Measuring Sustainability program

Report cover

Sustainable Australia Report 2013


About the program

To build a sustainable Australia we need improved information about our economy, environment and society, and the linkages between them, to better inform decisions and policy making. We also need to take a longer-term view and consider how actions and decisions today affect the opportunities available to future generations.

The Measuring Sustainability program supports these objectives by establishing a set of sustainability indicators for Australia.

The program offers a comprehensive and integrated approach to measuring and monitoring sustainability in Australia. It provides information on current and emerging economic, environmental and social issues - and the linkages between them - to support decision-making and planning at national and community levels.

Sustainability indicators for Australia

Sustainability requires that the wellbeing of society - the combination of community liveability, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity - is maintained or improved over time. Measuring sustainability is about monitoring how each of these is tracking over time - or, put another way, measuring our stock of social and human, natural and economic 'capital'.

A set of sustainability indicators for Australia have been established to provide information about our:

  • social and human capital (skills and education; health; employment; security; institutions, governance and community engagement)
  • natural capital (climate and atmosphere; land, ecosystems and biodiversity; natural resources; water; waste)
  • economic capital (wealth and income; housing; transport and infrastructure; productivity and innovation).

The development of Australia's sustainability indicators has taken into account domestic and international best practice, and has included consultation with state and local governments, academic and research institutions, business and industry, and non-government and community organisations.

Find out more


The Director
Sustainability Policy & Reporting Section
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Or via email: