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Australia is dropping the ball on social progress

Since 2016, Australia has slipped behind 11 countries when it comes to social progress.

Every year, US-based not-for-profit organisation Social Progress Imperative ranks more than 100 countries in terms of ‘social progress’, which is defined by three core pillars: basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunity – and Australia is starting to drop in the ranks.

Also read: Four economic problems Sydney needs to overcome

Two years ago, Australia trailed only Finland, Canada, and Denmark.

But since then, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Japan Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Ireland, and the United Kingdom have overtaken Australia.

Last year’s winner, Denmark, lost out to Norway which had a score of 90.26 this year, followed by Iceland at 90.24 and Switzerland at 89.97.

Australia is the highest-ranking country among ‘tier 2’ countries with a score in the high eighties at 88.32.

On paper, we’re not doing badly at all – it’s just that other countries have stepped up their game, says Deloitte Australia chief strategy and innovation officer Rob Hillard.

“Australia hasn’t performed badly,” he pointed out.

“It is just that our gains have been modest and other nations had recorded a greater improvement in key areas, pushing us from 9th to 15th place on the Index.

Also read: Why millennials have a poor opinion of capitalism

“We are still a country with an enviable standard of living and score highly in diverse areas such as for our clean water, education, freedom of expression.

“But the Index notes Australia’s high greenhouse emissions and marks us down for the refugees being held on Manus Island and Nauru,” Mr Hillard said.