Experts from the public service, the community sector and academia are coming together today to discuss the findings of the Index of Wellbeing of Older Australians (IWOA) and discuss innovative ways for the Index to influence decision making and address challenges in social policy.

The Index of Wellbeing for Older Australians (IWOA) identifies the wellbeing of older people across the country in a number of important aspects of life and provides access to the findings in an interactive geographic mapping tool.  The Index was commissioned by The Benevolent Society and developed by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) at the University of Canberra.

The Index shows, amongst other findings, that the places where older people experience the lowest levels of wellbeing are the places with the highest proportions of older people who need assistance with their day to day activities; who rent their home; who have no superannuation income; and who need to use age care services.

The roundtable meeting will hear from Mike Woods, Professor for Health Economics at the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation at the UTS Business School as well as The Benevolent Society’s Executive Director of Strategic Engagement, Research and Advocacy, Dr Kirsty Nowlan and Professor Robert Tanton, Director of the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) at the University of Canberra.

“In the IWOA we have a great data tool providing insights into the drivers of wellbeing for older Australians. This Roundtable will take the next step – uncovering the path from data to policy and practice. The research shows a number of interventions needed to give many Australians a better life experience as they get older, but we need to bring together different sectors and different branches of Government to actually make these things happen.” said Dr Nowlan.

IWOA provides a unique tool for understanding the multiple and complex factors contributing to the wellbeing of people aged 65 and over nationwide. The report includes data from the 2016 Census, the ABS Household Expenditure Survey and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The Index maps out how older people are faring across five key domains – participation; education; health; housing; and resources and wealth – giving us insights into what strengthens and weakens wellbeing for this group.

“So much of the public discourse about getting older is negative. The Benevolent Society is responding to this by working closely with a broad coalition of stakeholders to understand and tackle the harmful phenomenon of ageism through a long-term, multi-platform advocacy campaign, EveryAGE Counts and also through our Fix Pension Poverty campaign.” added Dr Nowlan.

“With Governments making more use of detailed place based data in their policy making and service planning, the IWOA provides an aggregate picture of wellbeing for older people which can quickly identify areas for further analysis using more detailed spatial datasets available to Government.” said Professor Robert Tanton of NATSEM.

For more information about The Benevolent Society, visit

For more information about the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, visit



Jon Abbott| M: +61 413 995 189