Victoria has been assessed as Australia's best performing state in the annual Evatt Foundation State Government League Table, released today in The State of the States 2006.
Victoria won the top position for the first time in the 13-year history of the annual assessment against the triple-bottom line of social, environmental and economic performance.
South Australia held onto second position. Last year's winner, Western Australia, slipped to third position, while New South Wales slipped from third to fourth.
"The Victorian result represents a clearly superior all-round government performance", said Christopher Sheil, editor of The State of the States 2006.
"Victoria out-performed all the other states in social policy, ranked second in environmental policy and had good economic policy results in job creation, capital investment and economic growth", said Dr Sheil.
"Victoria made the best provision for services for families, children, older people and people with disabilities."
"Victoria made the best provision for services for families, children, older people and people with disabilities. It also led the way in transport services and promoting awareness of renewable energy sources, and had the second highest level of gross state product."
Runner-up South Australia was the best performer in health and education services, and had the lowest level of greenhouse gas emissions. Despite slipping to third-place, Western Australia continued to enjoy the best performing state economy.
Although fourth-ranked, New South Wales nevertheless came second in social policy and third in economic policy, only to be dragged down by a poorer environmental result.
Meanwhile, in a replication of last year's tail-end results, Queensland ranked fifth, and Tasmania won the 2006 wooden spoon.
In spite of its low overall ranking, Queensland performed the best in creating full-time jobs and ranked second overall in its economic performance. Queensland had the highest level of greenhouse gas emissions and the lowest levels of education and health services.
"Tasmania's low ranking was due to poor social and economic performances", said Dr Sheil.
The research is based upon data from the Commonwealth Grants Commission, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Greenhouse Office for the 12 months to June 2005.
The book will be launched tonight by Professor Frank Stilwell at a public seminar to be held at the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts. Other speakers will include Professor John Dwyer.
Fred Argy AM OBE is a Visiting Fellow in the Policy and Governance program at the Australian National University and the author of Equality of opportunity in Australia, (Discussion Paper no. 85, Australia Institute, 2006), Where to from here? Australian egalitarianism under threat (Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2003) and Australia at the crossroads: Radical free market or a progressive liberalism (Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1998). This is an extract from the "Chapter 6: Fiscal poliy for the future" by Fred Argy published in the Evatt Foundation's new book, The State of the States 2006, where you can read the full chapter.