Welfare refers to the wellbeing of individuals, families and the community. It is associated with comfort, happiness, health, prosperity, security and safety. A person's wellbeing is influenced by a broad range of individual, social, economic and environmental factors. While many Australians can manage their own wellbeing with little intervention or support, at times and in certain circumstances some may need to draw on additional support and services to help them fully participate in all facets of life. Such support may come from government and non-government agencies, local communities, family and friends.
The level and type of supports a person may need will depend on their life stage, level of disadvantage, health and disability status, social and economic participation, access to suitable housing, informal support networks and the complex interrelationships between these factors.
For many Australians, the impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on wellbeing have been deep and wide ranging – and may be long lasting. Australia’s welfare 2021: data insights aims to tell Australia’s welfare story at this complex moment in history. It also examines the information and data environments that underlie the welfare system.
Australia’s welfare 2021: data insights contains 8 original articles that highlight the crucial role of high quality data, both in telling the story of Australia’s welfare and in changing that story for the better.
This article provides background information on the impact that COVID-19 has had on the data landscape in Australia and the specific role that the AIHW has played in this. It outlines the current state of welfare data in Australia, highlighting some key data gaps. It also describes the overall role of the AIHW and how this has changed over time.
This article provides an overview of the recent literature on the social determinants of subjective wellbeing in Australia, and an empirical analysis of recent data (2001-2019) from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey.
The survey data are used to assess the relative strength of the association between the key social determinants of wellbeing, identified through the literature review, and life satisfaction.
It is written by Dr Ferdi Botha, The University of Melbourne and Associate Professor Wojtek Tomaszewski, The University of Queensland.
This analytical article focuses on the direct and indirect impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the wellbeing of Australia’s population during 2020 and the first half of 2021.
It concentrates on the impact of COVID-19 on the following 7 domains (each which can potentially impact wellbeing): health, income and finance, employment and work, social support, justice and safety (family violence and child protection) and housing (housing stress and homelessness).
The article was finalised in June/July 2021 and thus concentrates on the first and second major COVID-19 waves in Australia along with the broader impact over that period.
This analytical article describes what happened between March 2020 and May 2021 to employment, income support receipt and income levels following the COVID-related restrictions imposed on businesses and services.
It shows that in the early months of the pandemic in 2020, there were large job losses and reductions in hours worked. By May 2021, the labour market had rebounded and most employment measures were faring better than they were before the pandemic. However, the number of people receiving unemployment payments was still considerably higher in June 2021 than it was in March 2020.
This analytical article highlights a number of direct and indirect effects COVID-19 has had on Australia’s housing system and individuals’ housing security.
For the most part, the article’s focus is 2020 and early 2021. However, to benchmark statistics for the pandemic period, the article also presents some longer-term trend analysis dating back to the 2010s and earlier.
The article reviews the initial predictions (i.e. in early 2020) regarding the pandemic’s impact on the housing system, summarises the key policy initiatives enacted by Australian governments, examines the 2020 crisis impact (including emergency actions taken by state governments to protect street homeless populations) and analyses housing market developments seen during 2020.
It is written by Hal Pawson, City Futures Research Centre, University of NSW.
This analytical article examines homelessness among Indigenous Australians and presents information on their utilisation of homelessness assistance in recent years across different parts of Australia.
Indigenous Australians are over-represented among Australia’s homeless population. Despite making up only about 3.3% of the overall population, 20% – or 23,437 – of the estimated homeless population on Census night were Indigenous Australians.
The article reports on data from the 2016 Census, and the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection for the period mid-2017 to late-2020.
This article provides a high-level overview of Australia’s disability data landscape and the key factors influencing its improvement.
The article discusses:
- the current sources of disability statistics in Australia
- key policy developments and government reviews that are continuing to affect the ongoing development of Australia’s disability data landscape
- important disability data gaps, including those highlighted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
- work underway to improve Australia’s evidence base on people with disability, including the National Disability Data Asset.
This article identifies the data limitations and gaps in Australia’s aged care system. It shows that the current data environment is fragmented with few innate links.
While there is a wealth of system-based, administrative data on aged care, notable data gaps exist in the individual data sources.
The article asserts that what is needed is a coordinated approach that takes a person-centred view of aged care and enables an assessment of outcomes.
The way forward is a data strategy that drives improved collection, develops consistent measures, enables data linkage and promotes research, analysis and reporting.