ANDI guide to Australia's future

Research news
27 August 2013
Deakin hosts new paradigm for democracy.

Deakin University has been invited to host ANDI, the Australian National Development Index.

ANDI was officially launched in August when pre-eminent Australian scientist Sir Gustav Nossal AC  released a new report from the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) and VicHealth which is part of a growing global movement to redefine how we measure societal progress.

The report, titled Australia’s Progress in the 21st Century, for the first time provides a scientific foundation to develop an indicator of progress that goes beyond gross domestic product (GDP) to measure how we are doing as a country and as a society, not just an economy.

“GDP growth has become a proxy for progress because we know how to calculate it, but GDP does not account for some of the negative effects of economic growth and fails to measure the quality of society and true national wellbeing at all,” said Report author Professor Mike Salvaris.

“GDP is also limited as it is retrospective. This new report sets the research foundation for the forward looking Australian National Development Index (ANDI). ANDI will set targets for the kind of future Australians want, based on extensive community engagement, tracking our progress along the way. It will enable us, in effect, to measure the future we want.”

The Australia’s Progress in the 21st Century pilot sets out an innovative plan for engagement with over 500,000 people to articulate the vision of Australians collectively.  Because what we measure affects what we do, ANDI will monitor our progress with outcomes informing nationwide policy and decision making.

ANDI brings a new paradigm to Australian democracy. For the first time Australians will decide on aspirations and goals for wellbeing and progress and ANDI will measure our progress against those goals, thus providing a powerful new tool to underpin new thinking and policy,” said Sir Gustav.

Deakin University is proud to be the “host” for ANDI.

“We been invited to ‘host’ ANDI because of our reputation as innovative; Australia’s most progressive university,” said Deakin’s Professor Joe Graffam.

“We produce excellent ‘research that makes a difference to the communities we serve’ and are collaborative as well.

“Deakin’s values and culture are well suited to ANDI.

“Deakin has supported and worked closely with the ANDI board during the project’s establishment phase and is committed to continuing the partnership.

“Our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, has committed seeding funds for three years to support positions, and the university will provide the ‘research domain leaders’ as well.

“They will recruit research collaborators from around Australia.  “

Professor Graffam said that among many developed and some developing countries around the world, projects are underway to produce national indexes of progress or wellbeing as complements to GDP which is limited to measuring economic ‘health’.

“ANDI is Australia’s version,” he said.

“Here in Australia, the ANDI project is supported by Australia’s Chief Scientist as well as ACOLA.

“Internationally, the project is also strongly supported by the OECD and the Global Progress Research Network.”

When established and underway, ANDI will include 12 domains within which annual ‘dipstick’ readings of progress against targets will be taken and reported.

The domains will include health, Indigenous health, education, financial condition, recreation and leisure, justice and security, arts, spirituality, and other life domains.

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Professor Mike Salvaris Professor Mike Salvaris

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