As the focus of policy makers shifts to rebuilding our communities and economy, now is the time to focus on a wellbeing approach to market governance. Taking a strategic, positive, people-centred approach to better understanding, measuring and reporting on the things that enhance or detract from the wellbeing of Australians in essential service markets.

The conduct of business and the ways markets are regulated significantly influence the day-to-day lives of Australians. The pandemic only brought this into sharper focus.

We want to approach consumer policy from the perspective of promoting and understanding more about what Australians tell us about the interaction and experiences that materially enhance their lives – things like experiencing safety, fairness, dignity and respect.

This two-part report draws on the voices of Australian consumers and what they’re telling us about their experiences with service providers and markets today. We also investigate wellbeing approaches to policy development internationally and locally, and explore ways that this could be applied to policy development and the regulation of essential service markets in Australia.

We offer this report to the policy community as an important starting point. Throughout 2022, Consumer Policy Research Centre will be engaging Australian consumers on what wellbeing means to them; and the experiences that enhance or detract from it. We’ll then be testing a model to inform the development of a Consumer Index focusing on the outcomes and experiences of consumer in essential, regulated markets. We welcome engagement with governments, businesses, policymakers and advocates to assist us in shaping this program of work.

To find out more and flag your interest in this initiative, please email

We hope you join us on this journey.

Part one: Why now?

We explore the impact of COVID-19 on consumers and the urgent need for a consumer-centric approach to rebuilding and resetting policy design to improve consumer wellbeing. We hear from consumers in their own voices about their changing needs.

Part two: Applying wellbeing concepts to measure what matters to consumers

We look at international and local developments in measuring wellbeing, and consider limitations with current approaches to measuring outcomes in markets. We offer our early thinking on ways to better understand fairness and respect, safety and sustainability, inclusion and access, agency and choice in markets today.