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Transforming Australia: SDG Progress Report

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New report launched to track Australia’s progress on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Australia is facing major challenges in reducing inequality and tackling climate change, according to a new report launched by the National Sustainable Development Council in partnership with the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and SDSN Australia NZ Pacific.

Transforming Australia: SDG Progress Report identifies where Australia is performing well and where it is not on track to meet the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The report draws on independent expertise from across business, universities and the community sector. It looks at trends from 2000 to 2015 to gauge whether Australia is on track to meet the SDG targets that Australia is a signatory to.

National Sustainable Development Council and MSDI Chair, Professor John Thwaites, said the analysis showed that Australia’s progress on achieving the SDGs is mixed.

“There’s strong progress in the areas of health and education, but poor performance in addressing inequality, tackling climate change and housing affordability,” he said. “The report also highlights challenges in achieving Australia’s economic goals with relatively low investment in research and development and innovation, increasing underemployment and high levels of household debt.”

Professor Thwaites said about one-third of the 144 indicators assessed across the 17 goals were on track to be achieved, with a further third needing a breakthrough and a quarter off-track.

The report shows that Australia is an increasingly educated society, with a growing proportion of the population gaining tertiary qualifications. While Australian student performance on the key OECD benchmark has been declining across science, maths and reading, Australian students perform very well as collaborative problem solvers. On the downside, investment in early childhood education and care remains low.

“It is clear that Australia has a considerable way to go to achieving most of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and that this will require a major change from business as usual” Professor Thwaites said.

Louise Davidson, CEO of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, said the report highlights the need for business leaders to engage in wider community conversations.

The report has been produced with the support of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, IFM, Hesta, Cbus and Australian Super.

For more information or to access the Transforming Australia: SDG Progress Report visit www.sdgtransformingaustralia.com