Project status: Closed

On Thursday 12 March 2020, the ACT Government launched its Wellbeing Framework.

We’ve established the ACT Wellbeing Framework to measure what’s most important to your quality of life, so we can focus on what you care about in our future decision making. Having a set of Wellbeing Indicators will help us invest more of our time, energy and creativity to make a real difference for difference for all Canberrans, with a particular focus on those who are not currently sharing in the benefits of our prosperity in the way they should.

To find out more about the ACT Wellbeing Framework visit

How you had YourSay:

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback that will help to refine the ACT’s Wellbeing Framework.

The Framework has been developed through an extensive process of community consultation over an eight-month period in 2019-20. We heard from nearly 3000 Canberrans about what is most important to their quality of life – including from people who do not usually have the opportunity to engage on these sorts of issues. From Gungahlin to Lanyon, from food pantries to Floriade, to evening gatherings over pizza with young people and people of multicultural background, morning teas with seniors, and through the YourSay Community Panel, we have heard the stories and experiences of people from across the ACT.

A Consultation Summary Report provides further details of the consultation journey for the Wellbeing Framework, including the many groups we engaged with, and how feedback from the community has shaped the Framework at every step.

What we are looking at:

Throughout July and August, we heard from members of the community about the areas that matter most to the quality of life of Canberrans. This included the types of priorities that are important to Canberrans to help track our progress in these areas. Find out more about what we have heard so far from Canberrans (located: in the drop down box at the bottom of the page).

We have taken that information and developed:

  • a set of potential ‘domains’. These are areas most important to the quality of life for Canberrans and our wellbeing; and
  • associated priorities or ‘indicators’ for each of these domains which would help us track our progress in these areas. We sought your views on these through this survey and with the YourSay Community Panel.

During September to November, we received your feedback to help refine the proposed domains and indicators.

We will use your views to:

Your views will help to refine the ACT’s Wellbeing Framework which will be launched by the Chief Minister in March 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions:

By any of the standard economic metrics, Canberra is performing well. We consistently have among the lowest unemployment rate and the highest average salaries. Our economy has grown faster than every other state or territory for a number of years and our population is growing as more people are attracted to our liveable city. These indicators matter, but they’re not the only things that matter. We want to measure the broader range of things that are important to you and your quality of life.

In partnership with the community, the ACT Government is in the process of developing a set of wellbeing indicators to monitor our progress across a broad range of areas that reflect the values of Canberrans and influence our quality of life. The indicators will help guide government decision-making and our priorities for future investments.

How wellbeing is measured around the world can differ. To be useful, a set of indicators need to be broad enough to encompass the various different facets of wellbeing, but specific enough that we can track progress and make policy or investment decisions using the insights gained.

The indicators will ensure we keep a focus on inclusion, so that the quality of life and wellbeing of all Canberrans grows as our city does.

Every element of your life can influence wellbeing, from health and housing to the environment we live in, as well as the strength of our communities and access to activities we enjoy.

Quality of life and feeling healthy and happy will mean different things to different people. That’s why we are asking you to have your say during the development of the indicators.

There are likely to be range of attributes that we, as a community, value and consider to be priorities when it comes to wellbeing. It will be these values that we collectively identify across Canberra that will guide the development of the ACT's wellbeing indicators.

At the same time as seeking your feedback on these issues, we will be bringing together information on the types of data and other information sets that might allow us to measure indicators across the range of priorities we are considering.

This could include data and information held at ACT, national and community levels. It is possible that suitable data do not currently exist in some areas and so we will need to consider whether it might be possible to determine new sources of data to meet the need.

Because the ‘wellbeing’ of individuals has a lot to do with how we feel about various life circumstances, consideration will need to be given as to how such information can be gathered, including by survey. Existing government surveys conducted in the ACT will continue to be a basis for doing this, but it may be that information already collected in the community could help perform this role. We would be interested in hearing if this is the case, via

It will be desirable that the data and information we use to measure the indicators at a whole of Canberra level be capable of being broken down to show the outcomes in the different domains for various groups of the Canberra population. Canberra typically performs well in areas based on the “average Canberran”. But we know that outcomes in these areas are not the same for everyone, and our collective strengths can mask less than ideal outcomes for some groups of Canberrans. The Government wants to use the wellbeing framework as a basis for establishing policy priorities and investments, so the ability of the framework to identify where our greatest needs for policy intervention and support are will be important.

During July and August, members of the new YourSay

Community Panel members told us the three most important factors for their

wellbeing were:

  • health
  • good relationships with family, friends and others
  • work-life balance

Canberrans who completed the community panel survey rated their overall wellbeing at 7.18 on average (on a scale where 1 is dissatisfied and 10 is completely satisfied).

