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Australia’s concern for the economy at a 13-year low as climate fears rise

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 07 : Thousands of people gather as they stage a protest to draw attention to climate change and global warming, related the demonstrations of environmental and climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion group, on October 07, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 07 : Thousands of people gather as they stage a protest to draw attention to climate change and global warming, related the demonstrations of environmental and climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion group, on October 07, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Australia’s concern for the environment has skyrocketed to an eight-year high, while concern for the economy has suffered a sharp decline, new research has revealed.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 people by Roy Morgan, 41 per cent of Australians said environmental issues were the most important problem facing both Australia and the world right now.

(Source: Roy Morgan)
(Source: Roy Morgan)

Only 22 per cent – a drop of 12 per cent – said economic issues were most pressing for the nation, representing the lowest level of concern since April 2006, a year before the global financial crisis.

Environmental problems haven’t topped the list of concerns for Aussies since February 2011, according to Roy Morgan.

Regarding environmental issues, Australians were concerned about global warming or climate change (25 per cent) as well as drought (6 per cent) and water conservation/the Murray-Darling basin water problems (5 per cent).

“Environmental concerns have come to the fore in recent weeks as significant global protests including the Global Climate Strike in late September, the Extinction Rebellion protests in several Australian cities and internationally as well as the passionate UN address by Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has grabbed attention, and headlines, around the world,” said Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine.

“This is the first time for over eight years Australians have thought so prominently about the environment.”

With Australians’ concern for the environment skyrocketing, an interesting thing to watch in the near future would be Queensland’s state election next year.

Queensland is home to the controversial and now-approved Adani-Carmichael coal mine and played a pivotal part in swinging votes in this year’s Federal election in May.

Those worried about the economy were concerned about unemployment, poverty, the wealth inequality gap, cost of living/rising prices, and the lack of wage growth.

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