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Commonwealth of Australia - The Treasury

Annual Report 2014/15

Case study: the Challenge of Change

Every five years, the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998 requires the Australian Government produce an intergenerational report – a 40-year outlook that assesses the demographic and economic trends shaping the nation.

The 2015 Intergenerational Report (IGR) was prepared by the Treasury and drew on the expertise of a range of external organisations – including government agencies, the Productivity Commission, the Business Council of Australia, the Age Discrimination Commissioner and the Grattan Institute.

The 145-page report projects the size of the population, life expectancy and public spending. The purpose is to take the national debate beyond the short-term election cycle and examine the long-term sustainability of government policies with a growing and ageing population.

In response to a government decision, Treasury developed a staged community engagement campaign about the IGR. Treasury-commissioned market research revealed community attitudes about economic issues and how they are discussed. Participants from across Australia, consistently expressed the desire to be better informed and feel better equipped to join the debate.

The IGR was the obvious vehicle to take the discussion to Australians through a multi-media campaign. Dr Karl Kruszelnicki’s broad appeal and trademark communication style helped explain the IGR’s headline issues in a straight-forward manner and in a way Australians could engage with.

The campaign was unlike traditional government education and information campaigns that advise changes to programs or policies. It was designed to stimulate conversation; it asked Australians to participate in a debate on economic issues. The campaign used simple language, supported by smart graphics, delivered by Dr Karl as a Ted-talk, via multiple channels.

An easy to navigate, mobile-responsive website challengeofchange.gov.au presented the report in comprehensible bites and video grabs, with a simple call-to-action to consider, supported by testimonials from well-known Australians.

The campaign included television, radio, print, digital, out-of-home and cinema advertising, plus in-language translations.

At 30 June, following two phases of the campaign, the 2015 IGR had been viewed over 140,000 times, with over 542,000 page views, and over 6,446,200 video views across the website, Facebook and YouTube.

A full evaluation will be undertaken at the conclusion of the campaign.