ACT News

ACT ranked first in The Australia We Want report

The ACT has ranked top of the nation in a report on community values - but the charity sector has warned the territory not to rest on its laurels with plenty of work still to be done.

The Community Council for Australia has described the results of its first report examining incarceration rates, education levels and inequality state-by-state as "alarming".

Suicide rates were on the increase, half of all women did not feel safe walking alone at night and taxpayers donated a smaller portion of their income than 10 years ago, the report found.

The ACT had more positive news, with stabilising suicide rates below the national average, increasing education attainment above the national average and inequality reducing and below the national average.

CCA chief executive David Crosbie said he would like to see the ACT boast a lower incarceration rate and improved housing affordability in next year's The Australia We Want.

"The ACT should be very proud but there's lots of scope for improvement in the ACT," Mr Crosbie said.

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"Talking to people who work in specific sectors, sectors where they need care staff and other staff, it's harder to attract people into the ACT.

"If there's not relatively affordable housing in the ACT, why would they come here when they can work elsewhere?"

The territory was above average for volunteer numbers but on the decline compared to 2010.

"Even though it's above the national average it's declining, so I think we need to look at how we can facilitate more volunteers in the ACT," Mr Crosbie said.

CCA chair, Reverend Tim Costello who will speak at the National Press Club about the report on Thursday, said the report was about defining what Australia should, and could, be if people worked together.

"It paints a damning picture of current day Australia and reveals shocking data that should concern all Australians," he said.

"Imagine an Australia where incarceration rates are actually falling, the suicide rate is less than the road toll and your postcode doesn't define your chance of getting an education or a job," he said.

The report will be used as a catalyst for meetings between the charity sector and business and government leaders.

The Australia We Want drew on data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Australian Tax Office and the Australian Bureau of Statistics and will be released Thursday.