South Australia: State of Wellbeing

In 2013, then Thinker in Residence Professor Martin Seligman challenged South Australia to position itself as a world-leading State of Wellbeing. Professor Seligman recognised South Australia’s unique potential to accomplish this aim, recognising the challenges South Australia faces as a state, while acknowledging the existing foundation that could support this goal being realised.


This challenge has been responded to through the ‘State of Wellbeing’ Change@SA 90 Day Project, undertaken by the Department for Health and Ageing (DHA) in collaboration with the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) and the Office for Public Sector Reform.


The purpose of this 90 Day Project was to draw together key stakeholders to contribute to the development of an agreed description and position on wellbeing in the South Australian context. The key deliverable was to produce a South Australia: State of Wellbeing statement which presented this position.


To help inform this work, a survey was undertaken to capture the views of everyday citizens around what contributes towards wellbeing, to help frame the State of Wellbeing project. The survey asked respondents to identify factors that they considered contributed most to wellbeing, at three levels - Personal, Family/Community and State Population level. The results of the survey are provided as an infographic: South Australia: State of wellbeing survey results (PDF 1.3MB).


The statement was launched by the Premier of South Australia, the Hon Jay Weatherill M.P., at the International Positive Psychology Conference held in Adelaide on 23 September, 2016.

This statement described wellbeing in the South Australian context as:

“The balance between the challenges we face, and supports and resources available to us, subject to our aspirations and the opportunities available to us.”

The statement further described positive wellbeing as when:

“Our access to supports and resources is equal to or more than our challenges, subject to our opportunities to access these supports and resources, and what our hopes and aspirations are.”