This engagement has closed for comment. Thanks for your interest and stay tuned for updates.

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What kind of place is South Australia? What kind of place do we want it to be?

As a thinker in residence, in 2013 Professor Martin Seligman challenged South Australian to build a State of Wellbeing. This challenge recognised South Australia’s many assets, and asked us to think about what we hope for – for ourselves, our families and our communities.

Following a recent 90 Day Project, the SA: State of Wellbeing statement updates our work to date in building a State of Wellbeing.

What is wellbeing?

The statement describes wellbeing as ‘having access to the necessary resources, supports and opportunities to minimise challenges and work toward life ambitions’ (pages 6 and 7). 

The statement also includes the results of an earlier YourSAy engagement –  ‘what does wellbeing mean to you? (page 8), also summarised here (PDF 580 KB).

On page 9, the statement also makes clear that wellbeing is made up of psychological, social and physical aspects, and that these aspects are influenced by many factors, including things like:

  • Personal conditions and resources (e.g. knowledge and skills, attitudes and beliefs, personality, genetics).
  • Community and neighbourhood conditions and resources (e.g. social cohesion, availability of services, safety, environment, community connection).
  • State and national conditions and resources (e.g. essential services and infrastructure, social and economic policy, food and energy security).
  • Global conditions (e.g. climate change, trade, human migration and displacement).

In other words, our wellbeing is influenced by our own personal factors, our relationships with others, and the places we live.

Is it important to know if our wellbeing is improving?

National, state and local governments are elected to help improve people’s lives. While Government alone cannot directly make us happier, it helps to create the conditions for many of the things that can – like the economy, our environment, our community and the places we live.

Across the globe, many countries are now beginning to think about how they measure improvements in people’s lives – in a way that includes but is not limited to economic criteria.  This includes places and organisations like the United Kingdom, Canada, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). These measures commonly look at both factual things like education, employment, health, environment and other factors – as well as things like how people feel about their lives.

Measuring wellbeing can help at the State or National level to: 

  • Develop a cross community understanding of wellbeing
  • Better know what is working and what needs to improve
  • Help join up efforts across Government, community, business and others to improve wellbeing

Measuring wellbeing can help us as individuals, by:

  • Making clear what matters most
  • Ensuring efforts are directed to priorities
  • Improving conditions and outcomes in these priority areas

The small group of interested people, organisations and experts we engaged in the 90 Day Project thought it was important to know and measure our wellbeing.

But what do you think?

How important do you think it is to know and measure if our wellbeing is improving as a State? How would you measure our wellbeing? You can get involved by:

What happens next?

This engagement will close Sunday 23 October.

The results of this engagement will be fed back to the Premier and Government, to inform how South Australia might measure our wellbeing.