Is This The Australia We Want?

Is This The Australia We Want?

A new national report released by the Community Council of Australia (CCA) has revealed that in many fundamental areas of Australian life we are heading in the wrong direction and identifies a number of key influences that can strengthen our wellbeing including the role of the arts and creativity.

In The Australia We Want report, Rev. Tim Costello, (Chair of CCA, Chief Advocate for World Vision) says, “It is time we looked beyond economic indicators and started focusing on the values that make Australia a great place to live. We are all much more than passengers in an economy. We are part of families, workplaces and communities. Within our communities we want to live lives that are worthwhile and enact values we believe in. This report highlights how far Australia is slipping in achieving some very important values. It should be a wakeup call for all of us.”

In 2015, 60 leaders in the not for profit sector joined together to consider what it is we all want- for our citizens and our country. This included leaders from the health and welfare service sector sitting down with their peers in animal welfare, volunteer services, foreign aid and arts organisations, sharing ideas and interrogating values to develop a vision and a way to measure success.

The Australia We Want report is the first ever benchmark of how Australia and each State and Territory is performing against values and goals prioritised by leaders from across the charities sector.

The 25 key values are identified under four broad collections:

1. just, fair, safe

2. inclusive, equality of opportunity, united, authentic

3. creative, confident, courageous, optimistic

4. generous, kind, compassionate

A key indicator of success is identified as the extent to which our country generates creative, confident, courageous and optimistic support for the arts.

The selection of benchmarking measures that would best measure this and other values included in the report is informed by the need to ensure, wherever possible, that each measure is repeatable, available, regularly updated. This approach means the primary sources of data about the key indicators tend to be major information providers such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Executive Director of AMPAG, Bethwyn Serow, said, “This has highlighted the real deficit in big data on the arts sector as a result of ABS’ 2013 decision to cease producing arts and cultural participation and government expenditure survey results.

“We are aware that the federal and state Departments of the Arts are working jointly to address these gaps and are hopeful this results in data that can be used in this new benchmarking report in subsequent years. For everyone, it’s terrific to see and hear the nations’ not for profit leaders recognise the importance of the arts and creativity to anAustralia We Want.”

The report invites politicians and communities to “Imagine an Australia where creativity drives real innovation and achievement, not just in our arts but in our schools and local communities. To Imagine a humane and sustainable Australia, where people are more connected and engaged in their communities they live and work in, and where involvement is reflected in the way we form our policies and laws.”

AMPAG Chair John Irving said, “I think this speaks to the role and place for the arts as a dynamic influencer that has the capacity to build skills and engagement for better outcomes across the population. It should inform education policy and innovation policy as well as encourage growth in direct arts making and engagement. We look to our local, state and federal leaders to work with us in this endeavour.”

The report, which was partly funded by Equity Trustees and supported by the Centre for Social Impact, iwas officially launched at the National Press Club by Rev. Tim Costello.

The full report can be accessed here: The Australia We Want

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