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Integrating wellbeing into the business of government: the feasibility of innovative legal and policy measures to achieve sustainable development in Australia

Policy analysis Social sustainability Social wellbeing Sustainable development Wellbeing Victoria

Sustainable development is a way of organising society so that it can exist in the long-term. This means taking into account the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Health is at the centre of sustainable development. Investment in health supports social, economic and environmental sustainability, while investment in a healthy planet with inclusive and sustainable growth and fair and secure societies supports the health of individuals, families and communities.

The events of 2020, including catastrophic Australian bushfires and the global coronavirus pandemic, are a prescient reminder that the world is rapidly changing. These changes bring direct and indirect impacts for both human and planetary health, and the wellbeing of both current and future generations. Social, environmental and economic imbalances pose a threat to all, but particularly the poorest and most disadvantaged. The imperative to build back better creates opportunities for governments to look for new ways of working to better support the health and wellbeing of the community now and into the future.

The findings outlined in this report provide practical insight into innovative approaches to translate sustainable development into national, state and local laws and/or policies. Outcomes of this work are intended to engage potential champions across sectors, increase public and political awareness of the potential benefits of a wellbeing approach, and inspire practical action to improve the wellbeing of current and future generations of Australians.

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