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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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About MAP

WHAT IS THE ABS ROLE IN MEASURING PROGRESS?

    "Statistical indicators are important for designing and assessing policies aiming at advancing the progress of society, as well as for assessing and influencing the functioning of economic markets. Their role has increased significantly over the last two decades. ... More and more people look at statistics to be better informed or to make decisions."
    Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi 2009, Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, Final Report

A national statistical agency like the ABS plays an important role in providing the statistical evidence that allows assessments of progress to be made by those who formulate and evaluate policy, by researchers and by the Australian community. Setting out a suite of social, economic and environmental indicators that aim to measure a country's progress continues to be one of the most important and challenging tasks that a national statistical agency undertakes.

It is a task that has been undertaken by the ABS and other national statistical organisations in some form or another over a long period of time. For example, the ABS developed its program of social indicators in the early 1970s when the OECD launched the 24-nation Social Indicators Program, and has, since then, regularly published a set of in-depth social indicators in Australian Social Trends (ABS cat. no. 4102.0). These indicators have been available for perusal in conjunction with key economic indicators, and, since 1998, with key environment and energy statistics.

However, in response to growing public interest in seeing economic, social and environmental information brought together, the ABS developed MAP which focuses attention on the interrelationships between these areas.

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