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Help ARLP 26 take community wellbeing to the federal election

14 December 2021

The 26th Australian Rural Leadership Program cohort wants governments to change the way they make investment decisions to ensure money is spent where communities need it the most.

During the final months of their program in 2019 and based on group members’ experiences, they decided to advocate for a wellbeing index. Two years later, the group has been meeting fortnightly and gathered support from sponsors, universities, local and federal government representatives.

They now have their sight set on the federal election to advocate for a wellbeing index that includes holistic socio-economic data.

‘If you look at a region’s wellbeing in an economic sense, where the GDP is rising thanks to strong industries like mining and agriculture, it seems to be doing well, and governments are keen to invest in its growth,’ says Adam Arndell.

‘But whilst employment figures are good socio-economic issues are bubbling under the surface, and community wellbeing can actually be quite poor.’

The group says a national wellbeing index would help governments invest in services needed to strengthen communities and improve issues like housing, mental and physical health and community services.

‘We need to move from basic economic indicators to give a complete and true picture of what communities are like, and that’s particularly important in the wake of everything that’s going on,’ he says.

‘There is no more important time than right now to be looking at a wellbeing index.’

The group is looking for suitable people to assist in taking their petition to the federal election.

‘We are looking for supporters and champions that believe in our mission or share commonality to introduce a wellbeing framework for regional, rural and remote Australia,’ says Adam Arndell.

Anyone interested in supporting the group in their advocacy efforts is encouraged to contact them via ruralwellbeingprogram@gmail.com