moved to diversify governance beyond economic benchmarks, most notably Bhutan, where the “gross national happiness” index is regarded as more important than GDP.