SDSN Australia, New Zealand and Pacific (AusNZPac) has been pleased to see many of its recommendations reflected in the report on implementation of the SDGs in Australia from the Australian Senate’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

The report, tabled on 14 February, 2019, is the conclusion of a year-long Inquiry by the Committee on the Relevance of the SDGs to Australia and the mechanisms by which the Australian Government should support SDG implementation.

As a strong advocate of the importance of the SDGs for Australia and the key role of the university sector in supporting their implementation, SDSN AusNZPac participated actively in the Inquiry process. The network and its SDSN Youth division both made submissions, and the network provided evidence at a public hearing of the Inquiry. Many SDSN members in Australia also made submissions.

The final report of the Inquiry makes many references to the input provided by SDSN AusNZPac and echoes many of our recommendations, including the need for a dedicated coordination unit within Government, establishment of a cross-sector reference group to advise on national implementation, regular reporting on how Australia is progressing on achieving the SDGs, and ongoing engagement with civil society and other sectors.

Australia’s position on SDSN’s SDG Index is also referenced a number of times in the Inquiry report, reflecting the fact that many organisations mentioned it in their submissions to the Inquiry.

A number of important recommendations made by SDSN AusNZPac – including for an independent commission to oversee assessments of progress, and recognition of the special roles of the university sector – were referenced in the report but not in the recommendations. However, the Inquiry report provides a much-needed step towards a stronger national response to the SDGs in Australia.

With Australia heading into elections in the coming months, the network will continue to highlight the benefits and opportunities of the SDGs for Australia and advocate for their implementation by all parties.