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Community wellbeing framework

Published 27 June 2024 Collecting social, cultural and economic data to provide a foundation for long-term monitoring of community wellbeing associated with the marine estate.
content image The NSW Marine Estate Community Wellbeing Framework.


Project information

Community wellbeing is the total of economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits derived from the NSW marine estate.

It’s difficult to measure because there are so many parts.

In addition to the tangible values, such as food, shelter and work, it also includes the concepts of quality of life and life satisfaction, as well as physical, mental and emotional health.

The aim of this Community Wellbeing Framework (PDF, 2690.96 KB) (Framework) is to provide for a consistent and robust approach to monitoring the community benefits of the marine estate, threats to these benefits and filling key knowledge gaps related to social, cultural and economic aspects, as identified in the statewide Threat and Risk Assessment (TARA).

It allows us to expand beyond the traditional focus on environmental aspects of the marine estate.

Data collected through the application of this Framework is crucial in informing the Marine Integrated Monitoring Program, which guides monitoring and assessment of the Marine Estate Management Strategy.

Details on how the environmental component of the Marine Integrated Monitoring Program will be addressed has been developed and documented through another process, outlined in the Environmental Condition Framework.

Why is this project important?

Increasing human populations and activities in and around the marine estate increase the pressure on environmental health.

An unhealthy marine estate affects the wellbeing of our community.

Threats include climate change, water pollution, habitat loss, reduction in wildlife, pests and diseases, overcrowding, conflicting activities and illegal behaviours or activities.

These threats impact important social, cultural and economic benefits we derive from the marine estate and has flow on effects to community wellbeing.

To address these threats and enhance social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits, the NSW Government developed a coordinated, holistic, quadruple bottom-line approach to the management of the NSW marine estate – the Marine Estate Management Strategy.

However, until now, we have lacked the necessary data to quantify these community benefits and monitor wellbeing.

The systematic monitoring of the human (social, cultural, economic) dimensions of the marine estate is a significant challenge.

The lack of data was considered a key threat in the statewide TARA.

It hinders our ability to understand the human dimensions and limits our capacity to make informed decisions.

This Framework represents our first step to bridge this data gap.

What are we doing? 

We undertook a comprehensive examination of various dimensions of community wellbeing within the context of the marine estate.

Our approach involved organising these aspects from specific measures (indicators) to broad measures (domains).

This systematic organisation allows us to construct a unified and comprehensive view of community wellbeing.

Once we had identified domains, attributes and themes, we proceeded to develop the corresponding indicators.

The Framework underwent a rigorous review by experts and was refined based on feedback.

Throughout this project, we constantly refined and improved the indicators. This iterative process played a pivotal role in shaping the Framework.

What have we achieved?

  1. Framework Development: Discover how we meticulously crafted the Framework, detailing the step-by-step process that led to its creation.
  2. Clear domains and indicators: Explore the core elements of the Framework, including domains, attributes, themes and indicators that provide a clear structure for assessing community wellbeing.
  3. Statewide Community Wellbeing Monitoring Program: Learn about how we applied the Framework for monitoring statewide community wellbeing, ensuring we can track the benefits, threats and trends in community wellbeing overtime.
  4. Wider Applications: Uncover the various ways in which the Framework benefits the Marine Estate Management Strategy and the Marine Integrated Monitoring Program, amplifying its significance beyond its primary role.



Local government areas - Statewide

Lead agency

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Fisheries


    NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (NSW DCCEEW)

    Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure - Planning

    Transport for NSW

More information

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