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Live Q&A Event – Improving community wellbeing: A practical guide for local government


Session overview

When we look beyond GDP to understand the wellbeing of our communities, we reveal the true stories behind Australia’s cities and regions, a topic crucial for all local government officials and policymakers.

The SGS Cities and Regions Wellbeing Index, highlights these stories, moving beyond economic indicators.

Julian Szafraniec, a lead author of the report and Index, will provide context on why this Index matters and an understanding of the real effects of public policies on people’s lives.

Michelle Tjondro, another lead author, will discuss the latest data collection and share insights and trends that paint a different picture for cities and regions.

Justine Linley, from Corangamite Shire, will share practical tips on using the Index in real-world scenarios to make informed decisions and improve community wellbeing in a municipality.

Beck Dawson, the Chief Resilience Officer at Resilient Sydney, will share the work of this local government collaboration and network to enable coordinated disaster risk reduction and climate resilience planning for the 5 million people living and working in Greater Sydney. Beck will discuss the importance of evidence-based insights for community resilience, tracking social data to shape policies and the role of local governments.

This event is useful for local governments working on strategic planning, community plans, and wellbeing budgets. It will provide valuable insights to help make informed choices to shape a better future.

This event takes place at 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm AEST / 3:30 am -4:30 am BST via Zoom

Key areas of exploration

  • Understanding the real effects of public policies on people’s lives beyond GDP.
  • Insights and trends from the latest data that reshape our perception of cities and regions.
  • The importance of data-driven policy development for creating sustainable communities.
  • Strategies for enhancing community wellbeing and resilience through informed decision-making and policy shaping.


Julian Szafraniec is a Principal and Partner at SGS Economics and Planning and the National Leader of Data and Spatial Analysis. Julian advocates for data-driven policy development as an economist to support efficient and sustainable communities and places. His aim is to collaborate across a range of sectors facilitating the exchange of ideas to understand the links and opportunities between them. He sees new data and technology as essential to how we understand and plan for our cities and regions in the future. Julian’s expertise has been instrumental in advising all tiers of government and the private sector, contributing to informed policy-making and investment strategies spanning housing, transportation, social infrastructure, and the broader economy.

Michelle Tjondro is a Senior Associate and Executive Director at SGS Economics and Planning. She is a policy professional and spatial data consultant committed to understanding how people and place work together to shape cities and regions. Michelle has a strong track record of developing insights and advisory to enhance community outcomes. She applies mixed-methods research to deliver projects at the intersection of social policy and data innovation.

Justine Linley is the Director Sustainable Development at Corangamite Shire Council, in south western Victoria. Justine has a long career in economic development, planning and senior leadership in local government. She led the development of Grow and Prosper Corangamite, Council’s new ten year Economic and Prosperity Framework which combines creative industries, circular economy, community and economic development policies together to develop a Wellbeing Economy for the Shire.

Beck Dawson is known as the “person paid to worry for Sydney”, Beck champions urban resilience and systems thinking for cities, connected to the global Resilient Cities Network. The Resilient Sydney Office uses robust community research to identify community risks to inform public policy and city-wide action. The Resilient Sydney program began in 2015 and is a collaboration of all local government councils in metropolitan Sydney with state government, business and the community. Following the successful implementation of the 2018 plan, Reslient Sydney is developing a new strategy for Sydney.