The New Economy Network Australia (NENA) will hold its sixth annual conference, ‘Building a wellbeing economy for Australia’, in Brisbane from 5-7 November.

Dr Michelle Maloney, Director of NENA says that the Network brings together a wide range of individuals and organisations working to transform Australia’s economic system.

“The network aims to promote ecological health and social justice as the core principles and primary objectives of the economic system.”

“NENA supports these goals through building connections, showcasing and promoting innovative projects, building peer-to-peer learning, developing networks and systems to create and advocate for change. In addition, NENA supports hubs in key geographic or sectoral areas, working together to demand, create and benefit from a ‘new’ economy.”

Drawing on the principles of a wellbeing economy, NENA is seeking to transform economic policy, business, and service delivery to focus on human and ecological wellbeing rather than economic growth. In recent years, countries such as New Zealand, Scotland, Iceland, Wales and Finland have adopted policy frameworks that promote a wellbeing economy.

The November conference will explore new economic systems and social initiatives that can address social injustice, respond to climate change and the growing ecological crisis while building community resilience and ensuring people have happy, secure, thriving communities.

NENA bases its work in transforming the economic system on five foundational principles:

Ecological Sustainability: Economic activity respects and operates within ecological limits, bioregional health and planetary boundaries, and also supports the regeneration of natural systems and recognises and upholds the inherent rights of nature to exist, thrive and evolve.

Social Justice: That everyone can participate and benefit from economic activity in inclusive and equitable ways and that this requires working in solidarity to address the historical and ongoing marginalisation of certain groups by racism, imperialism, classism, patriarchy and other systems of oppression.

Democracy: Economic decision-making is participatory, inclusive and transparent and emphasises collective stewardship and management of economic resources, activities and outcomes.

Place-based/ Emphasising Locality: Building strong, local/place-based economies is important for Australia’s communities, rooting wealth and power in place through localised economic activity.

First Nations People in Australia: Working in solidarity with First Nations Peoples’ is vital to creating a new economy in Australia. NENA acknowledges that the sovereignty of the First Nations People of the continent now known as Australia was never ceded by treaty nor in any other way.  NENA acknowledges and respects First Nations Peoples’ laws and ecologically sustainable custodianship of Australia over tens of thousands of years through land and sea management practices that continue today.  NENA also acknowledges and respects the ancient, Earth-centred, steady-state economic system created and managed by First Nations People across the continent for millennia. Australian society is in debt to First Nations People for many aspects of the modern economy.

Dr Maloney, said that NENA works with a diverse range of organisations in the community and wellbeing sectors. These include universities, peak bodies supporting housing, social services and community development, non-government or civil service organisations, and advocacy groups.

“Additionally, NENA supports initiatives that prioritise specific strategic goals within the organisation. Recently, NENA has worked with sectoral partners to deliver webinars or events on topics including a post-extractives economy, Indigenous ways of learning and quality of life, sustainable and affordable housing, regenerative cities, and universal basic income,” Dr Maloney said.

Conference details

NENA invites people to join the conversation and learn more about how organisations around Australia are working to build a wellbeing economy at NENA’s 2021 conference. If you live in Brisbane, you can attend in person – the conference is online for people in other locations.

Find out more about the conference and register HERE


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