To inform our process, we are also listening to what Canberrans have already told us in previous consultation processes. There are many common themes that have been identified through previous consultations conducted by the ACT Government that relate to wellbeing. For example, Canberrans have told us that:


  • health services, including mental health support, alcohol and drug treatment services, and aged care are some of the most important areas of government service delivery
  • we need to continue to focus on prevention, early support, integration of supports and a whole of community and government collaborative approach to physical and mental health and wellbeing, suicide and self-harm prevention
  • it is important to recognise there is a strong relationship between marginalisation and social disadvantage and poorer health (including mental health) and wellbeing


  • parents’ clear and highest priority is that their children are happy, engaged and learning how to learn
  • there should be collaboration between and support between educators, students, and parents to meet individual student needs
  • diversity in the student population should be seen as the norm, and as a strength
  • the safety of all students on territory education campuses is an important area to focus attention


  • the government should continue to focus on public infrastructure, road projects and active travel considerations to continue to improve the amenity of our city
  • effective transport links are important to daily life for most Canberrans


  • climate change is a generational problem and will affect our future wellbeing
  • our natural environment and parks and reserves are highly valued, particularly their proximity and quality
  • it will be important to focus on improved waste processing and recycling services to help limit our impact on the environment as our city continues to grow

Economic development & diversification

  • the local business community plays an important role in partnership with government to deliver a thriving economy
  • as increase in gender equality and reduction in gender stereotype are critical to greater participation, equity and stronger outcomes in workplaces
  • inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through culturally appropriate engagement strategies are also key to greater participation and inclusion in our community

Supporting Families

  • housing and homelessness prevention, family services, support for disadvantaged children and people with disability, family violence prevention and social inclusion are key priorities for Canberrans
  • the wellbeing of children and young people needs focus, particularly the importance of social connections from the early years and their influence when life undergoes change

Canberra Community

  • there is clear association between individuals’ health and wellbeing with where and how they live
  • that trust underpins people’s willingness to access services in the ACT
  • the use of services can be impacted by a lack of social infrastructure such as transport
  • services that are designed to encourage inclusion and participation are more likely to receive uptake
  • Canberrans value human rights and an inclusive society where everyone is respected and treated fairly and equally, and where restorative approaches are encouraged
  • there is an interest in place-based city services and maintenance.

Community Safety

  • we should continue to prioritise justice reinvestment, addressing the causes of crime and building communities not prisons, to make Canberra safer and reduce recidivism
  • addressing drug and alcohol abuse, as well as mental health issues, contributes to improved community safety
  • women should feel safe in their communities and homes, and there should be no tolerance for violence against women and children
  • it is important for victims of crime to be treated with respect, provided with information and have a voice in proceedings affecting them
  • we should focus on supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leadership, self-determination and culturally appropriate community led initiatives to address disadvantage and overrepresentation in the justice system
  • improved social cohesion and diversity is important to combat fears around violent extremism and terrorism

Land and Planning

  • having access to green spaces delivers benefits for individuals, the community and institutions and so this needs to be preserved
  • protecting and strengthening the unique character of a place should be an important consideration when exploring changes
  • access to shopping precincts; access to parks and amenities; safe and connected footpaths; maintained trees and shrubs; and maintained and connected roads are high priorities for making our suburbs and regions so liveable
  • environmental and sustainability practices should be key elements of our planning and development
  • we should strive for city renewal that provides welcoming, inclusive public and private spaces that value social connectedness, community health and wellbeing and connecting people with nature.
  • we need to ensure appropriate and adequate housing options are available for all Canberrans
  • as Australia’s greenest capital it is important that we continue to have effective bushfire preparedness and strategic planning.

We actively engaged with over 100 Canberra community organisations and advisory bodies throughout July, as our first key phase of engagement. We invited these organisations and other groups who had contributed to the wellbeing conversation to two further roundtables in November 2019.

These facilitated conversations helped us to understand what matters to Canberrans when it comes to quality of life and the influences on our wellbeing. At the November roundtables, we workshopped draft indicators to help inform the final wellbeing framework. Find out what we heard through the reports below.

July roundtables:

Roundtable 1: Listening Report

Roundtable 2: Listening Report

Roundtable 3: Listening Report

Roundtable 4: Listening Report

November roundtables:

Roundtable 5: Listening Report

There are many countries and jurisdictions around the world that are now working to measure wellbeing.

New Zealand recently introduced its Living Standards Framework based on the OECD How’s Life index.

How wellbeing is measured in other countries - Presentation by University of Canberra

This presentation was given at our stakeholder roundtables by Associate Professor Jacki Schirmer and Professor Rob Tanton of the University of Canberra in early July 2019. It outlines some definitions of wellbeing and the experience of frameworks from other jurisdictions.

Banner image: Damian Breach for VisitCanberra