Using the Social Progress Index to show COVID social vulnerabilities state by state
With Isabella Saunders and Megan Weier from the Centre for Social Impact, UNSW Sydney
Throughout 2020, we have seen Australian society have to respond to both bushfires and pandemics. Both have had considerable impact on Australia’s economy, and policy responses have been primarily formulated in reference to employment and maintaining economic growth. However, society is more than jobs and growth. To understand recovery across Australia, we first need to understand how each State and Territory is performing on basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunity for its communities – and build policy that responds to those strengths and vulnerabilities.
Using the first Australian Social Progress Index (SPI), we present the first comprehensive analysis of both Federal and State/Territory policy responses to COVID-19. We argue that for most States and Territories, policy responses have largely focused on protecting the economy, alongside additional investment in basic medical care. But there needs to be adequate policy response that looks at personal safety, access to housing and ensuring that policies recognise equitable personal freedoms and choice. We identify where there are areas of policy vulnerability that may impact both social and economic recovery as we plan for a post-pandemic world.
Dr Megan Weier, Research Fellow, Centre for Social Impact (CSI), UNSW
Dr Isabella Saunders, Research Assistant, Centre for Social Impact (CSI), UNSW
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