Wellbeing approaches

Delivering genuine wellbeing for every person and community in Victoria is central to the work of VCOSS.

The building blocks of wellbeing are simple and universal. Things like access to safe and affordable housing, healthcare, education, a clean environment and social connection.

These are things that everybody needs and wants.

One key step towards achieving this vision is to begin defining and measuring wellbeing, and then embedding it in how our state operates.

This is why VCOSS is advocating for Victora to become a wellbeing economy.

One attempt at capturing the key components of wellbeing. Source: WEAll’s Policy Design Guide.

What is a wellbeing economy?

A wellbeing economy looks beyond conventional economic metrics like GDP, to “measure what matters” to people.

It ensures the allocation of our limited resources improves everyone’s prosperity.

Wellbeing approaches also help to break down government silos by forcing government departments to stop asking ask “Does this problem fit into our remit?” and start asking “How can we help solve this problem?”

READ: Victoria must make wellbeing its driving force (The Mandarin)

Is this being done elsewhere?

You bet! New Zealand, Iceland, Scotland and Wales have all embraced a wellbeing approach.

Closer to home, the ACT has embedded a Wellbeing Framework into government decision-making and Tasmania is also getting the process started. 

More widely, the World Health Organisation is increasingly focused on wellbeing economic philosophies, with an understanding of the social determinants of health underlying the sustainable development goals.   

Every jurisdiction is different, and the exact structure of each system must be desigend with local conditions and needs in mind.

How would it work? 

Victoria’s wellbeing approach must be centered on Victorians’ values, to ensure it’s meeting the community’s goals. 

But before we can embed what matters, we need to find out what matters.

Frameworks and indicators must be informed by meaningful community consultation.

VCOSS’s Voices of Victoria Listening Tour provides a model for the kind of qualitative research that can capture this community sentiment.

Victorians’ priorities can then be reflected in a Wellbeing Framework that sets out the state’s main objectives across economic, social, physical and environmental domains. 

To progress the wellbeing priorities, every government department would be tasked with contributing to every priority, embedding wellbeing indicators into policy analysis and decision-making.

VCOSS believes this process should driven by a Commissioner or even a Minister for Wellbeing to ensure a whole-of-government response, and formalised in legislation to cement the wellbeing agenda for future generations. 

READ: Listening to what matters. (VCOSS research)

READ: Voices Of Victoria (VCOSS project)

VCOSS is the peak body for Victoria’s social and community sector, and the state’s premier social advocacy body.

We work towards a Victoria free from poverty and disadvantage, where every person and community experiences genuine wellbeing.

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VCOSS acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country, and we pay respect to Elders and Ancestors. Our business is conducted on sovereign, unceded Aboriginal land. The VCOSS offices are located on Wurundjeri Woiwurrung land in central Naarm.