The New Zealand Prime Minister recently announced that her country will be the first to assess its progress through a new wellbeing measure. New Zealand is now developing a new performance framework, which it will begin implementing in 2019.

New Zealand has been measuring its public sector progress against a set of outcomes since 2012. A set of ten ‘Results’ and supporting metrics and targets across priority areas have guided government programs. Progress is publicly reported, with success achieved across many of the domains. In 2017, the Results were reviewed and updated to guide the next five-years.

The addition of a wellbeing measure puts the beneficiaries - people - of government programs front and centre. It will, no doubt, be an evolution that builds on and expands the country’s existing performance measurement activities and data.

While there may be different views on what national or state outcomes should focus on, international experience shows that outcomes do drive improvements in government performance. And, like New Zealand demonstrates, outcomes can be reviewed and tweaked, replaced or expanded over time. But you have to start somewhere.

It’s time for Australia to keep pace with our cross-Tasman rivals.