Climateworks supports the development by Treasury of a Measuring What Matters Statement, and the development of an Australian framework for wellbeing to complement traditional fiscal macro-economic indicators.

There is increasing acceptance that fiscal indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP) are not sufficient measures of society’s progress, the health and happiness of the population, and the quality of the environment in which we live. It is encouraging to hear the Treasurer reference the need to ‘measure what matters’ in addition to traditional economic measures.

There is broad agreement that a sustainable climate and a healthy natural environment are fundamental to wellbeing. An environment with rich biodiversity, clean air and water, and sustainable natural capital stocks supports healthy, enriched lives.

Treasury has had a long association with the consideration of wellbeing indicators, including natural capital, and how they impact public policy decisions. It now has the opportunity to embed climate and nature-based indicators into decision-making across government.

Climateworks recommends:

  • Treasury incorporates climate and nature indicators into a national framework for wellbeing using the indicators we suggest in Proposed Indicators (see submission) across the domains of climate, the natural environment and the built environment.
  • These three climate and nature domains sit alongside broader domains of wellbeing incorporating the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Climate and nature indicators are embedded into policy and decision-making across all levels of government and the public service.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions, atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, and natural capital stock are considered priority indicators alongside GDP.
  • Indicators for greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases are measured in real time, or as close to real time as possible
  • Wellbeing indicators are measured against a baseline and accompanied by accountability measures.