This Environment Exchange forum discussed the ACT Wellbeing Framework and how focusing on wellbeing instead of financial wealth could lead to greater prosperity for our city, people and environment.

There is abundant evidence that an economy focused on endless GDP growth is wreaking havoc on our environment and driving divisive social inequity. We need to move to an economic system that is distributive, regenerative and embedded within planetary boundaries, but what does that look like? Can people AND nature both benefit?

The ACT Government’s Wellbeing Framework comprises 12 indicators in an attempt to measure Canberrans’ “personal wellbeing” and “quality of life”. Significantly, “economy” is just one of those 12 domains, alongside “environment and climate”, “social connection” and “health”. How is the wellbeing framework being implemented? How does it relate to concepts such as circular or doughnut economics, or help in tackling climate change?

Peter Robinson is the Executive Branch Manager of the ACT Government’s Wellbeing Framework project. The ACT Wellbeing Framework “measures what matters to Canberrans and our quality of life, so that we can focus on what the community cares about in our decision making”. Peter will share some insights into how and why the framework was developed and how its implementation is progressing and improving Canberrans’ quality of life.
Dr Jacki Schirmer is an Associate Professor at the University of Canberra. Her research focuses on the intersection between human wellbeing and natural resource management: how the ways we manage and interact with the natural environment and natural resources influence our wellbeing – and how our wellbeing affects our capacity to sustainable manage natural resources. She leads the annual Regional Wellbeing Survey, which examines the wellbeing, resilience and experiences of 15,000 Australians. Her work has included studies examining how engaging in natural resource management activities such as Landcare groups can have social benefits, building resilience to drought and natural disasters, the impacts of changes to agricultural, fishing and forest-dependent industries, and the effects of spending time doing nature-based recreation on wellbeing and sustainable behaviour.
Sally Holliday joined Landcare ACT to deliver the new Recovery and Wellbeing through Nature program. She has strong experience in the disability support sector and has enjoyed working with clients to achieve their NDIS goals across a variety of settings. She is studying Transpersonal Counselling and Art Therapy through the College of Complementary Medicine.

Previously, Sally has delivered engaging public programs in some of Australia’s most reputable galleries, museums and festivals. She is a steadfast believer in the transformational and healing potential of nature. She documents her walks in the wilderness via nature photography and brings the beauty of the natural world into her personal wellbeing practice through the mindful art of basket weaving.

Dr Michelle Maloney is an Earth lawyer, governance expert and systems change/social change maker. Michelle is the Co-Founder of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance that promotes the understanding and practical implementation of Earth-centred governance, with a focus on creating systems change within western law, economics, ethics, education and culture (

Michelle is also Co-Founder and Director of the New Economy Network Australia ( that works to transform Australia’s economic system so that achieving ecological health and social justice are the foundational principles and primary objectives of the economic system. She is also Co-Founder of Future Dreaming Australia which works in partnership with Indigenous Elders to build cross-cultural ecological knowledge and create an Earth-centred society (

Our Environment Exchange events are an opportunity for our members and supporters to have a deep-dive conversation with an expert or two on a selected topical environmental issue. Participants learn from each other and find connections across their areas of work, helping to strengthen the environment community network across Canberra and region. Donations optional and encouraged upon registration.