An Evolving Plan

A History of Continuous Improvement

The Plan was first launched in 2004 in response to the State Economic Summit, where the Economic Development Board called for a whole of government, long-term strategic plan that was measurable and transparent.

From the start, the Government has committed to report on progress against the Plan’s targets every two years through the Audit Committee, an independent advisory body.                                   

The 2004 Plan included 79 targets across six objectives; growing prosperity, improving wellbeing, attaining sustainability, fostering creativity, building communities and expanding opportunity.  The majority of the targets had a 10 year or longer timeframe, allowing us to measure long-term progress.

Every progress report provides the opportunity to review both the strategies and targets to make sure we keep stretching towards measurable goals.  Through strategies created in response to the Plan, we have, in some cases, achieved well beyond our targets.

In 2006, the first report of the independent Audit Committee showed that 43 targets had been achieved or were on track.  Real achievements were reported in the areas of employment, economic growth, reducing infant mortality rates, growing the film and television industry and improving education.  The report also found that while progress had been made on 11 targets, they were unlikely to be reached in the timeframe. Another 11 targets recorded little or no progress. In view of the findings, we created strategies to improve our achievement of the targets set.  The Audit Committee also found that there were 19 targets where lack of data or problematic measures prevented clear reporting.  This provided the impetus to improve these targets in the 2007 update.

The Community Engagement Board was established to promote the involvement of individuals and organisations outside of the State Government in updating the Plan in 2007.   The Community Engagement Board also established the Alliance Program to foster partnership in delivering the Plan by groups and individuals beyond Government.  Alliance members make a public commitment to contribute directly to achieving specific Plan targets.

After consultation on the 2007 update, new targets were added in areas such as early childhood, sustainable water supply, multiculturalism, employment participation and work-life balance, taking the total number of targets to 98. The updated Plan also gave increased prominence to Aboriginal people, reflecting the unequivocal call from the South Australian community to address Aboriginal disadvantage in all areas of life.

In 2008, the second Progress Report showed that 42 targets had been achieved or were on track to be met within their timeframes, with particular achievement noted in the areas of business investment and jobs, healthy life expectancy, public transport use, film industry, volunteering and homelessness.  A total of 26 targets were also considered within reach. 20 targets, however, were given a rating of unlikely to be achieved which, once again, spurred additional effort, including funding for extra maths and science teachers in our schools.

In 2009, South Australia’s Strategic Plan was recognised internationally, winning the Community Indicator Consortium's 2009 Community Indicators Performance Measures Integration Award, for its robust targets and the open and transparent way it is reported on biannually by the Audit Committee.   The Plan was described as a best practice model that "practitioners and community leaders can use ... to enhance citizen engagement and governance and create real change and real benefit to their communities.”

The third progress report, delivered in 2010, showed that 45 targets had been achieved or were on track to be met within their timeframes, including  State-wide crime rates and Aboriginal leadership, 21 targets were considered within reach and 22 targets were unlikely to be met.  Two targets were not reached within the target timeframe and progress against 10 targets was unclear due to measurement difficulties. How the 2007 targets have been translated into the updated Plan are detailed here, and the reasons for changes to individual targets here.