Australia is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a universal, global approach to reduce poverty, promote sustainable development and ensure the peace and prosperity of people across the world. The SDGs reflect things that Australians value highly and seek to protect, like a clean and safe environment, access to opportunity and services, human rights, strong and accessible institutions, inclusive economies, diverse and supportive communities and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage. Our support for political, economic, social and religious freedoms is underpinned by our commitment to promote liberal democracy, the rule of law and the rulesbased international order.
Australia is one of the most culturally diverse, yet socially cohesive, nations on earth. Almost half of our population was either born overseas or has at least one parent born overseas, and we are home to people from over 300 ancestries. Diverse as we are, we share common values. Equality, inclusion, tolerance and mutual respect are pillars of our strong, fair and cohesive society.
Achieving the SDGs is in Australia’s interests: it will contribute to lasting regional and global prosperity, productivity and stability. The SDGs are consistent with Australian Government priorities and long-standing efforts across a range of sectors such as health, education, agriculture, water, the environment, the economy, and gender equality. Likewise, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda’s emphasis on issues like domestic resource mobilisation, trade as an engine for growth, and the importance of investment in infrastructure and public services are in line with Australia’s approach to driving growth and prosperity at home and abroad.
While Australia is a prosperous country, people remain at risk of being left behind due to lingering barriers to their participation in the work force and difficulties in accessing services. These groups include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, those from culturally or linguistically-diverse backgrounds, women and girls, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons, youth, the elderly, people with disability and those living in remote and rural locations. Disadvantage can be compounded, exacerbated or prolonged by a combination of factors including the range of environmental, social and economic aspects encompassed in the SDGs, for example, a lack of access to quality education, health care or employment. Disadvantage can increase vulnerability to financial or other shocks, such as natural disasters, highlighting the importance of resilience and inclusion.
Central to the Australian understanding of the 2030 Agenda is the Australian value of a ‘fair go’, the idea that everyone should have a reasonable chance of opportunity and that they will be treated fairly and equally. Like ‘leaving no one behind’, it is a call to action for fairness, justice and equality of opportunity.
Australia’s Voluntary National Review (the Review) takes a narrative approach, addressing each of the SDGs. A data chapter following SDG17 covers Australia’s approach to data and how we will report against the SDG Indicators. An annex lists existing national policy frameworks that are relevant to the achievement of the SDGs. However, extensive further measures are underway at the state, territory and municipal levels of government. While it was impossible to include all of the material received through consultations for the Review, in cooperation with civil society partners, Australia will develop an online national platform to recognise these efforts and inspire future partnerships and activity. A national SDGs data platform will report against the SDG Indicators.