Video launch of Australia's welfare 2021 by the Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, Minister for Families and Social Services.

Highlights

Governments in Australia spent $195.7 billion on welfare services and support in 2019–20
Read more: Australia’s welfare 2021: in brief
The per cent of Australians experiencing severe psychological distress has increased since the onset of the pandemic
Read more: Australia’s welfare 2021: in brief

About Australia’s welfare 2021

Australia's welfare 2021 is the AIHW's 15th biennial welfare report. It explores topical welfare issues and brings together multiple data sources to serve as a report card on the welfare of Australians. Australia’s welfare is framed around ‘welfare’ in its broadest sense—welfare refers to the wellbeing of individuals, families and the community. Welfare and wellbeing are often used interchangeably—see Understanding welfare and wellbeing.

Australia’s welfare 2021 continues the series’ recent departure from a single large print publication towards a more accessible multi-product release consisting of a comprehensive web presence and leaner print publications. The 2021 release comprises 4 products that together make up Australia’s welfare 2021:

Australia’s welfare 2021: data insights is a collection of articles on selected welfare topics, including an overview of the welfare data landscape, and contributions by academic experts.
Available to download as a PDF or you can purchase a hardcopy.

Australia’s welfare snapshots are 43 web pages that present key facts on housing, education and skills, employment and income, social support, justice and safety, and Indigenous Australians. These are updated when new data are available.
Available to download or as a complete set in PDF. 

Australia’s welfare 2021: in brief presents key findings and concepts from the snapshots and data insights to tell the story of welfare in Australia.
Available to download as a PDF or you can purchase a hardcopy. 

Australia’s welfare indicators is an interactive data visualisation tool that measures welfare system performance, individual and household determinants and the nation’s wellbeing.
Data tables are available to download.

COVID-19 coverage in Australia’s welfare 2021

Australia’s welfare 2021 is released at a difficult time. While the COVID-19 pandemic has thus far not had the extreme effects it has in many other countries, its impact in Australia has been – and continues to be – considerable, touching nearly all people and aspects of life.

Australia’s welfare 2021 tells part of the nation’s pandemic story, from the start of the pandemic in Australia to early- to mid-2021. While the AIHW has endeavoured to report up-to-date data in this report, some sections will have data covering the 2020 period. While some aspects of life during the pandemic change quickly, such as employment figures, others may not change that much or change may not be immediately apparent. It remains too early to know how some of these longer-term impacts will develop. Each section of the report clearly states the data it uses and the time period covered by the data.

Welfare data

Data are essential to understand how people engage with and navigate welfare services, and are useful for policy formulation, implementation and service delivery, and evaluation.

The AIHW manages a number of national information assets, and works with state and territory governments, the ABS, other independent bodies and the non-government sector, to ensure the data included in Australia’s welfare 2021 are comprehensive, accurate and informative. Despite recent improvements and enhancements, gaps exist where there are no national data currently available or where data collected are not comprehensive. These gaps, along with other limitations, are highlighted in Australia’s welfare 2021: data insights.

The AIHW’s flagship reports, Australia’s health and Australia’s welfare, are highly regarded as sources of authoritative and accessible information.