Treasurer Jim Chalmers listens to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the National Press Club in Canberra, Australia, 29 August 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/MICK TSIKAS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Australia releases first national wellbeing framework

Sydney, Australia, Jul 21 (EFE).- The Australian government will take into account life expectancy, inclusion and sustainability, among other indicators, to prepare its budget after releasing its first national well-being framework on Friday.

Then-leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese and then-shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers arrive to conduct breakfast television interviews at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, 12 May 2021. EFE-EPA FILE/MICK TSIKAS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

This initiative, similar to those previously adopted by New Zealand, Scotland and Canada, is based on 50 indicators in five categories: health, security, sustainability, cohesion and prosperity.

The framework, titled “Measuring What Matters,” is intended to provide information that will be used alongside traditional data to measure the economy, such as gross domestic product, employment, inflation and wages, in order to prepare the budget.

The government’s main focus is “addressing inflation and laying the foundations for future growth, but it is important that we simultaneously work on better aligning our economic and social goals in our communities and right across the country,” said Treasurer Jim Chalmers.

The framework highlights that in recent decades, Australians’ life expectancy has increased – 85.4 years for women and 81.3 for men – in addition to better job opportunities, better use of resources, more tolerance of social diversity and trust in peers, among other improvements in around 20 indicators.

Australians rated their general satisfaction with life between 2014 and 2019 at 7.5 out of 10, although during the Covid-19 pandemic it fell by 0.3 percentage points, according to the report.

In contrast, 12 other indicators have worsened, especially in health, impacted by the increase in the rate of chronic diseases as a result of population aging and, in some cases, greater difficulties in accessing health, care and support services.

Australians also fear more for national security and are impacted by declining biodiversity and the housing crisis, which absorbs a greater share of the population’s income.

The report also points out that another 18 indicators present slight changes.

Chalmers, who took over as treasurer in May 2022, first proposed a welfare budget in 2020 when he was in opposition, two years after then-New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern presented her first wellbeing budget that included data such as the mental health of residents. EFE