Australia’s Progress in the 21st Century


Final Report from the Pilot Project

In July 2013 ACOLA published the final report of the pilot project:  (5MB) Australia's Progress in the Twenty-First Century - measuring the future we want.

Contributing Consultants Reports - The contributing surveys and consultants reports for the AP21C Pilot Report are available here


Over the past ten years or so, a new global movement has emerged to produce measures of societal progress that go beyond GDP, born out of a growing awareness that such macroeconomic indicators are an incomplete picture of the actual health of our economy, communities, and environment.

In Australia, a network of 50 leading community organisations, church groups, businesses and universities have come together to introduce a holistic measure of progress, called the Australian National Development Index (ANDI).  ANDI is an index that will reflect the views of Australians in an ongoing, participatory process. Informed by experts, but defined by Australians, ANDI will tell us in a snapshot, how we are doing as peoples, as communities and as a nation.  

'Australia's progress in the 21st century’ (AP21C) is a strategic national research pilot to create a sound scientific foundation to inform the development of the ANDI project.  As key partners of ANDI, ACOLA and VicHealth have provided $100,000 for the AP21C pilot project to develop key domains of progress, agreement of the most important themes within each domain, the initiation of a university progress research network and a communications strategy to engage ordinary Australians in having a say on what national progress means to them.

The pilot project has already conducted a series of focus groups with community members in New South Wales and Victoria.  These focus group findings will be tested in a national online survey.   The work is being carried out by the Melbourne based Social Research Centre and will help us get a clearer picture of what Australians are thinking about progress and wellbeing for our country and what they see as the key priorities and values.   

AP21C is a major national multi-disciplinary project, involving all four Learned Academies, working closely with the vast network of ANDI partners.  AP21C will build on work done by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and their November 2012 report, ‘Aspirations for our nation: a conversation with Australians about progress’ and review local, national and international best practice in this field.  The pilot will also set out plans for a 3 year research project built around 12 key progress domains, as well as an outreach strategy for ongoing engagement with Australians.


Project Working Group

Professor Anne Edwards ASSA

Kellie Horton VicHealth

Professor Joseph Lo Bianco AAH

Professor Tony McMichael ATSE

Professor Mike Salvaris Deakin University

Professor Fiona Stanley AAS

Anne-Marie Wright VicHealth

Dr Jacques De Vos Malan ACOLA


Project Manager:

Regina Lane Senior Project Officer, ACOLA


Links and Publications

Australian National Development Index:

The media release from the launch of the AP21C Pilot is available here and the speech given by report author Professor Mike Salvaris is available here.