Sustainability Indicators

National Headline Sustainability Indicators

The National Headline Sustainability Indicators are used to report on progress towards ecologically sustainable development for Australia. The report, published in 2002, can be found on the Department of Environment and Heritage website at www.deh.gov.au (External Link). The ‘values’ are those used in the table in this report.

The Indicators serve to address the objectives of the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development, that is to:

  • enhance individual and community wellbeing and welfare by following a path of economic development that safeguards the welfare of future generations
  • provide for equity within and between generations
  • protect biological diversity and maintain essential ecological processes and life-support systems.

The National Headline Sustainability Indicators are intended to be read together because each in itself says little about sustainability from a broad perspective. This requirement is a challenge to today’s society, which is not well accustomed to dealing with issues in a holistic manner. The more the topic is discussed across all sectors of society, the greater will be our prospects of becoming a sustainable society.

ACT values for the National Headline Sustainability Indicators


Table: ACT progress towards sustainability according to the National Headline Sustainability Indicators
Values ACT Equivalent to National Headline Sustainability Indicator* Result for 2000–03 Desired trend Actual trend**
Living standards and economic wellbeing 1. Real Gross State Product per capita (June 2003) (2002–03) $45,794 Up Up
2. Gross household disposable income per capita $36,831 Up Up
Education and Skills 3. Percentage of people aged 15 and over who attained post-secondary qualifications including vocational training (2001) 46.3% Up Up
Healthy living 4. Life expectancy at birth (1999–2001) 78.5 male 82.9 female Up Up
Air quality 5. Number of occasions where concentrations of pollutants exceeded NEPM standards for ambient air quality 22 Down Up
6. Total NOx and particulate emissions (2002–03) 9.5 million kg Down Up
Economic capacity 7. Growth in Multi-factor Productivity (Gross product per combined unit of labour and capital) for latest year No ACT data Up Unknown
Industry performance 8. Real GSP per capita (June 2003) $45,794 Up Up
Economic security 9. Average household net worth (2000) $308,965 Up Up
Management of water 10. Proportion of water management units with use within 70% of sustainable yield for (i) groundwater and (ii) surface water (i) 88% (ii)97% Up Up Unknown Unknown
Management of forests 11. Total area of all forest type Not applicable due to fire extent
Management of fish 12. Percentage of major Commonwealth managed harvested wild fish species classified as fully or under-fished Not applicable to the ACT
Management of energy 13. (i) Renewable energy use as shown by Greenchoice customers as a proportion of total customers (ActewAGL only) 3.2% Up Up
(ii) Total renewable energy sold (ActewAGL only for 2002–03) 51.4 GWh Up Up
Management of agriculture 14. Total area of land used for agricultural production (hectares) 38,567 Variable Down
Economic and gender equity 15. Adult female full-time average weekly earnings as a proportion of adult male full time average weekly earnings (May 2003) 82.2% Up Steady
Economic and education equity 16. Percentage difference in year 12 completion between average of top three deciles and total population (2001) 2% Down Steady
Economic and health equity 17. Percentage difference in burden of life years lost due to disability or mortality between bottom and top socio-economic quintile No data Down Unknown
Locational equity 18. Percentage difference in the year 12 completion rate between urban and remote locations Not applicable to the ACT
Biodiversity and ecological integrity 19. (i) Proportion of biogeographic subregions with greater than 30 percent of original vegetative cover 100% Up Steady
(ii) Proportion of biogeographic subregions with greater than 10 percent of the subregion’s area in protected areas 100% Up Up
20. (i) number of extinct, endangered and vulnerable species 24 Down Up
(ii) number of endangered ecological communities 2 Down Up
Climate change 21. Total net Greenhouse gas emissions (year 2000) (Mt CO2-e) 3.980 Down Up
Coastal and marine health 22. Estuarine condition index Not applicable to the ACT
Freshwater health 23. Proportion of assessed sites which are with high in-stream biodiversity, based on macro-invertebrate community structure assessed using AusRivAS 8% (1 out of 13) Up Down
Land health 24. Proportion of assessed ACT subcatchments that are in moderate or good condition 0% Up Down

* Dates are given for the data reported in the results column when data do not refer to the 2000–03 reporting period.
** Trends over the last decade (1994–2004).

living sustainably

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