Following the publication of the Community Council of Australia’s (CCA) first report in 1916, this second report released last Tuesday starts with a simple question: What kind of Australia do we want to live in?
The Community Council for Australia (CCA) has been framing new policy platforms for the future of the Australian charities and not-for-profit sector over a period of years, to support a stronger sector, and to ensure its work builds flourishing communities across Australia.
The Australia we want reports are an exercise in measurement informed by imagination and hope. We have dared to ask fundamental questions about our future: what if we could live in an Australia where incarceration rates are falling, where the suicide rate is less than the road toll, where levels of violence against women and children have been significantly reduced? Imagine an Australia where your postcode or cultural identity does not define your chance of getting an education or a job or living a long life? Imagine an Australia where creativity drives real innovation and achievement, not just in our arts, but also in our schools and local communities? Imagine a humane and sustainable Australia, where people are more connected and engaged in the communities they live and work in, and where this involvement is reflected in the way we form policies and laws? Imagine a generous and kind Australia where we take pride in supporting the less fortunate in our own communities, in our region and beyond? Imagine the Australia we want?
Extract of Report – Overview from Rev Tim Costello AO, Chair CCA
The report notes that while the trends are generally positive with Australia overall performing slightly better than in the previous report, there are several areas of concern. Incarceration rates, suicide rates, housing unaffordability, levels of giving and levels of CO2 emissions are all tracking in the wrong direction in this report. Volunteering, educational attainment, and female participation in the workplace are all trending in the right direction. As a consequence of these changes, some jurisdictions, including Victoria and Western Australia, have improved their scores, while others, including the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales, have gone backwards since the first report.
The values outlined in the first report on this topic in 2016, include just, fair, safe, inclusive, equality of opportunity, united, authentic, creative, confident, courageous, optimistic, generous, kind, and compassionate.
New South Wales is the equal lowest performing jurisdiction mainly because it has the highest level of income inequality in Australia, an increasing suicide rate, increasing CO2 emissions and a high level of housing unaffordability. Levels of giving are declining but they remain relatively high, educational attainment is better than the national average and increasing.
Across the country, Volunteering is at the heart of community life in Australia; in education, sport, emergency services, welfare, housing, culture, the arts and so many other areas, volunteers make Australia a better place to live. In many ways, our preparedness to give our time is one of the most important measures of the strength of our communities.
For this reason, charity and not-for-profit leaders see the rate at which Australians are prepared to volunteer as a fundamental indicator in achieving the Australia we want to live in. Recent census data from the ABS indicates that in 2016, around 19% of the population aged 15 and over volunteered in the past 12 months. This was an increase compared to a volunteer rates in earlier census years (17.8% in 2011, and 17.9% in 2006).