The Transforming Australia SDG Progress Report 2020 Update measures Australia’s performance against a set of 56 indicators linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This report builds on targets and measures of progress that the independent National Sustainable Development Council developed in 2018.

A primary objective of this updated report is to stimulate a national conversation and dialogue about what Australia can and should be in the future, particularly as we look to recover from COVID-19.

This report makes three important contributions:

  1. It proposes an initial set of quantitative 2030 targets for Australia across 56 economic, social and environmental SDG indicators;
  2. It assesses Australia’s progress towards these targets from 2000, highlighting where we are falling behind and where accelerated action is needed; and
  3. It evaluates the effects of COVID-19 on Australia’s capacity to achieve the SDGs.

Key findings:

  • The report shows that Australia is performing well in health and education, but is failing to reduce CO2 emissions, waste and environmental degradation, and to address cost of living pressures and economic inequality.
  • Of the 56 indicators examined in this report, only 12 are assessed as on track to meet the 2030 targets. 23 indicators are assessed as off track, 11 are classified as breakthrough needed and 10 need improvement.
  • The report also shows COVID-19 has exacerbated trends — including higher levels of unemployment, poverty and psychological distress — that were emerging before COVID-19, and that could fracture Australian society.
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